Friday, March 14, 2014
LANSING — Michigan’s microbreweries could start making twice as much beer as they currently produce under legislation that won overwhelming support in the Legislature.
The bipartisan package that amends many state liquor laws would change the definition of a microbrewery, doubling production limits from 30,000 barrels to 60,000 barrels a year. It also would accelerate liquor licensing by creating a conditional license for use during applicants’ license review process. Startup craft brewers would be allowed limited self-distribution.
The legislation passed the House and Senate on Wednesday and is expected to reach Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk soon.
Brewers and trade associations say the new regulations would help the industry grow and create jobs.
“These reforms will open the door of opportunity for businesses and further support Michigan’s thriving craft beer sector,” Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association President Mike Lashbrook said in a statement. “After more than two years of working with diverse stakeholders and making concessions to find common ground, distributors look forward to doing our part to keep Michigan beer hopping.”
Michigan’s $2 billion beer industry accounted for more than 5,000 brewing and distribution jobs and more than 30,000 retail jobs in 2012, according to the Beer Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association. Lashbrook’s association represents 53 distributors across the state.
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