Michigan Community Awaits Changes That May Impact Liquor Control Code
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Christopher Baker, Hospitality & Retail Attorney at Varnum LLP

Since early Winter of 2012, the licensed community has waited for the implementation of the recommendations that have been proposed by the State's Office of Regulatory Reinvention, which may dramatically impact the state's Liquor Control Code and/or its regulations.  As of the date of this newsletter, none of the changes have been formerly adopted.  However, it would appear that several changes will be considered for adoption.  Some of the more substantive changes that may be included as part of the recommended overhaul include:

  • Proposed change to Rule 436.1103, which will permit brewer applicants to submit the same notice to the MLCC that is otherwise required for submission to the Federal Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB);
  • The adoption of a conditional or temporary license to applicants who satisfy certain filing requirements, which will permit the issuance of a temporary license that shall remain valid for up to six months from the date of issuance;
  • The elimination of investigations of individuals who currently possess a retail liquor license issued by the MLCC;
  • Eliminate investigation by the MLCC of certain internal modifications to an existing licensee, such as inter-company transfers;
  • Permit escrow licensees to be transferred to "neighboring counties";
  • Permit banks and lending institutions to hold foreclosed licenses without investigations;
  • Streamline the current microbrewery and brew pub license with one single small brewer's license;
  • Remove the restrictions imposed by the State franchise law on contracts between a wholesaler and a microbrewer and a/or small wine maker;
  • Permit a small distiller or brandy manufacturer to sell brands of spirit manufacturers for consumption on any licensed premises of that distiller or manufacturer;
  • Permit the purchase of alcohol on credit at the option of the licensee;
  • Permit a special licensee to officially purchase product directly from a microbrewer; and,
  • Provide equal treatment of microbrewers with respect to the ability to ship, provide hospitality rooms and sampling rooms, in the same manner as some wine manufacturers in the state.

Many issues remain outstanding, such as the timing for approval of the list.  Moreover, it is likely that some of the proposals will be modified prior to adoption.

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