Larry Bell Disagrees w/Michigan Alcohol Reform Proposal

29 June 2012

imageThis from MLive:

Existing law prevents proprietors from owning both a microbrewery, which produces beer for off-premise sales, and a brewpub, which sells beer on premise. The committee recommends combining the two into a single small brewer’s license.

There are ways around the law, by having two separate owners, but existing regulations didn’t promote growth, said Scott Graham, executive director of the Michigan Brewers Guild Inc.

“Some of the people who have successfully operated brewpubs, it seems to be a logical extension for some of them to then want to take some of their beers to market,” he said.

The committee also recommended allowing microbrewers and small winemakers from the state’s franchise law if they comprise less than 3 percent of a wholesaler’s volume. That would allow the brewers to cancel or renegotiate their contracts with wholesalers as their business grows.

“Franchise laws that were wisely put in place to protect wholesalers from the undue bargaining power of their largest suppliers need to be updated to protect small suppliers from that same undue bargaining power,” the committee wrote in its report.

That doesn’t sit well with Larry Bell, owner of Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, which is by far the state’s largest beer maker.

He said the franchise exemption could hurt wholesalers who rely on small brewers.

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