Senate urged to pass HBs 4960-4961, which promote beer and wine distributor independence
LANSING – The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association is applauding the Michigan House for passing legislation Thursday to protect the state’s craft beer and wine industries and maintain the independence of Michigan’s beer and wine distributors. House Bills 4960 and 4961 passed with strong bipartisan support as both eclipsed 100 “yes” votes out of a possible 110 votes.
“We applaud lawmakers in the Michigan House who chose to side with local craft brewers and winemakers throughout Michigan and across the United States to send a strong message to huge multinational foreign companies that they can’t use their size and influence to threaten the integrity of Michigan’s three-tier system,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. “Michigan’s beer and wine distributors are proud to promote choice and competition by preventing large out-of-state and foreign companies from having a monopoly on the alcohol market – and House Bills 4960 and 4961 ensure it stays that way.”
“This was a clear choice: Representatives could stand with over 400 small Michigan craft beer and wine producers and their thousands of counterparts across the country and independent local distributors, or they could choose to support huge multinational foreign companies and their unilaterally imposed anti-competitive trade practices” said Nevins.
House Bill 4960 passed 101-7, and House Bill 4961 cleared the chamber 100-8. For a list of representatives who stood with 400 Michigan craft beer and wine producers and their thousands of counterparts across the country, a full vote count is available here.
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 the vast majority of their resources marketing or promoting the brands sold by that supplier that is 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 that is not part of a corrective action plan for nonperformance
- 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
“Michigan is a Top 5 producer of beer and Top 10 producer of wine and is poised to keep growing through a system that promotes fairness and a level playing field,” Nevins said. “We urge the Michigan Senate to pass House Bills 4960 and 4961 soon and stand up to large, multinational foreign companies that want to squelch the growth of Michigan’s thriving beer and wine industries. It’s good public policy, it’s pro-Michigan and promotes fair competition.”
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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