Beer and government, what’s the connection? We’ve all heard the media and lawmakers crying for small business owners to step up and create jobs. To create jobs you must make a product that the consumers want and oh boy do the consumers want craft beer. Craft beer is the fastest growing segment in alcohol sales in the United States and as so the breweries that make the beer are some of the fast growing small businesses.
During the mid-90’s regulations against small breweries were lifted and breweries started popping up throughout Michigan. Now we are entering two decades of brewing in our state and these 80+ small business owners and legislators are working together to further grow this industry. But it’s still young and the laws on the books are somewhat out of date and need tweaking to facilitate a climate that keeps this business steaming forward. We are also running into issues that we didn’t have before because these businesses didn’t exist.
Right now one entity can only own a certain number of breweries. Only have a minimal number of offshoot pubs. The tax bracket for brewpubs (don’t distribute) and microbreweries (do distribute) are different and can those tax amounts change to promote more growth. Also at what point does a microbrewery grow beyond its tax bracket?
Meeting with legislators in Lansing, the brewery owners found themselves being warmly welcomed by both the House of Representatives and Senate. With both honoring the industry by declaring the month of July “Michigan Craft Beer Month” for the fourth year in a row. This symbolizes the attention and admiration that our legislature has for these trailblazers and former home brewers turned dreamers turned businessmen and women.
Most of the breweries in Michigan are expanding in physical size, staffing and reach throughout the rest of the country. Creating more jobs in brewing beer, selling beer and giving the consumer an enjoyable and tasty way of supporting local Michigan made products. More restaurants are seeing the potential of serving Michigan made beer. Even seeing customers asking for Michigan beer. There are a few, and hopefully more on the way, restaurants that offer multiple Michigan beers on tap and/or in the bottle.
1 in 10 Michiganders work in the restaurant industry and this industry supports our tourism industry and a growing part of that tourism industry is… visiting our now over 80 different breweries. See the cycle? There are a rumored 20 more breweries to open in Michigan within the next year. Adding those breweries in might move Michigan from 5th in number of breweries per state to 3rd or 4th. With that growth comes jobs, comes more tourism, comes more tax revenue and a new industry that all Michiganders can stand behind and proud of.
With all of this growth there is still room to grow. In Michigan craft beer sales only make up around 2% of total beer sold, while in Oregon craft beer is at 28% and growing. So help your local and state economy, grab a Michigan brewed beer, visit www.michiganbrewersguild.org to find out where the breweries are and go on a brewery tour, and please every time you’re out having a beer ask “What Michigan beer do you have?”