Senate passes bill to create Michigan Craft Beverage Council

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LANSING, Mich. — Legislation co-sponsored by Sen. John Proos to revise the makeup of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and update its name has been approved by the state Senate.

“This reform will ensure that the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council is better positioned to promote and support our state’s craft beverage businesses and manufacturers,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Michigan microbreweries, small distillers and brewpubs currently pay the license and renewal fees that fund the council, yet they have no representation on the council or benefit from their contributions.

“This reform would ensure that everyone who helps fund the council has a seat at the table and benefits from its work.”

Senate Bills 439 and 440 would change the name of the council to the “Michigan Craft Beverage Council.” Under the bills, the number of members on the council would be reduced from 12 to 10 and would include representatives from breweries and distilleries.

Under the legislation, a representative of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development would serve as the council’s non-voting chairperson.

The governor would appoint nine voting members, which would include a retail food establishment operator who holds a Specially Designated Merchant license and sells Michigan wine or beer, a restaurant operator who holds a Class C license and serves Michigan wine, two winemakers, a winemaker who manufactures hard cider, a large brewer, either a microbrewer or a brewpub license holder, a small distiller, and an authorized distribution agent.

“I co-sponsored this initiative to ensure equal representation and membership on this important council, which has been an effective advocate for our wine industry for years,” Proos said. “The updated council will be a tremendous asset for Michigan’s up-and-coming microdistillery and craft beer industries and all Michigan agriculture.”

The bills have been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos will be available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.