Association calls on Michigan Liquor Control Commission to further increase enforcement
LANSING — The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) today applauded the Michigan Legislature for including funding in the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget to continue the state’s crackdown on illegal wine being shipped into the state. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission’s (MLCC) budget includes $303,300 to combat illegal wine shipping. The MB&WWA also called on the MLCC to further increase its enforcement of state law that prohibits out-of-state retailers from shipping wine to consumers.
“We applaud lawmakers for doing the right thing and ensuring there is funding to crack down on the bad actors who are illegally shipping wine into Michigan, which robs the state of much-needed tax revenue and hurts small retailers proud to call Michigan home,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the MB&WWA. “It’s imperative the Michigan Liquor Control Commission continue to use every tool at its disposal and look for even more effective ways to rein in the hundreds of thousands of bottles of wine that are illegally shipped into Michigan every quarter.
Every quarter, the MB&WWA uses reports from the MLCC and excise tax data from the State of Michigan to compile data on how much alcohol is shipped into Michigan. During the first three quarters of 2019 more than 1.5 million bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan. It’s estimated 484,101 bottles of wine were illegally shipped into the state during the same period.
The MB&WWA first 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.
“The fact these numbers are not going down is troubling, which is why we are asking the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to double-down on its enforcement,” Nevins said. “While the MLCC has focused on this area for several years, it’s clear these out-of-state retailers have no respect for Michigan’s laws, and that won’t change unless the MLCC is even more aggressive at going after these retailers and stopping the illegal shipments.”
The MLCC is required to submit a report to the Legislature by Feb. 1, 2021 outlining how many retailers have illegally shipped wine into the state and how much they have shipped as well as the Commission’s efforts to investigate and stop illegal wine from being shipped into Michigan.
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