PROOS: Promoting all Michigan craft beverage industries

Published 8:08 am Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Michigan microbreweries, small distillers and brewpubs currently pay the license and renewal fees that fund the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, yet they have no representation on the council nor benefit from their contributions.

I co-sponsored legislation to ensure that everyone who helps fund the council has a seat at the table and benefits from its work. That legislation, which revises the makeup of the council and updates its name, has been approved by the state Senate.

This reform will ensure that the council is better positioned to promote and support our southwest Michigan craft beverage businesses and manufacturers.

Both Michigan’s craft brewing and craft distilling industries rank among the top 10 nationwide, contributing millions of dollars to our economy, creating jobs and attracting tourists to our state.

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.

This initiative is designed to ensure equal representation and membership on this important council, which has been an effective advocate for our wine industry for years.

The updated council will be a tremendous asset for Michigan’s up-and-coming craft distilling and brewing industries, and all Michigan agriculture.

JOHN PROOS, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien and St. Joseph counties.