Legislation doubles brewers’ self-distribution limit
KALAMAZOO- State Rep. Pauline Wendzel unveiled legislation at the 2020 Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Conference and Trade Show that will significantly increase the amount of product a micro-brewery may self-distribute in the State of Michigan.
“Craft beer in Michigan is a booming, billion-dollar industry that supports nearly 10,000 jobs in communities throughout our state,” Rep. Wendzel told conference attendees. “Michigan is the craft beer capital of the world, and my bill will help create an even better environment that allows brewers to grow and thrive.”
Under current Michigan law, breweries are only allowed to self-distribute up to 1,000 barrels per year before signing a contract with a distributor. Rep. Wendzel’s proposed legislation will double Michigan’s self-distribution limit from 1,000 barrels per year to 2,000 barrels per year. The bill will also exempt taproom sales from counting towards a brewery’s self-distribution limit.
“My local brewers came to me and explained that they were running up against a wall,” Wendzel said. “Nearly all 1,000 barrels of product produced is consumed in taprooms, leaving very little to be distributed to retail outlets. Doubling the self-distribution limit and exempting taproom sales will allow brewers to grow their business to a point where signing a distribution contract makes sense.”
The legislation is expected to be bipartisan and has gained the support of local craft brewers in Southwest Michigan. “Representative Wendzel really understands small business,” said Dave Coyle of Arclight Brewery in Watervliet. “This bill gives small breweries like ours a chance to grow organically without imposing burdensome overhead at too early a stage.”
Rep. Wendzel’s legislation is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks as the lead bill in a larger package that aims to reduce regulatory hurdles to Michigan brewers and distributors. For more information, you may contact Rep. Wendzel’s office at 517-373-1403 or by email at PaulineWendzel@house.mi.gov
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