Michigan Brewer and Micro Brewer Licensing and Regulation

Grand Rapids is becoming well known for craft beer. For a second consecutive year the city was named Beer City USA. That is why I thought it was only fitting to write a post on brewery licensing and regulation.

The State of Michigan is home to over 140 micro breweries and 2 breweries. Alcohol manufacture and sale is highly regulated in the state of Michigan. The following is a brief overview of the licensing process for brewers and micro brewers.

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission (the “Commission”) regulates the licensing of brewers and micro brewers.

A “Brewer” license, as defined by MCL 436.1105(10), is issued to a person located in Michigan to manufacturer and sell to licensed wholesalers, beer produced by it.

A “Micro Brewer” license, as defined by MCL 436.1109(2), is issued to person located in Michigan to manufacturer no more than 30,000 barrels per year and sell to licensed wholesalers, beer produced by it.

To apply for a Brewer or Micro Brewer License applicants must:

  1. Complete Application for New License, or Application of Buyers For Transfer of Ownership or Interest in License (Form LC-687) http://www.michigan.gov/documents/cis/CIS_LCC_lc687_181807_7.pdf
  2. Pay $70.00 nonrefundable inspection fee
  3. Obtain Surety Bond (Form MW-816) in the amount of $1,000.00 for the first year licensed https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dleg/LCMW816_0109_264374_7.pdf
  4. Obtain Proof of Financial Responsibility – provide security for liability of not less than $50,000.00
  5. Obtain Federal Permit – “Brewer’s Notice” issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms
  6. Provide relevant corporation, limited liability company (LLC), or partnership documents.

Upon receipt of this information, the Commission will authorize an investigation which will be performed by the Commission’s Enforcement Division. The investigation will cover several areas including but not limited to: ownership structure; background of individuals; projected cost of project; source of finances; and physical inspection of premises. Once the investigation is completed, the investigator will submit a report to the Commission.

The Commission will then issue a formal order approving, denying, or holding the application for additional information. If the application is denied, the applicant will have an opportunity to appeal the denial.

Brewery and micro brewery licensing is an important yet time consuming process, it is wise to seek the expertise of legal counsel to efficiently comply with Michigan’s licensing procedures.