Letter: Three-tier system key to Michigan’s alcohol industry
Nationally, Michigan is a Top Five producer of beer and wine, thanks to a three-tier system that opens up opportunities for breweries and wineries big and small to create jobs, grow and thrive.
And it’s not just those who make beer and wine in the state who benefit from this system.
The three-tier system and the state’s beer and wine distributors do more than move cases of wine and kegs of beer from point A to point B. They help small craft breweries and wineries access retailers down the street and on the other side of the state, ensure a fresh product is found on store shelves and on tap at bars and restaurants and provide marketing muscle to put on unique events and tastings.
Michigan’s three-tier system doesn’t just help small producers get off the ground and grow their brand. It also prevents big multinational brewers from having a monopoly on the alcohol market, which would block out our state’s innovative craft brewers and bring the state’s craft beer boom to a halt.
Imagine today, walking into a bar and instead of finding 40 taps of beer from breweries from across the state and around the world, you find a handful of taps of beer from one brewery. Go down the street and you’ll find the same thing.
You actually don’t have to go back in time to see the negative effects of tied-houses. Bars across Europe are tied to multinational brewers, limiting the growth of the craft beer industry in many European countries.
The three-tier system provides safeguards to help prevent alcohol abuse, drunk driving, underage drinking and binge drinking. It also ensures the products that make it to retailers aren’t tainted, like alcohol that wound up at resorts in Mexico earlier this year.
Michigan’s beer and wine distributors are proud to play a role in the success of the state’s beer and wine industries, which have more than a $15 billion annual economic impact. Our members, many of whom are family owned distributors and have deep roots in their communities, employ nearly 5,000 people locally in good-paying jobs with good benefits.
Michigan’s beer and wine industries have grown by leaps and bounds over the last several years and are on track to continue growing – opening new breweries and wineries and adding jobs – under a system that promotes choice, competition and a level playing field.
President, Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association
President, Bell’s Brewery