Bills in Lansing would ease restrictions on craft brewers

Michigan Public Radio Network

If there’s one thing that can bring state House Republicans and Democrats together, it’s a batch of Michigan craft beer.

State lawmakers are considering bipartisan legislation that would allow Michigan’s craft brewers to expand. Among other things, the House Bills 4709, 4710, and 4711 would double the number of barrels microbrewers could produce each year. They would also let larger brewers such as Bell’s and Founders open second locations in the state.

Rep. Andy Schor said craft breweries have been a boost to the state’s economy in recent years. He said allowing them to expand would create more jobs and economic opportunities.

“Right now they’re bumping up against a cap that was created 20 years ago,” Schor said, “The industry has just lit on fire and is expanding, so we’re going to allow for that expansion.”

Schor also said Michigan is already a leader in craft brewing across the nation. He says the legislation would only enhance that status.

“We’re sixth in the nation on breweries and microbrews and craft beer,” he said, “and this will allow that to expand and get even better. And I’m excited. I’m happy to be part of the bill.”

In the past, beer and wine distributers in Michigan have opposed easing restrictions on craft brewers. But they now support the legislation.

The state House Regulatory Reform Committee is expected to take up the bills Tuesday morning.

Copyright 2013, MPRN