News

  • 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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  • Wednesday, December 23, 2020 8:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Wine and spirits distributor encourages Michiganders to support local retailers and restaurants

    DETROIT – Employees at Great Lakes Wine & Spirits (GLWAS) are putting in extra hours to ensure retailers are well-stocked ahead of small family gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The pandemic has led to more people drinking in the comfort and safety of their homes. Traditionally, the stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve is the busiest stretch of the year for wine sales. But according to IRI, a data analytics and market research company, alcohol sales are up 21% at grocery stores and 17% at liquor stores compared to this time last year.

    “We are proud to do our part to provide a safe working environment for all of our employees so they can ensure retailers’ shelves are stocked with reds, whites and rosé so Michiganders can celebrate safely at small family gatherings this holiday season,” said Lew Cooper III, co-CEO at GLWAS. “From the front office and the warehouse, to our sales team and delivery drivers, the entire GLWAS team is committed to ensuring consumers’ favorite wines and champagnes are on store shelves.”

    Cooper is also encouraging Michiganders to support local restaurants and retailers this holiday season. GLWAS recently donated $21,000 to the Detroit Free Press’ Top 10 Cares, a fundraiser to help healthcare workers and Michigan’s struggling restaurant industry.

    “Over the last nine months we have tried to do our part to help restaurants across the state, including buying restaurant gift cards for employees and donating to restaurant industry relief efforts,” Cooper said. “We encourage those who have the means to get carryout from your favorite local restaurant one more time before the end of the year to help support local businesses and the people who work there.”

    As Michigan’s COVID-19 cases continue to surge, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recently extended its epidemic order. One of the recommendations made by the governor and public health officials was to keep holiday gatherings small, if they happen at all.

    “At GLWAS, our employees have taken the necessary steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 — including wearing masks, practicing social distancing and washing our hands frequently — so you can enjoy the holidays with your immediate family,” said Syd Ross, co-CEO of GLWAS. “Michigan’s wine distributors work hard to ensure retailers across the state have a wide variety of wines produced right here in Michigan, across the country and around the world. As Michiganders raise a glass to their loved ones virtually this holiday season, chances are they can all be drinking the same wine no matter how far apart they are thanks to a three-tier system that promotes fairness and a level playing field.”

    The Michigan wine industry and its nearly 150 wineries generate more than $5 billion for the state’s economy annually. Michigan currently ranks in the Top 10 for wine production and is the fourth-largest grape growing state in the country.

    Great Lakes Wine and Spirits employs more than 1,000 people and operates warehouses in Highland Park, Detroit, Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Saginaw and Traverse City. 


    Photo Courtesy GLWAS

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    Great Lakes Wine & Spirits is Michigan’s largest wine and liquor distributor. With more than 1,000 employees and facilities across the state, GLWAS services nearly 17,000 accounts in all 83 Michigan counties on both peninsulas. For more information, please visit www.GLWAS.com.

  • Monday, November 02, 2020 1:55 PM | Anonymous

    Brewery fined $2.6 million for forcing bars to sell ‘unreasonable’ amounts of its beers

    LANSING — A report Thursday in the BBC and other European news outlets on Dutch brewer Heineken’s efforts to force bars in the United Kingdom to exclusively sell its beers reinforces the importance of the three-tier system of alcohol distribution in Michigan and across the United States.

    “Our three-tier system for alcohol distribution ensures what Heineken did in the UK will never happen in America,” 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.”

    Unlike America, many parts of Europe still allow some form of “tied-houses,” where a brewery owns hundreds of bars and can control what is served on tap.

    The bars involved in the year-long Heineken investigation wanted to break their exclusive tie with the brewer and offer other beers. Heineken’s pub arm, Star Pubs and Bars, instead doubled down, according to the report.

    “Star Pubs and Bars ‘seriously and repeatedly’ broke rules for three years,” according to the BBC. “[The investigation] found several pubs who had asked to no longer be tied to Heineken were told that 100% of the keg beer they sold had to be Heineken brands.”

    “Thanks to Michigan’s regulatory structure that prevents large multi-national alcohol suppliers from owning or controlling distributors and retailers our state is among the top 10 states in the number of breweries and wineries. Michigan is poised to keep growing through a three-tier system that promotes fairness and a level playing field,” Nevins said. “That’s why we call on the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to follow the lead of UK regulators and step up enforcement of Michigan’s regulations that prevent unscrupulous mega alcohol suppliers from unlawfully controlling and coercing distributors and retailers in order to block out competition in Michigan.”

    Nevins recently penned a column in the Detroit News outlining the importance of the three-tier system.

    “If you need evidence, look no further than the liquor section of your local grocery store. Michigan residents are greeted with a dizzying array of options of beer, wine and spirits produced right here in Michigan, across the country and around the world. For example, over 1,500 producers of beer compete on a daily basis for shelf space and tap handles in over 18,000 licensed accounts in Michigan. No other industry comes close to that level of competition,” Nevins wrote.

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  • Friday, October 09, 2020 9:04 AM | Anonymous

    Nessel files federal lawsuits against two California companies illegally shipping wine, beer to Michigan consumers

    LANSING – The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) today applauded Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel for aggressively cracking down on illegal wine shipments coming into Michigan. On Wednesday, Nessel announced federal lawsuits against two California companies that were repeatedly shipping wine and beer illegally into the state.

    “Attorney General Nessel’s actions should send a clear message to out-of-state retailers that have been illegally shipping wine to consumers in Michigan: ‘You are breaking the law and you will get caught,’” said Spencer Nevins, MB&WWA president. “We urge the attorney general and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to continue to pursue legal action against out-of-state retailers that have been shipping hundreds of thousands of bottles of wine into the state illegally for years.”

