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  • Friday, October 11, 2019 2:39 PM | Anonymous

    Senate urged to pass HBs 4960-4961, which promote beer and wine distributor independence

    LANSING – The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association is applauding the Michigan House for passing legislation Thursday to protect the state’s craft beer and wine industries and  maintain the independence of  Michigan’s  beer and wine distributors. House Bills 4960 and 4961 passed with strong bipartisan support as both eclipsed  100 “yes” votes out of a possible 110 votes.

    “We applaud lawmakers in the Michigan House who chose to side with local craft brewers and winemakers throughout Michigan and across the United States to send a strong message to huge multinational foreign companies that they can’t use their size and influence to threaten the integrity of Michigan’s three-tier system,” 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 – and House Bills 4960 and 4961 ensure it stays that way.”

    “This was a clear choice: Representatives could stand with over 400 small Michigan craft beer and wine producers and their thousands of counterparts across the country and independent local distributors, or they could choose to support huge multinational foreign companies and their unilaterally imposed anti-competitive trade practices” said Nevins.

    House Bill 4960 passed 101-7, and House Bill 4961 cleared the chamber 100-8. For a list of representatives who stood with 400 Michigan craft beer and wine producers and their thousands of counterparts across the country, a full vote count is available here.

    HBs 4960-4961 would make it illegal for suppliers to:

    • Require a wholesaler to provide financial records related to any of the following:
      • Other brands sold by the wholesaler
      • Compensation of a wholesaler’s employees
      • Business operations not directly related to the distribution of the brands sold by that supplier
    • Require a wholesaler to spend the vast majority of their resources marketing or promoting the brands sold by that supplier that is based on the wholesaler’s sales revenue generated by that supplier’s brands
    • Force a distributor to accept shipments that exceed the order placed by a wholesaler or the forecast submitted by the wholesaler
    • Prohibit a wholesaler from having competing brands on a supplier brand logoed truck
    • Require a distributor to pay for reporting software owned or mandated by a supplier
    • Require a wholesaler to pay a fee for noncompliance with a supplier requirement that is not part of a corrective action plan for nonperformance
    • Set or attempt to set the compensation for wholesaler employees, including incentives
    • Prohibit a wholesaler from utilizing any wholesaler-owned property or equipment to market, promote or deliver brands of another supplier

    “Michigan is a Top 5 producer of beer and Top 10 producer of wine and is poised to keep growing through a system that promotes fairness and a level playing field,” Nevins said. “We urge the Michigan Senate to pass House Bills 4960 and 4961 soon and stand up to large, multinational foreign companies that want to squelch the growth of Michigan’s thriving beer and wine industries. It’s good public policy, it’s pro-Michigan and promotes fair competition.”

    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.

    # # #


  • Wednesday, October 09, 2019 3:08 PM | Anonymous

    $302,300 included in Michigan Liquor Control Commission budget to continue enforcement

    LANSING – The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association is applauding the Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for renewing critical funding for the Michigan Liquor Control Commission in the fiscal year 2019-2020 budget, which took effect on Oct. 1. Included in the MLCC’s budget is more than $300,000 to combat illegal wine shipments coming into Michigan from unlicensed out-of-state retailers. There’s also funding to hire more full-time employees, including one dedicated to licensing and enforcement.

    “We applaud the Legislature and Gov. Whitmer for understanding the importance of continuing funding for the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to support its crackdown on illegal wine shipments coming into Michigan,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. “Our analysis shows more than 100,000 bottles of illegally shipped wine are flowing into Michigan every quarter, making this funding so vitally important.”

    Last year, the MB&WWA began compiling quarterly reports on illegal wine shipments coming into Michigan. A new law enacted in 2018 requires common carriers, such as FedEx and UPS, to submit reports showing how much wine is coming into Michigan and where it’s coming from. The MB&WWA uses those reports and excise tax information to compile its data.

    Data from the second and fourth quarters of 2018 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 wine illegally shipped from out-of-state retailers. Data from the first and third quarters of 2018 were unavailable. So far in 2019, nearly 130,000 bottles of wine have been illegally shipped into the state.

    “We encourage the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to continue cracking down on bad actors who continue to thumb their nose at Michigan’s laws and regulations by knowingly shipping wine illegally,” Nevins said. “Every bottle of wine illegally shipped into Michigan robs our state of much-needed tax revenue and hurts mom-and-pop retailers that give back to their communities and are proud to call Michigan home.”

    # # #


  • Thursday, October 03, 2019 2:34 PM | Anonymous

    House Bills 4960–4961, passed with strong bipartisan support, will protect Michigan’s booming craft beer and wine markets

    LANSING – The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association today applauded members of the Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee for passing legislation to stop big, multi-national breweries and wine producers – like Anheuser-Busch – from threatening to slow the growth of Michigan’s craft beer and wine industries.

