Several proposed changes to the state's liquor control laws, rules, and policies are currently being considered. Seventy-two recommendations were developed by an Advisory Rules Committee (ARC) under the direction of the Office of Regulatory Reform in the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The committee, comprised of 21 stakeholders in alcohol regulation, met over several months to develop its report for Governor Rick Snyder.
"The ORR report regarding liquor regulations is one more example of how the state is moving forward in supporting business growth," says Jamie Clover Adams, MDARD Director. "With growing momentum in many sectors of Michigan's food and agriculture industry, efforts to streamline regulations and make it easier to do business in Michigan without sacrificing public safety, will foster statewide economic activity and business development."
The recommendations include changes to procedures to streamline the licensing process at Michigan Liquor Control Commission, which provides benefits to all licensees, including winemakers, small winemakers, micro-brewers, and distillers. Clover Adams says MDARD will work closely with industry groups to fully consider each of the recommendations, such as the recommendations regarding the establishment of a Farm Winery License and the ability for small winemakers and craft breweries to sell wine at farmers markets within the state.
The beverage alcohol industry is a highly regulated industry, with federal, state, and local regulations impacting business activities. Over 250 Michigan wineries, breweries, and distilleries throughout the state are part of the growing food and agriculture sector. Many of these beverage manufacturers use grapes and other fruit, hops, and grains grown in Michigan. By doing so, they contribute to the state's economy. Wineries, breweries, and distilleries are also destinations in Michigan's growing tourism and hospitality industry.
"The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council looks forward to providing input on the implementation of recommendations from this report, supporting the Council's mission of value-added, sustainable agriculture," says Linda Jones, executive director of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. "Michigan ranks in the top 10 states in the nation for wine grape and wine production; and the industry has grown rapidly in the past decade, from 39 wineries to 95 wineries today. Future growth will bring economic benefits and jobs to new regions of the state, as new super cold hardy varieties of grapes become part of the industry in regions of the state that were not suitable for grape growing in the past."