Michigan Wine Lovers Seek Choice…Oh, The Humanity!

Why do so many Michigan wine lovers choose to buy wine from out-of-state retailers rather than buy their wine from Michigan’s own retailers?

This really should be the question that emerges from the hyperbolic, breathless headline issued by the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association noting that “More than 480,000 Bottles of Wine Shipped Illegally into Michigan During Second, Third Quarters of 2019”.

The Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association have been issuing these sorts of press releases for a couple years now. This year, the release includes this very, very important insight:

“For years, we’ve heard anecdotal evidence that cases upon cases of wine were illegally shipped into Michigan every month, but we had no idea it was this rampant,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. “Every time an unlicensed, out-of-state retailer illegally ships alcohol into Michigan, they rob our state of much-needed tax revenue and thumb their nose at the mom and pop retailers playing by the rules and supporting our local communities.”

Well, I, I, I declare! Good God. Heavens to Betsy. Nose thumbing, in fact.

The fact is, the Michigan middlemen bury the lead. The real headline ought to be: “Michigan Wine Loves Forced To Look Out of State for Good Selection of Wine”. But as you might imagine, the heavy-breathing Michigan wholesalers didn’t quite see it this way.

Importantly, it’s not the fault of Michigan retailers that so many of their potential customers choose out-of-state retailers as their source for wine. The fault lies with the Michigan wine wholesalers who can’t seem to provide Michigan retailers with inventory choices that ultimately satisfy Michigan consumers. It’s not incompetence on the part of the Michigan wine wholesalers as much as it is……Well, who is kidding who…yes, it is incompetence, isn’t it.


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7 Responses

  1. Dann Lewis - August 20, 2020

    Love this article!!! Distributors crying wolf from not providing small, craft production choices for the consumer. Government agency didn’t realize it was this big of a problem. Of course you didn’t, you and your archaic laws create the problem. Nice job by the state alcohol lobby in swaying Michigan politics.

  2. VVP - August 20, 2020

    It is not incompetence. It is something else. Only in 2017 MLCC generated $448 million in net revenues on gross sales of $1.35 billion.

    480,000 bottles will give around $7.5 – 8.0 million gross for average $15-16 bottle of wine. At 35% rate its net revenue would be $2.8 – 3.0 million if they would sell those bottles in the state or only around $225,000 if MLCC would collect sales/use tax from out-of-state retailers.

    We just cannot balance this loss with the profit. We would call it “greed cancer”.

  3. Stan Duncan - August 20, 2020

    Didn’t the Supreme Court recently clarify that “winery” INCLUDES retailers, and ALWAYS has? Therefore their claim that the wine was shipped “illegally” is completely bogus.

  4. Stan Duncan - August 20, 2020

    @VVP – Guess what… those people who bought the 480,000 bottles would NOT have just purchased in state if they could not have ordered online. Pukes like you want to deny collectors from purchasing what they can’t find in state, because you’re nothing more than legalized racketeers and bullies and want to protect your turf just like the mafia.

  5. Tom Wark - August 20, 2020


    Yes, that’s exactly what the Court did. And very soon here we are going to find out if the Court cares if its directives are followed.

  6. VVP - August 21, 2020

    @Stan Duncan

    We think that you are just reading impaired. Nothing else our comment says, but this – if the Got gave you a millions it is totally shame to beg for a penny.

  7. Stan Duncan - August 21, 2020

    lol what

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