Fall 2013 Michigan Liquor Law Updates
This summer was a busy one at Stariha & Brower, PLC, but we have continued to track Michigan liquor law updates. With so many new bills floating around, we thought this would be a good opportunity to provide a short list of the more important bills with a brief description of each.
Concerning All Retail Licensees
Statutory Prohibition On Secondary Use Advertising Items – Currently, the ban on logoed novelty items and items with a secondary use exists only in Michigan’s Administrative Rules. Michigan Senate Bill 0505 would, to some extent, make this ban statutory. Under SB 0505, manufacturers and wholesalers would be statutorily prohibited from providing any other licensee with advertising items that have use or value beyond the advertising of brands or prices.
Removal of the Ban on Brand Logoed Novelty Items – Senate Bill 462 would statutorily overrule the current administrative rule that prohibits the use of brand-logoed novelty items on licensed premises.
Increased Penalties for Violations of the Liquor Control Code and Rules – Michigan House Bill 4935 would increase penalties for all violations. “Minor” violations would result in a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $750. For the first “critical” violation (such as serving to a minor) in a 24 month period, the fine would be not less than $1,000 but not more than $2,000 and/or a suspension of 1 to 10 days. A second critical violation in a 24 month period would result in a fine of not less than $2,000 but not more than $3,000 and/or a suspension of 11 to 20 days. A second critical violation in a 24 month period would result in a fine of not less than $3,000 but not more than $4,000 and/or a suspension of 21 to 30 days. A fourth critical violation in a 24 month period would result in a license revocation or a 60 day suspension. For critical violations involving minors under the age of 17, even stricter penalties would apply.
Concerning On-Premise Licensees
Relaxation of Smoking Ban – Patrons are now permitted to smoke on outdoor patios and rooftops so long as there is no food or beverage service. If the outdoor locations are included in the licensed premises, patrons may carry their own beverages into these smoking areas.
BYOB of Wine – House Bill 5046 would permit on-premise licensees to allow the consumption of wine that is brought into the licensed premises by a customer. The bill would also create a minimum corkage fee of $25 for each bottle brought in by the consumer and opened on the premises by the licensee or its employee.
Sixteen Ounce Pint Glasses – House Bill 5040 would prohibit licensees from advertising a “pint” of beer unless the glass contained a minimum of 16 ounces of beer.
Concerning Wine Makers
Farmer’s Market Permits – Public Act 100 of 2013 created a “Farmer’s Market Permit” for small wine makers. In each county, one permit is available for every 1,500 people (or fraction thereof). The fee is $25.00 for each location. Although a small wine maker can only apply for five locations at a time, there is no limit on the number of permits a small wine maker can receive. The request for the permit is available here.
Update to Farmer’s Market Permits – House Bill 4924 would amend the definition of “qualified small wine maker” as used in PA 100 of 2013 to include a wine maker that bottles not more than 25,000 gallons per year or is located within a 60-mile radius of the farmer’s market location.
Concerning Micro Brewers
In May, we discussed several bills pertaining to micro brewers. You can find that post here.
Direct Sales to Retailers – Senate Bill 0650 would permit micro brewers who manufacture less than 1,000 bbl per year to delivery directly to retailers under certain circumstances.
Increased Barrel Limit for Micro Brewers – Senate Bill 0651 would increase the barrel limit for micro brewers from 30,000 barrels per year to 60,000 barrels per year.
Ability to Own Additional Brewpubs – Currently, a brewpub may only hold an interest in two other brewpubs. Senate Bill 0426 would increase this limit to five other brewpubs. This bill would also increase the production limit from 5,000 barrels per year to 18,000 barrels per year.
*This information and thoughts herein are provided by the Liquor Lawyers at Stariha & Brower, PLC. As always, we remind readers that the materials on this site are provided purely for informational purposes and are not legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed, to be correct, complete, and current. This blog is not intended to be a source of legal advice. Therefore, the reader should not consider this information an invitation for an attorney-client relationship. Readers should always seek the advice of competent counsel.