    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.

    “These two companies were brazenly thumbing their noses at Michigan’s laws and robbing the state of much-needed tax revenue – and they aren’t the only ones,” Nevins said. “We hope these lawsuits will make out of-state-retailers that are knowingly breaking the law think twice before doing so in our state.”

    Two years ago, the MB&WWA began issuing quarterly reports — using information from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and excise tax data from the State of Michigan — to show how much alcohol is shipped into the state.

    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.

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  • Thursday, October 01, 2020 2:39 PM | Anonymous

    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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  • Tuesday, September 22, 2020 3:05 PM | Anonymous

    Led by female executives, committee will champion women in the industry, highlight job opportunities

    LANSING — The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) today announced the creation of a new advocacy and education committee led by female executives from family owned beer, wine and spirits distributors in Michigan. The Women’s Advocacy Committee will champion, nurture and highlight female leaders and key job opportunities in what was once a male-dominated industry.

    “The MB&WWA Women’s Advocacy Committee  wants to put an end to the stereotypes and misconceptions about the beer and wine distribution industry in Michigan and beyond,” said Kit Wanty-Lambert, executive vice president of O&W Inc. and chair of the Women’s Advocacy Committee. “Women are no longer just answering phones and doing clerical office work at Michigan's family owned beer and wine distributors, they are playing a role in sales, marketing, human resources, finance and operations. Women are making strategic business decisions and creating cultures of collaboration and inclusion that are opening doors that have been closed in the past.”

    The committee is made up of 10 female executives from distributors across the state, stretching from metro Detroit to the western Upper Peninsula and all points in between, as well as the MB&WWA’s vice president of operations and events and one of its lead female lobbyists.

    “There have never been more leadership opportunities for women in the beer and wine distribution industry,” said Brandi Tribell vice president of operations and events for the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association and member of the MB&WWA Women’s Advocacy Committee. “I have worked for the association for nearly 15 years and have proudly witnessed strong female leaders rise through the ranks of distributors throughout the state. And we’re just getting started.”

    “When most people think of beer and wine distributors, they likely picture a man in a logoed work shirt hauling kegs and stacking cases — but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Marcia Hune, a lobbyist and shareholder with GCSI and member of the MB&WWA Women’s Advocacy Committee. “There are major distributors throughout the state that are led by a woman and have women overseeing critical departments, like logistics or warehouse operations, on top of handling the day-to-day loading of trucks and delivering beer and wine to retailers across Michigan.”

    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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  • Monday, August 17, 2020 3:53 PM | Anonymous

    In total, 1.5 million bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan from January through September

    LANSING – Approximately one-third of every bottle of alcohol shipped into Michigan from January through March of 2019 was shipped illegally, according to data compiled by the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA).

    In total, 1,535,616 bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan during the first three quarters of 2019. It’s estimated nearly 484,101 bottles of wine were illegally shipped into the state during the same period.

    “For years, we’ve heard anecdotal evidence that cases upon cases of wine were illegally shipped into Michigan every month, but we had no idea it was this rampant,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. “Every time an unlicensed, out-of-state retailer illegally ships alcohol into Michigan, they rob our state of much-needed tax revenue and thumb their nose at the mom and pop retailers playing by the rules and supporting our local communities.”

    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.

    “As we review the data each year it is becoming abundantly clear that out-of-state retailers have no regard for Michigan law and will continue breaking the rules until they’re held accountable,” Nevins said. “We encourage the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office  to continue investigating each and every complaint and to crack down on these bad actors.”

    The data were compiled using reports from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and excise tax data from the state of Michigan.

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  • Thursday, August 13, 2020 3:54 PM | Anonymous

    West Side Beer president will serve second term as finance chair

    LANSING – A.J. Mathews was re-elected finance chair of the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) Board of Directors during the association’s annual meeting. The July 29 meeting was held on Zoom.

    Mathews is president of West Side Beer, a family owned beer distributor headquartered in Grand Rapids. West Side Beer serves more than 3,300 retailers in 15 counties out of its warehouses in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Romulus.

    “It’s an honor to be re-elected by my peers to serve as finance chair of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association Board of Directors,” Mathews said. “The Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association and its members are proud to play a role in the continued growth of our state’s beer and wine industries and look forward to continuing that growth for years to come.”

    Thanks to a three-tier system that promotes fairness and a level playing field, Michigan is now a Top 10 producer of beer and Top 10 producer of wine in the country and home to breweries and wineries that have received national and international acclaim.

    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 most progressive state trade associations in the alcohol beverage industry.


  • Thursday, August 13, 2020 3:53 PM | Anonymous

    Rave Associates president will serve second term as vice chair

    LANSING – Jim Warbritton was re-elected vice-chair of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) Board of Directors during the association’s annual meeting. The July 29 meeting was held on Zoom.

    Warbritton is president of Rave Associates, a family owned beer and wine distributor in Ann Arbor. The distributor services retailers throughout eight counties in southeast Michigan. Rave Associates, the first and largest distributor of Bell’s Brewery beer and the largest distributor of Michigan craft beer in the state, distributes both beer and wine from suppliers across Michigan and around the world.

    “It has been an honor to serve the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association Board of Directors as vice-chair for the past year and helping navigate the association through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Warbritton said. “Despite the recent challenges, our members continue to help promote growth, choices and competition by working hand-in-glove with breweries and wineries big and small to help them succeed today and into the future.”

    Michigan is a Top 10 producer of beer and Top 10 producer of wine in the country thanks to a three-tier system that promotes fairness and a level playing field.

    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 most progressive state trade associations in the alcohol beverage industry.


CONTACT

332 Townsend Street
Lansing, Michigan 48933
Phone: 517.482.5555
Fax: 517.482.1532

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