    House Bills 4960–4961 will preserve the integrity of Michigan’s regulatory system – a driving force in making Michigan the Great Beer State – and ensure Michigan’s independent beer and wine distributors maintain their independence.

    “We applaud lawmakers from both sides of the aisle for advancing this important legislation to protect the integrity of Michigan’s three-tier system and ensure the state’s beer and wine industries remain on a fast-track to growth and success,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. “We urge the House Ways and Means Committee to take up these bills soon and send a strong message to large brewers and wine producers that they can’t use shady tactics and burdensome rules to rob Michigan’s beer and wine distributors of their independence.”

    Michigan is a leader in beer and wine production, thanks to a three-tier system that promotes fairness and a level playing field. At a time when craft beer production is decreasing across the country, Michigan craft beer production increased by 10% in 2018.

    “Thanks to Michigan’s independent and family owned beer and wine distributors, Michigan is a top producer of beer and wine and is poised to keep growing through a system that promotes fairness and a level playing field,” Nevins said. “Sadly, some large brewers and wine producers are threatening the integrity of the three-tier system and Michigan’s renowned craft beer and wine industries.”

    HBs 4960-4961 would make it illegal for suppliers to:

    • Require a wholesaler to provide financial records related to any of the following:

         o Other brands sold by the wholesaler

         o Compensation of a wholesaler’s employees

         o Business operations not directly related to the distribution of the brands sold by that supplier

    • Require a wholesaler to spend a set amount of resources marketing or promoting the brands sold by that particular supplier based on the wholesaler’s sales revenue generated by that supplier’s brands
    • Force a distributor to accept shipments that exceed the order placed by a wholesaler or the forecast submitted by the wholesaler
    • Prohibit a wholesaler from having competing brands on a supplier brand logoed truck
    • Require a distributor to pay for reporting software owned or mandated by a supplier
    • Require a wholesaler to pay a fee for noncompliance with a supplier requirement
    • Set or attempt to set the compensation for wholesaler employees, including incentives
    • Prohibit a wholesaler from utilizing any wholesaler-owned property or equipment to market, promote, or deliver brands of another supplier

    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.

    # # #


  • Tuesday, September 17, 2019 3:49 PM | Anonymous

    House Bills 4960 – 4961 designed to promote choice, competition and protect Michigan’s booming craft beer and wine markets

    LANSING – A hearing was held today in the House Regulatory Reform Committee to discuss bipartisan legislation that would put a stop to practices by some big, multi-national breweries and wine producers that threaten to stunt the growth of Michigan’s vibrant craft beer and wine industries.

    House Bills 4960 – 4961 help protect the independence of Michigan’s beer and wine distributors and preserve the integrity of Michigan’s regulatory system, which has been a driving force in making Michigan the Great Beer State.

    “Michigan’s beer distributors promote choice and competition by preventing large out-of-state and foreign companies from having a monopoly on the alcohol market. However, some large brewers and wine producers are engaging in practices that threaten the integrity of the three-tier system and the amazing growth of the state’s craft beer and wine industries,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. “We’re supporting this package of bills because we need to make it clear – once and for all – that beer and wine distributors are independent and shouldn’t be beholden to one brewer or wine producer, no matter how large and influential.”

    The two-bill package would prohibit suppliers from engaging in any of the following:

    •Require a wholesaler to provide financial records related to any of the following:

         o Other brands sold by the wholesaler

         o Compensation of a wholesaler’s employees

         o Business operations not directly related the distribution of the brands sold by that supplier

    • Require a wholesaler to spend a set amount of resources marketing or promoting the brands sold by that particular supplier based on the wholesaler’s sales revenue generated by that supplier’s brands

    • Shipments that exceed the order placed by a wholesaler or the forecast submitted by the wholesaler

    • Prohibit a wholesaler from having competing brands on a supplier brand logoed truck

    • Require a distributor to pay for reporting software owned or mandated by a supplier

    • Require a wholesaler to pay a fee for non-compliance with a supplier requirement

    • Set or attempt to set the compensation for wholesaler employees, including incentives

    • Prohibit a wholesaler from utilizing any wholesaler owned property or equipment to market, promote, or deliver brands of another supplier

    “We urge lawmakers to adopt this important legislation to send a strong message that Michigan’s beer and wine distributors won’t be saddled with unilaterally imposed, unnecessary and burdensome requirements that erode their independence, stymie choice and competition and stunt the growth of the state’s thriving craft beer and wine industries,” Nevins said.

    Michigan is a leader in beer and wine production thanks to a three-tier system that promotes fairness and a level playing field. At a time when craft beer production is decreasing across the country, Michigan craft beer production increased by 10% in 2018.

    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.

