In total, more than 730,000 bottles of wine were illegally shipped into the state in 2019
LANSING — Nearly one-third of every bottle of alcohol shipped into Michigan in 2019 was shipped illegally, according to data compiled by the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA). In total, 2,233,880 bottles of alcohol were shipped into the state in 2019 and of those bottles, 734,365 were shipped illegally. Data collection for 2020 and 2021 have been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Using data compiled from reports from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and excise tax data from the state of Michigan, the MB&WWA found 484,101 bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan from October through December of 2019. Of those bottles, approximately 250,264 were shipped illegally.
“This data adds to the growing mountain of evidence that some out-of-state retailers have no problem breaking state laws and ducking paying taxes at a time when our state needs every penny of tax revenue,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the MB&WWA. “Thankfully, Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission have stepped up enforcement and have caught several of these bad actors red-handed.”
Last year, Nessel sued two companies, Vintners Collective LLC and Go to Gifts Inc., for illegally shipping alcohol to consumers in Michigan. In February, judges in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan entered consent agreements with both companies. Neither will be able to ship alcohol into Michigan unless they become eligible to get a license and must prevent their websites from accepting orders from Michigan. Both companies will also have to pay $10,000 each in fines.
“Every bottle of alcohol illegally shipped into our state hurts mom-and-pop retailers that are proud to call Michigan home, pay taxes and give back to their communities,” Nevins said. “We encourage Attorney General Nessel and state regulators to continue cracking down on out-of-state retailers — like Vintners Collective and Go to Gifts — that have been brazenly thumbing their nose at state law for years.”
In 2018, the MB&WWA began compiling data on illegal wine shipments flowing into Michigan. Data from two quarters of that year showed more than 1 million bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan in just six months and at least 300,000 of those bottles were shipped illegally by out-of-state retailers.
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