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Gov. Whitmer Signs Legislation Expanding Sale of Canned Cocktails in Michigan

Distillers can now sell distribute spirits up to 13.5 percent alcohol-by-volume, paving the way for more competition against national brands

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer smiles and she signs paperwork. There’s a man and a sign for Long Road Distillers in the background. Courtesy of the office of the governor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation on Monday, May 24, that will make it easier for the state’s distillers and retailers to do business by easing taxes and expanding the array of canned cocktails that can be sold in Michigan.

The package of four bills, which passed in the House and Senate in December, was lauded by lawmakers who said it would allow local distillers to compete against national brands sold in Michigan. Under the new law, the tax rate on ready-to-drink cocktails with up to 13.5 percent ABV falls from 48 cents to 30 cents per liter.

“Ready-to-drink cocktails have experienced massive growth in the marketplace over the last few years and this legislation is a critical piece in ensuring that these products are able to compete on a level playing field,” Republican Sen. Curt VanderWall said in a statement. “These bills help our local distillers by removing tax barriers and giving them the ability to get their products in front of consumers easily and quickly.”

SB 141 was sponsored by Sen. Wayne Schmidt, Republican from Traverse City;  SB 142 was sponsored by Sen. Winnie Brinks, a Democrat from Grand Rapids; SB 143 was sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Moss, D–Southfield; and SB 144 was sponsored by Sen. Curt VanderWall, R-Ludington.