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Wholesale Laws for Michigan

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Last Updated: July 8, 2020

Summary

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) falls under the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.  Michigan holds control on spirits at wholesale and licenses wholesalers for the distribution of beer and wine to retailers.

Definition: “Wine” means the product made by the normal alcoholic fermentation of the juice of sound, ripe grapes, or any other fruit with the usual cellar treatment, and containing not more than 21% of alcohol by volume, including fermented fruit juices other than grapes and mixed wine drinks {MCL 436.1113(8)}.

Laws & Rules:

Supplier Licensing

Required: Yes

Name: Outstate Seller of Wine

Fee: $300, plus one-time $70 inspection fee

Expiration: April 30th of each year

An Out-of-State Seller of Wine (OSSW) license issued by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (“Commission”) authorizes the license holder to ship wine into Michigan and sell to Michigan wholesalers. Applicants must complete and submit the “Non-Retail License” application with the following documents attached: letter of good standing, operating agreement, corporate documents and stockholders report.

Effective Nov. 21, 2019, the bonding requirement for out-of-state sellers of wine is eliminated. The Governor signed legislation (SB 320) to amend the Liquor Control Code to delete the bonding requirement on Nov. 21, 2019. SB 320 was amended to include an emergency clause making it effective upon passage.

Resources:

Product Registration

Required: Yes

Fee: No Fee

Approval: 2-3 weeks

Expiration: Does Not Expire

Revision Required: COLA change

Suppliers must register all labels of wine prior to shipping into Michigan. This may be done through the online label registration website: https://www.lara.michigan.gov/MWPR/login. A password is required to access the on-line registration site which will be mailed along with your license. Detailed instructions are available on the Login page. You may also register your labels by submitting a copy of your COLA along with a loose label to the MLCC.

Labels registered and approved for DTC do not have to be resubmitted and approved for wholesale distribution.

Resources:

Franchise "Monopoly Protection" Law

Franchise Law: Yes

Exclusive Territories: Required, with limited exceptions

Please review the law in its entirety and consult legal counsel prior to taking any action.

An outstate seller of wine, and a master distributor shall grant to each of its wholesalers a sales territory within which the wholesaler shall be a distributor of the specified brand or brands of the manufacturer, outstate seller of wine, or master distributor under an agreement. Outstate sellers of wines must provide their wholesaler with a written territory agreement, however, a copy of the agreement does not need to be filed with the Commission.

Except under certain conditions, beginning June 1, 2010, a supplier or master distributor is prohibited from granting the right to sell a specific brand or brands of wine to more than one wholesaler in the same sales territory. However, a supplier or master distributor may continue an agreement that was in effect on June 1, 2010, which assigned the distribution rights to more than one wholesaler for a specific brand of wine in the same sales territory.

A supplier must have “good cause” for terminating a wholesaler and comply with all applicable notice requirements. Notwithstanding any agreement and limited exceptions in MLC 436.1305, good cause shall exist for the purposes of a termination, when all of the following occur:

  • There is a failure by the wholesaler to comply with a provision of the agreement which is both reasonable and of material significance to the business relationship between the wholesaler and the supplier.
  • The supplier first acquired knowledge of the failure described in subdivision (a) not more than 2 years before the date notification was given.
  • The wholesaler was given written notice by the supplier of failure to comply with the agreement, and afforded a reasonable opportunity to assert good faith efforts to comply with the agreement within the time limits.
  • The wholesaler has been afforded 25 days in which to submit a plan of corrective action to comply with the agreement and an additional 75 days to cure such noncompliance in accordance with the plan.

Resources:

Supplier Reporting Requirements

Required: Yes

Name: Wine Outstate Sellers Monthly Report

Due Date: Monthly, by the 15th

The OSSW must submit no later than the 15th of each month, an Outstate Sellers Monthly Report, for wine shipped into Michigan during the preceding calendar month. This report must be filed whether any wine shipments were made the previous month or not. A copy of each corresponding invoice for wine shipments or a computer generated report listed by wholesaler, for all wine shipments into Michigan for each month, must also be submitted.

Resources:

Sales Representative Licensing

Available: Yes

Fee: $35

Expiration: every three years on April 30th.

Any person employed or representing an alcoholic beverage supplier or wholesaler, who sells, delivers, promotes or otherwise assists in the sale, delivery or promotion of alcoholic liquor in this state is required to hold a Salesperson license issued by the Commission. Salesperson’s must be 18 years of age or older. Salesperson licenses are $35.00 for a three-year licensing period.

An applicant for a beer or wine related Salesperson License must submit documentation that they have successfully completed a salesperson accreditation program approved by the Commission.

Resources:

Self-Distribution

License: Not Allowed

There are no statutory or regulatory provisions allowing an out-of-state winery to self-distribute.

Trade Practice Advisories

Michigan Liquor Control Commission
525 W. Allegan St.
PO Box 30005
Lansing, MI 48909
Phone: 517-284-6250
Alt. Phone: 866-813-0011

Michigan Department of Treasury
Treasury Building
Lansing, MI 48909-7824
Phone: 517-373-3200

 

Recent Compliance Alerts

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This information is intended for winegrower licensees only. All information above is provided as an informational aid and is not legal advice. Data may be out-of-date or incomplete. Please consult a lawyer before taking any action.