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  • Wednesday, May 26, 2021 10:46 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    New law will streamline the market for ready-to-drink cocktails, allow distillers to self-distribute

    LANSING — The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesales Association (MB&WWA) today applauded Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for signing bills into law to help Michigan’s burgeoning distilling industry. Senate Bills 141-144 — which passed the Senate on March 25 with strong bipartisan support and the Michigan House unanimously on May 6 — will provide a boost to Michigan’s craft distillers, retailers and beer and wine distributors by reducing red tape and creating a viable market for ready-to-drink cocktails.

    “Ready-to-drink cocktails are one of the fastest growing segments in the spirits industry, but in Michigan they fall under several different categories and are taxed differently — creating confusion for distillers, retailers and distributors,” said MB&WWA President Spencer Nevins. “These bills will streamline how ready-to-drink cocktails are taxed and classified, which will provide a boost to Michigan’s flourishing craft distilling industry.”

    The law will also create a strong regulatory framework for retailers who have a physical presence in Michigan to ship beer, wine and spirits directly to consumers. Currently, only wine can be shipped to Michiganders from in-state retailers. The laws will also allow small craft distillers to self-distribute their spirits, just like small brewers and winemakers.

    “These commonsense laws are a win for distillers, retailers and consumers, and I want to thank the governor for signing these bills into law and the Michigan Senate and House for passing this important legislation,” Nevins said.

    SBs 141-144 are similar to legislation passed last year that was eventually pocket vetoed by the governor. However, this package of bills only impacts canned ready-to-drink cocktails and does not apply to products currently distributed through Michigan’s controlled state system, which is overseen by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

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  • Friday, May 07, 2021 9:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nessel has sued two more out-of-state retailers for illegally shipping alcohol into Michigan

    LANSING — The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) today applauded Attorney General Dana Nessel for her ongoing efforts to stop out-of-state retailers from illegally shipping alcohol into Michigan. On Wednesday, Nessel sued two retailers in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. This latest pair of lawsuits follows others filed against two other companies last year.

    “We applaud Attorney General Dana Nessel for her aggressive approach to stopping out-of-state retailers from illegally shipping wine into Michigan,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the MB&WWA. “Her efforts send a clear message to out-of-state retailers that have been skirting state law, putting Michigan consumers at risk and cheating the state out of much-needed tax revenue: It is time to stop violating Michigan law or you will be caught, and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

    Nessel’s lawsuits call for permanent injunctions against Taste Wine, LLC and Villa Amorosa and fines of $25,000 for each retailer. In the complaint, Nessel says both retailers ignored cease-and-desist letters and that their continued flaunting of state law threatened the health, safety and welfare of Michiganders.

    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.

    According to data compiled by the MB&WWA, nearly one-third of every bottle of alcohol shipped into Michigan in 2019 was shipped illegally. In total, 2,233,880 bottles of alcohol were shipped into the state in 2019 and of those bottles, 734,365 were shipped illegally.

    “For years, these bad actors were flouting state law and illegally shipping hundreds of thousands of bottles of alcohol into the state every year — but those days have come to an end,” Nevins said. “We urge Attorney General Nessel and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to keep their foot on the gas and continuing going after these unscrupulous retailers until illegal alcohol shipments are a thing of the past.”

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  • Thursday, April 22, 2021 11:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    O&W Inc.’s 150kW solar array will replace a 73-panel array, further reducing the company’s carbon footprint and saving nearly $20,000 in utility costs annually

    YPSILANTI, Mich. — O&W Inc., fifth generation, family owned and operated beer distributor, announced today plans to install a 420-panel solar array at its Ypsilanti warehouse. The larger system will replace a 73-panel array, which will further reduce the company’s carbon footprint, produce nearly 200,000kwh of electricity and save the company nearly $20,000 a year.

    “O&W Inc., along with our Michigan distributor partners, have a long history of doing our part for the next generation. We know it’s our privilege and duty to protect our state’s environment and the fifth generation of owners here is no different,” said Isabel Wanty, vice president of human resources and operations at O&W Inc. “It’s our goal to leave our environment and this industry in better shape than we found it, and a significant part of accomplishing that is making green choices that support recycling and renewable energy.”

    O&W Inc. is partnering with Constellation, an Exelon Company, on the project. Installation is expected to begin in a few weeks.

    The solar array adds to O&W’s growing list of efforts to reduce energy waste and pollution. The distributor utilizes a paperless system to fill the thousands of orders they receive everyday, its warehouse features motion-activated lighting and its hi-los are battery powered. O&W also recycles millions of cans and bottles every year.

    “This new 420-panel array represents a significant upgrade from our existing 73-panel array,” Wanty said. “Looking to the future, we cannot wait to see what the sixth generation of Wanty’s do to support a healthy environment for southeast Michigan.”

