Enforcement efforts by MLCC, Attorney General Dana Nessel beginning to pay off
LANSING — More than one-third of every bottle of alcohol shipped into Michigan during the first quarter of 2020 was shipped illegally, according to data compiled by the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA).
Using data compiled from reports from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and excise tax data from the state of Michigan, the MB&WWA found 410,304 bottles of alcohol were shipped into the state from January through March of 2020. Of those bottles, 159,152 were shipped illegally from unlicensed, out-of-state retailers.
“While illegal wine shipping remains a pervasive problem in Michigan, the numbers are beginning to go down thanks to efforts from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and Attorney General Dana Nessel to crack down on the bad actors who are thumbing their nose at Michigan law,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the MB&WWA. “We urge the MLCC and attorney general to not let up and continue to target illegal wine shippers who are flouting state laws and hurting small, mom-and-pop retailers in the process.”
Over the last two years, Nessel has sued more than a half-dozen out-of-state retailers caught shipping wine illegally into Michigan. Her efforts have resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in fines and have sent a clear message that illegal wine shipping will not be tolerated. The MLCC has also made it crystal clear to out-of-state retailers that they are never allowed to ship wine into Michigan and that wineries must be licensed by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission before they can legally ship into Michigan.
“Every bottle of alcohol illegally shipped into our state hurts small, independent retailers that are proud to call Michigan home, pay taxes and give back to their communities,” Nevins said.
The MB&WWA began compiling data on illegal wine shipments flowing into Michigan in 2018. 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.
In 2019, more than 2.2 million bottles of alcohol were shipped into the state and of those bottles, 734,365 were shipped illegally.
Data collection for 2020 and 2021 has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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