House Bills 4960 – 4961 designed to promote choice, competition and protect Michigan’s booming craft beer and wine markets
LANSING – A hearing was held today in the House Regulatory Reform Committee to discuss bipartisan legislation that would put a stop to practices by some big, multi-national breweries and wine producers that threaten to stunt the growth of Michigan’s vibrant craft beer and wine industries.
House Bills 4960 – 4961 help protect the independence of Michigan’s beer and wine distributors and preserve the integrity of Michigan’s regulatory system, which has been a driving force in making Michigan the Great Beer State.
“Michigan’s beer distributors promote choice and competition by preventing large out-of-state and foreign companies from having a monopoly on the alcohol market. However, some large brewers and wine producers are engaging in practices that threaten the integrity of the three-tier system and the amazing growth of the state’s craft beer and wine industries,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. “We’re supporting this package of bills because we need to make it clear – once and for all – that beer and wine distributors are independent and shouldn’t be beholden to one brewer or wine producer, no matter how large and influential.”
The two-bill package would prohibit suppliers from engaging in any of the following:
•Require a wholesaler to provide financial records related to any of the following:
o Other brands sold by the wholesaler
o Compensation of a wholesaler’s employees
o Business operations not directly related 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
• 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 non-compliance 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
“We urge lawmakers to adopt this important legislation to send a strong message that Michigan’s beer and wine distributors won’t be saddled with unilaterally imposed, unnecessary and burdensome requirements that erode their independence, stymie choice and competition and stunt the growth of the state’s thriving craft beer and wine industries,” Nevins said.
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% in 2018.
The MB&WWA 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.
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