    O&W Inc. serves retailers in a seven-county area stretching from Ypsilanti east to Lake Erie and south to the Michigan-Ohio border.

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  • Tuesday, March 09, 2021 2:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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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  • Friday, February 12, 2021 4:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Two out of state retailers prohibited from shipping alcohol into Michigan, fined $10,000 each

    LANSING — The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association today applauded Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission for their efforts to crack down on illegal alcohol shipments into Michigan.

    Last year, Nessel sued two companies, Vintners Collective LLC and Go to Gifts Inc., for illegally shipping alcohol to consumers in Michigan. This week, judges in the United States 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.

    “The efforts by Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission send a strong message to other out-of-state retailers who are illegally shipping alcohol into our state: You will be caught, and you will be prosecuted,” said MB&WWA President Spencer Nevins. “We urge the attorney general’s office and MLCC to continue to pursue and punish these bad actors to the fullest extent of the law.”

    In 2018, the MB&WWA began compiling reports to show how much alcohol was being shipped into Michigan, both legally and illegally.

    Using information from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and excise tax data from the State of Michigan, the MB&WWA found during two quarters of 2018 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.

    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. Data collection for 2020 has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “For years, out of state retailers have been thumbing their nose at state laws and brazenly shipping alcohol into Michigan, but those days are over,” Nevins said.

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  • Friday, February 12, 2021 8:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Beer distributors partner with National Beer Wholesalers Association on training to identify and report signs of human trafficking 

    Bay City, Mich. – Fabiano Brothers has partnered with the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) for an awareness training to educate employees on recognizing and reporting the warning signs of human trafficking. Fabiano Brother’s efforts are part of a nationwide campaign to help combat human trafficking in communities across the United States. 

    “As a local business, Fabiano Brothers is always looking for ways to make a difference in the communities we serve,” said James C. Fabiano II, President“Sadly, every community is vulnerable to the horrors of human trafficking, and our distribution areas are no exception. The employees of Fabiano Brothers, who visit thousands of licensed retail locations each week, are preparing to be an extra set of eyes and ears in the fight against human trafficking.” 

    Beer distributors collectively visit more than 640,000 retail establishments across the country, including bars, restaurants, hotels, convenience stores, package stores, sports arenas and grocery stores. They are uniquely positioned to combat this heinous crime given their access to locations at accounts often unseen by the public. 

    To help distributors understand human trafficking, identify the signs, and respond if they suspect this heinous crime is happening, NBWA partnered with Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healy, Utah Attorney General, Sean Reyes, and Executive Director of Street, Grace Camila Zolfaghari, to produce an awarness training video. 

    Approximately 500 Fabiano Brothers employees will have participated in the awareness training session, which has also become a part of the company’s onboarding process. Fabiano Brothers employees have also been equipped with contact information to alert authorities if they spot suspicious behaviors and tip cards containing red flag behaviors to carry with them as they visit accounts. Furthermore, Fabiano Brothers is making an effort to educate the general public about the signs of Human Trafficking and what to do when it is detected, with posters in retail establishments and decals on delivery trailers. 

    Human trafficking continues to be a major issue across the United States. According to a recent study, over 9,000 instances of human trafficking have been reported in Michigan and Wisconsin alone since 2007. 

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  • Monday, January 11, 2021 3:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Decision cements 2018 law that makes it illegal for bad actors to ship wine to Michigan consumers

    LANSING — The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) today applauded a U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision to uphold a 2018 law that makes it illegal for out-of-state retailers to ship wine to consumers in Michigan.

    “We applaud the U.S. Supreme Court for upholding the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the case of Lebamoff v. Michigan and for seeing through the baseless claims and misinformation peddled by plaintiffs in the case and the National Association of Wine Retailers,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. “By affirming the 6th Circuit, the Supreme Court has recognized state rights under the 21st Amendment and the need for alcoholic beverages to pass through in-state businesses to ensure public health and safety, and tax compliance. This decision also benefits in-state retailers, large or small, that are committed to and support their local communities.”

    Wine illegally shipped into Michigan has been a steadily increasing problem. Two years ago, the MB&WWA began compiling quarterly reports using information from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and excise tax data from the State of Michigan to quantify how much alcohol is shipped into the state, both legally and illegally.

    During two quarters of 2018, 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. 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.

    In September, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced federal lawsuits against two California companies that were repeatedly shipping wine and beer illegally into the state. The lawsuits were filed in the Eastern District of Michigan against Go to Gifts Inc. and Vintner’s Collective LLC. According to the attorney general, both companies were sent cease and desist letters but continued to ship wine and beer into Michigan illegally. Neither company is licensed to ship alcohol to consumers in Michigan.

