Liquor sales can now flow at 7 a.m. Sundays

This time they stirred the drink — added a twist — and it came out just right.

Lawmakers on Wednesday approved a revised bill to allow liquor sales Sunday mornings and on Christmas Day — a bill Gov. Jennifer Granholm said she will sign.

The new law also allows free, limited samples of beer and wine at grocery stores, bars and restaurants.

In October, Granholm vetoed a similar bill citing concerns over the volume of free samples allowed as well as a provision to permit restaurants to supply their own wholesale-bought liquor for catered events.

The new bill eliminated the provisions the governor objected to and the compromise shot through the Legislature like beer at a Detroit Lions game.

Booze law lets you try before a buy

What a difference a month makes.

When Gov. Jennifer Granholm vetoed a sweeping bill to allow Sunday morning liquor sales, state Sen. Alan Sanborn said the proposal to help booze sellers was dead.

But — at least when it comes to booze — the Legislature proved Wednesday that miracles, like ’em or not, do happen.

On Wednesday, Sanborn, R-Richmond Township, announced a compromise and that Granholm was on board.

And, faster than your favorite bartender can draw a draft, the Senate and House approved a liquor sales bill that restaurants, grocery stores and the beer and wine industry have sought for years.

Soon, retailers, restaurants and bars will be able to sell beer, wine and spirits on Sundays, starting at 7a.m. Current law prohibits Sunday sales until noon.

Also, liquor sales will be allowed until 11:59 p.m. Christmas Eve, and then again after noon on Christmas Day. Current law prohibits sales after 9p.m. Christmas Eve and all day Christmas Day.

Dealers must pay an extra $160 yearly to sell liquor on Sunday mornings, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Gone from the bill are several provisions Granholm found objectionable, including allowing restaurants to use their own liquor when they cater events and the amount of free sample beer and wine that could be provided at tastings.

The bill also allows:

• Grocery stores and other alcohol retailers to offer free beer and wine samples to shoppers — but no more than three samples of two ounces each.

• Restaurants to offer up to two free samples of beer or wine per customer, so they can taste before they buy a glass or pitcher.

• Wineries to charge for samples of their wines. Current law prohibits charging.

Mike Lashbrook, spokesman for the Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association, said the new law will be a boon to many alcohol establishments.

He said it especially will help resorts — a Sunday morning Bloody Mary will now be a legal sale — and those that serve patrons before Sunday sporting events, such as Detroit Lions, Tigers or Red Wings games.

He said the new law will resolve a Christmas predicament this year: Christmas falls on a Saturday, and the current law would forbid liquor sales from 9 p.m. Friday (Christmas Eve) through noon on Sunday, busy days for alcohol sales.

“You look at a place like Boyne ski resort with the holiday crowd they get. If they had to shut off alcohol after 9 o’clock, (Christmas Eve), that would have a significant impact,” Lashbrook said.

Grocery store owners had said free wine and beer samples in their stores will boost sales.

“It’s something we’ve wanted for years,” said Linda Gobler, president and CEO of the Michigan Grocers Association.

The Michigan Restaurant Association backed the bill because of an added provision that allows establishments to give up to two free samples to customers, especially beer and wine samples.

Restaurant association spokesman Andy Deloney said often customers will be curious about different beer brands on tap. Under current law, the bartender can describe the brands but not offer samples.

The new law will allow up to two free samples and give the customers a wider choice.

“This will be great for Michigan wineries and breweries as they try to increase awareness of their products,” Deloney said.

Deloney said that to assure the governor’s approval, the restaurants dropped their request to allow them to deliver and sell their own alcohol at events they cater off premises. He said they will seek that rule in a separate bill.

Via Detroit Free Press

Colin A. Daniels

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s