New laws establish Michigan Craft Beverage Council

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed House Bill 4667 and Senate Bill 440, which will change the name of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council to the Michigan Craft Beverage Council.

The bills also will expand the council to include Michigan wine, beer, hard cider and spirits. The bills are now Public Acts 154 and 155 of 2018.

The Craft Beverage Council will award grants for research into winemaking, hops, barley, beer and spirits; conduct market surveys and analysis; and offer other programs that encourage the agricultural elements related to Michigan’s craft beverage industries. The Council’s activities are funded exclusively by non-retail, non-wholesale liquor license fees.

“This is a really smart move for Michigan,” said Gordon Wenk, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “When the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council was established 30 years ago, Michigan had 14 wineries. We now have 145. And that industry alone contributes $5.4 billion in economic impact to our state, including $253 million in tourism spending. Now we’re watching Michigan become one of the nation’s most prolific and innovative producers of craft beers, hard ciders, and spirits. As a state, we must evolve with the industry-support them, promote them, and ensure they are represented in the decision-making process.”

The director of MDARD will serve as chair of the 10-member council and is the only non-voting member. Other members to be appointed by Snyder: two winemakers; a winemaker that primarily manufactures cider; one restaurant and one retail representative; a small distiller; a distiller that manufactures more than 60,000 gallons of spirits per year; a large brewer; and either a microbrewer or a brewpub license holder.

The Michigan Craft Beverage Council will be housed in the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, effective Oct. 1.

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