    # # #


  • Friday, September 06, 2019 3:42 PM | Anonymous

    The Great Lakes State Becomes Bay Area Brewery’s 30th State of Distribution

    SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (Sept. 6, 2019) --- Michigan beer drinkers get ready! The 21st Amendment Brewery is making its way to the Wolverine State this September and bringing our favorite beers to get the fun started. Look for Brew Free! or Die IPA, Sparkale sparkling rosé ale, our summer seasonal Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer, Blood Orange Brew Free! or Die IPA, El Sully Mexican-style lager, Tasty IPA, a west-coast IPA and Blah Blah Blah IPA, an Imperial IPA.

    “We have wonderful fans of our beers throughout the Midwest and we’ve been wanting to get to Michigan for quite some time, so we are thrilled to finally make it happen,” said Dave Wilson, President of 21st Amendment Brewery. “Michigan is one of the best craft beer states in the country and has a deep reputation for great craft and helping make the industry what it is today.”

    Michigan and California have a lot in common. The two states have the largest diversity of agricultural crops in the United States, plus they share an incredibly rich and vibrant craft beer spirit and community. Michigan loves craft beer.

    “For me, bringing our beer to Michigan is wonderful. I’ve long admired the great craft beer from Michigan and have many friends that work at breweries around the state. Selfishly, I’m looking forward to toasting pints with them as well as with Michigan craft beer fans,” said Shaun “Sully” O’Sullivan, Brewmaster and Co-Founder of 21st Amendment Brewery. “All of our 21st Amendment year-round, seasonal and Insurrection Series limited release beers will be available on draft, and in 6-pack cans, including our popular variety packs,” says Sully.

    “Cans are the perfect companion for your outdoor adventures, and what better place to explore than Michigan,” said Nico Freccia, Co-Founder of 21st Amendment Brewery. “So grab some cans of our craft beer while whitewater rafting the Menominee River, the Port Huron Float Down, or ice fishing during the winter months for walleye, northern pike, and crappies.”

    The 21A will be distributing their packaged and draft beers at retail locations throughout the state of Michigan with Imperial Beverage, their distributor partner.

    For more information about where to find and purchase 21st Amendment beer throughout Michigan, visit www.21st-Amendment.com/Find-Some.

    About 21st Amendment In 2000, Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan opened the doors to the 21st Amendment brewpub in San Francisco’s historic South Park neighborhood with Freccia managing the restaurant and O’Sullivan spearheading the brewing process. In addition to quickly becoming one of the city’s favorite pubs, 21st Amendment began expanding beyond the Bay Area by helping to pioneer the movement to canned craft beer. In 2015, they opened a Brewery & Tap Room in San Leandro where most of their beers are made and canned. Known for artistic packaging, witty names and delicious brews, 21st Amendment offers year-round selections, seasonal offerings and its Insurrection Series of small-batch, limited releases. Sold in 30 states, 21st Amendment is among the top 50 craft beer breweries in America and is the largest craft brewery in the Bay Area.

    About Imperial Beverage Imperial Beverage is a long-standing member of the Michigan beverage distribution community. Established in 1933 after the repeal of prohibition and purchased by Kalamazoo’s Cekola family in 1984, Imperial has grown from a one county beer distributor to a top 10 statewide beer, wine & spirits wholesaler. With 390 employees and 4 locations in Kalamazoo, Livonia, Ishpeming, and Traverse City, Imperial provides statewide coverage that serves every Michigan County, every week, all year long.

    Launch Week Events:

    • 9/10 - 5pm - Clubhouse BFD - Rochester Hills, MI
    • 9/10 - 5pm - Logans Alley - Grand Rapids, MI
    • 9/11 - 4pm - Horrocks Farm Market - Lansing, MI
    • 9/11- 6pm - Shakespeare's Pub - Kalamazoo, MI
    • 9/12 - 5pm - Hopcat - Grand Rapids, MI
    • 9/12 - 6pm - One Eyed Betty's - Ferndale, MI


  • Thursday, September 05, 2019 3:15 PM | Anonymous

    Statewide wine and spirits distributor employs more than 180 truck drivers

    DETROIT – Great Lakes Wine and Spirits (GLWAS), a statewide wine and spirits distributor, is honoring its more than 180 truck drivers next week during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, Sept. 8-14.

    “National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is a great opportunity for us to thank our experienced drivers for their hard work every day to ensure Michigander’s favorite wines and spirits arrive safe and fresh to retailers across the state,” said Lewis Cooper III, co-CEO of Great Lakes Wine and Spirits. “Our drivers are on the frontlines every day interacting with retailers and consumers ensuring fresh product gets to market, and we’re proud of how well they represent Great Lakes Wine and Spirits.”

