LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Goeff Hansen that would change the makeup of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council so that it would more accurately reflect the industry.
Senate Bill 671 would change the name of the council to the “Michigan Grape, Wine, Brewing, and Distilling Industries Council,” and the membership on the council would be expanded from 12 to 17 to include representatives from breweries and distilleries.
“Increased membership is to ensure that everyone who funds the council will be represented and receive support from the council,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “Microbreweries, small distillers, and brewpubs currently help support the Grape and Wine Industry Council through liquor license and renewal fees. This measure provides them a long-overdue seat at the table.”
Under SB 671, membership terms would continue to be three years and the terms would be staggered. New members would include a brewer; a distiller; a beer wholesaler who markets beer; an operator of a retail food establishment who sells Michigan beer or a person who operates a restaurant that holds a Class C license and serves Michigan beer or spirits; and a member representing the interests of the agriculture industry who works with brewers or distillers or both.
“The wine industry has benefitted from council support for research regarding planting, microclimates, marketing, processing, and other areas,” Hansen said. “This bill will extend this support to breweries and distilleries, and Michigan agriculture will benefit.”
Hansen has previously served as chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. He also has been a strong proponent of agri-business and Michigan’s wine industry, having led the way for small winemakers to sell their wines and provide tastings at farmers markets.
SB 671 now heads to the Michigan House for further consideration.