Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Applaud Legislative Protection

There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that the Michigan craft brewing industry has been soaring. However, recent attempts to slow that growth by some of the big, multi-nationals, has resulted in a Michigan House committee to launch bills to protect distributor independence in the Great Beer State.

The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association today has applauded members of the Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee for “passing legislation to stop big, multi-national breweries and wine producers — like Anheuser-Busch — from threatening to slow the growth of Michigan’s craft beer and wine industries.”

The association says that House Bills 4960–4961 will preserve the integrity of Michigan’s regulatory system – “a driving force in making Michigan the Great Beer State” – and ensure Michigan’s independent beer and wine distributors maintain their independence.

Spencer Nevins is President of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. He says, “We applaud lawmakers from both sides of the aisle for advancing this important legislation to protect the integrity of Michigan’s three-tier system and ensure the state’s beer and wine industries remain on a fast-track to growth and success.” Nevins adds, “We urge the House Ways and Means Committee to take up these bills soon and send a strong message to large brewers and wine producers that they can’t use shady tactics and burdensome rules to rob Michigan’s beer and wine distributors of their independence.”

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Michigan is a leader in beer and wine production, thanks to a three-tier system that promotes fairness and a level playing field. At a time when craft beer production is decreasing across the country, Michigan craft beer production increased by 10-percent in 2018.

Nevins says, “Thanks to Michigan’s independent and family owned beer and wine distributors, Michigan is a top producer of beer and wine and is poised to keep growing through a system that promotes fairness and a level playing field.” Nevins notes, however, “Sadly, some large brewers and wine producers are threatening the integrity of the three-tier system and Michigan’s renowned craft beer and wine industries.”

HBs 4960-4961 would make it illegal for suppliers to:

  • Require a wholesaler to provide financial records related to any of the following:
    • Other brands sold by the wholesaler…
    • Compensation of a wholesaler’s employees…
    • Business operations not directly related to the distribution of the brands sold by that supplier…
  • Require a wholesaler to spend a set amount of resources marketing or promoting the brands sold by that particular supplier based on the wholesaler’s sales revenue generated by that supplier’s brands…
  • Force a distributor to accept shipments that exceed the order placed by a wholesaler or the forecast submitted by the wholesaler…
  • Prohibit a wholesaler from having competing brands on a supplier brand logoed truck…
  • Require a distributor to pay for reporting software owned or mandated by a supplier…
  • Require a wholesaler to pay a fee for noncompliance with a supplier requirement…
  • Set or attempt to set the compensation for wholesaler employees, including incentives…
  • Prohibit a wholesaler from utilizing any wholesaler-owned property or equipment to market, promote, or deliver brands of another supplier…

    The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association represents nearly 50 beer and wine distributors throughout Michigan. The association is recognized as one of the strongest business trade associations in the state and one of the alcohol beverage industry’s most progressive state trade associations.