    Throughout the week, drivers will be greeted with banners at each Great Lakes Wine and Spirits warehouse thanking them for their work and each driver will receive a gift bag. GLWAS will provide drivers with meals throughout the week, including breakfast, lunch and snacks. Drivers can also take part in daily drawings to win useful tools, coolers or hats and a larger drawing to cap National Driver Appreciation Week on Friday, Sept. 13.

    “At Great Lakes Wine and Spirits, we’re proud to employ highly-trained drivers across the state who take pride in their work and have deep roots in the communities we call home,” Cooper III said. “Each day, our team of drivers, salespeople, warehouse workers and front office staff help wineries and retailers compete, grow and thrive on a level playing field.”

    Great Lakes Wine and Spirits employs more than 900 people across the state, operating warehouses in Highland Park, Detroit, Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Traverse City and Saginaw.

    # # #

    Great Lakes Wine & Spirits is Michigan’s largest wine and liquor distributor. With 900 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.


  • Thursday, August 29, 2019 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    Pat Gagliardi and Geralyn Lasher strong advocates of promoting choice and competition, supporting Michigan’s alcohol regulations

    LANSING – The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) today applauded Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for appointing to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission two strong advocates for Michigan’s alcohol regulations and safeguards, which promote choice and competition.

    Gov. Whitmer named Pat Gagliardi chair of the Liquor Control Commission and Geralyn Lasher an administrative commissioner. Gagliardi will take the helm on Aug. 26 and Lasher will join the commission on Sep. 9.

    “Pat Gagliardi and Geralyn Lasher are outstanding choices to serve on Michigan’s Liquor Control Commission and will be strong advocates for Michigan’s alcohol regulations and safeguards, which create a level playing field and fosters choice and competition,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. “We look forward to working with Pat and Geralyn and the entire Commission to further strengthen Michigan’s beer and wine industries and build on the Michigan success story that has made us the Great Beer State.”

    Michigan is a Top 5 beer producing state and Top 10 wine producing state in the country, thanks to a three-tier system that helps breweries and wineries big and small compete, grow and thrive on a level playing field. In total, Michigan’s beer and wine industries have a more than $10 billion impact on the state’s economy.

    # # #


  • Wednesday, August 14, 2019 1:55 PM | Anonymous

    In total, more than 400,000 bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan from January through March

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

    In total, 408,397 bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan during the first quarter of 2019. It’s estimated nearly 130,000 bottles of wine were illegally shipped into the state during the same period.

    “The latest quarterly shipping report shows no signs of the disturbing trend of retailers skirting state law and shipping wine illegally into Michigan letting up,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. “When unlicensed out-of-state retailers illegally ship alcohol into Michigan, they are robbing our state of much needed tax revenue and thumbing their nose at the mom and pop retailers that support our local communities.”

    Last year, the MB&WWA began compiling data on illegal wine shipments flowing into Michigan. Data from the first and third quarters were unavailable, however data from the second and fourth quarters 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 wine illegally shipped from out-of-state retailers.

    “As more and more data become available each quarter, one thing is clear: Out-of-state retailers show no regard for Michigan law,” Nevins said. “We encourage the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to investigate each and every complaint and continue cracking 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.

    # # #


  • Thursday, August 08, 2019 1:40 PM | Anonymous

    Rave Associates president previously served as finance chair for two terms

    LANSING – Jim Warbritton was elected vice-chair of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association Board of Directors during the association’s annual meeting on July 31.

    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’s an honor to serve the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association Board of Directors as vice-chair. I look forward to working with our friends at breweries, wineries and retailers across the state to ensure Michigan remains a top producer of beer and wine for years to come,” Warbritton said. “MB&WWA members 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 5 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. At a time when craft beer production is decreasing across the country, Michigan craft beer production increased by 10% in 2018.

    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.


    # # #


  • Wednesday, August 07, 2019 4:37 PM | Anonymous

    Henry A. Fox Sales president previously served two terms as vice-chair

    LANSING – Brien Fox was elected chair of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association Board of Directors during the association’s annual meeting on July 31.

    Fox is CEO of Henry A. Fox Sales, a family owned beer and wine distributor located in Grand Rapids. Henry A. Fox Sales distributes beer, cider and wine throughout West Michigan and the entire state. The distributor works with suppliers large and small from right here in Michigan, across the country and around the world.

    “I’m proud to take the helm of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association Board of Directors and represent an industry that has a greater than $10 billion impact on Michigan’s economy,” Fox said. “Michigan’s beer and wine distributors create jobs and give back to their communities while helping craft breweries, wineries and local retailers compete, grow and thrive on a level playing field.”

    Michigan is a leader in both beer and wine production thanks to a three-tier system that promotes fairness and a level playing field. At a time when craft beer production is decreasing across the country, Michigan craft beer production increased by 10% in 2018.

    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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