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Michigan Liquor Law Blog

Up-to-date information on liquor and the law in Michigan

Unlimited Quantities of Alcohol For All! (. . . At Private Events)

The House and the Senate have now both passed Senate Bill 0271  (unanimously in the Senate and by a 186-6 margin in the House).  This bill, which will take immediate effect when (if) signed by the Governor, amends the Michigan Liquor Control Code to permit on-premise licensees to sell unlimited quantities of alcohol at a specified price so long as certain conditions are met.

The required conditions are:

  1. The sale, offer, or advertisement must be in connection with a private function;
  2. The licensee must enter into a written agreement with the organizer of the private function, stating both the date, time, and location of the event as well as the terms under which the alcohol will be sold and served during the event; and
  3. The licensee must make the agreement available to Liquor Control and local law enforcement.

A private function is defined by the bill as a prearranged private party/function/event for a specific social or business occasion.  Attendance at the private function may not be open to the general public, and must be by invitation or reservation only.  Furthermore, the guests must be served in a room or outdoor service area that is well-defined, clearly marked, and designated exclusively for the event.

Although this bill will loosen existing restrictions regarding the sale of unlimited quantities of alcohol, it will also strengthen a different existing restriction.  Specifically, this bill codifies Administrative Rule 436.1438, which prohibits an on-premises licensee from advertising, selling, or offering to sell, drinks on a “buy one get one free” basis.  Pursuant to the existing Rule, “when 2 or more identical drinks containing alcoholic liquor are served to a person at 1 time, the price charged for the second and each additional identical drink shall be the same as the price charged for the first drink.”

We believe that this bill is a step in the right direction, increasing consumers ability to budget properly for private events, while simultaneously allowing vendors to create predictable (and profitable) package liquor deals for such events.  At the same time, we caution licensees to remain mindful of the law regarding intoxicated patrons and over serving; the ability to serve an unlimited quantity of alcohol for a set price does not eliminate the need to remain mindful of the amount of alcohol consumed by each individual patron.

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*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.

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