    “With the Lebamoff case now in the rearview mirror and Michigan’s wine shipping laws upheld, our state can continue going after the bad actors who are snubbing their nose at state law and robbing Michigan of much-needed tax revenue at a time when it needs it most,” Nevins said. “We encourage Attorney General Nessel, and attorney generals from all states, to continue targeting these bad actors, wherever they are, and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”

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  • Thursday, January 07, 2021 8:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Distributor has grown from a regional distributor to a Top 10 beer, wine and spirits wholesaler in the state

    KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Imperial Beverage is celebrating 20 years of supplying tens of thousands of retailers throughout the state with beer, wine and spirits made right here in Michigan, across the country and around the world.

    “I want to thank our employees, suppliers and retail partners — past and present — for their hard work, dedication and believing in what we represent at Imperial Beverage,” said Joe Cekola, president of Imperial Beverage. “Thanks to their support, over the last two decades we have grown from a regional distributor to a Top 10 distributor of beer, wine and spirits.”

    Joe Cekola Sr. and the Cekola family acquired Imperial Beverage in 1984, and the distributor has been a family run business ever since. His son, Joe, took the reins in 1994 and continues to run the company alongside his brother Larry.

    “Imperial Beverage has been a big part of our family and we treat our employees like family too,” Cekola said. “We’re proud to be a part of the communities we call home, employing people in Kalamazoo, Livonia, Traverse City and Ishpeming in good paying job with good benefits, and contributing to Michigan’s economy.”

    Prior to launching statewide in 2001, Imperial Beverage serviced seven counties in southwest Michigan. As the company added brands and grew its footprint it hired more people, bought more trucks and added warehouses in Livonia, Traverse City and Ishpeming — all while keeping its headquarters in Kalamazoo.

    “I’m honored to raise a glass to Imperial Beverage and the Cekola family and toast their success over the last 20 years,” said Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson. “Imperial Beverage has been an important job creator in Kalamazoo and gives back to the community it calls home.”

    Imperial Beverage was first established in 1933 after the repeal of prohibition and now employs more than 300 people across its four locations. Imperial Beverage proudly provides statewide coverage that serves every Michigan county, every week, all year long.

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  • Thursday, December 31, 2020 8:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The closure of bars and restaurants due to COVID-19 doesn’t diminish the importance of not drinking and driving

    KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) and Imperial Beverage, a Kalamazoo-based beer, wine and spirits distributor are urging residents not to get behind the wheel if they have been drinking on New Year’s Eve.

    “While New Year’s Eve will look different, with bars and restaurants currently closed because of COVID-19 and fewer people hosting large gatherings, there’s one thing that doesn’t change: It’s never safe to get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking,” said KDPS Chief Vernon Coakley. “KDPS will be on patrol monitoring our community, and we are encouraging residents to be responsible and stay safe. Don’t drink and drive.”

    According to the Michigan State Police, nearly 30% of all fatal car crashes that happened in Michigan last year involved alcohol.

    “At Imperial Beverage, we actively partner with schools, law enforcement and health professionals to promote the responsible use of alcohol, reduce drunken driving, binge drinking and underage drinking,” said Larry Cekola, CEO at Imperial Beverage. “We’re proud to stand with KDPS and urge Kalamazoo residents to call a friend, call a cab or order an Uber or Lyft if they have had too much to drink.”

    “There’s no doubt many of us are eager to bid farewell to 2020, but that’s not an excuse to drink irresponsibly or get behind the wheel after drinking,” said Joe Cekola, president of Imperial Beverage. “I’d like to thank the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and its dedicated officers for everything they do to protect our community and keep our roads safe.”

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  • Wednesday, December 23, 2020 9:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Distributor and brewer donated food to Oak Park nonprofit Forgotten Harvest

    ORION, Mich. — Powers Distributing and Miller Lite announced today the distributor and brewer teamed up to donate food to Forgotten Harvest, which will help feed thousands of metro Detroit families this holiday season.

    “We’re proud to give back to the communities we call home and this donation to Forgotten Harvest is part of our effort to ensure no family in metro Detroit goes hungry this holiday season,” said Jeff Bright, director of marketing at Powers Distributing. “I want to thank Miller Lite for partnering with us to brighten the holidays for so many families.”

    Forgotten Harvest, an Oak Park, Mich. nonprofit, rescues food from grocery stores, markets, restaurants, distributors and caterers that would otherwise go to waste and delivers it to emergency food providers throughout metro Detroit.

    “I want to thank Powers Distributing and Miller Lite for this generous donation,” said Chris Ivey, Director of Marketing at Forgotten Harvest. “More and more metro Detroiters have relied on food banks and food providers this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and this donation will give families some peace of mind that they won’t go hungry this holiday season.”

    Many of the families served by Forgotten Harvest face food insecurity and struggle to cover the cost of basic life necessities, like food, clothing and shelter. Food donated to Forgotten Harvest helps bridge the income gap for tens of thousands of metro Detroiters.

    Powers Distributing, a locally owned, independent distributor located in Orion, serves retailers in Oakland and Macomb counties.

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