Law Bans Out of State Retailers From Sending Beer, Wine

“We always think it’s positive when more retail outlets are allowed to sell our product,” says Doug Coster.

Wineries in the state may see their products reach a bigger audience.

The Governor passed legislation today that allows stores the opportunity to ship wine directly to in state customers.

But the law also bans out of state retailers from sending beer or wine to Michigan buyers, in hopes of cracking down on online wine retailers who illegally ship into the state.

9 and 10’s Megan Atwood and photojournalist John Harrington have more details and a reaction from a local winery who says they see both good and the bad sides of this new law.

At Saint Ambrose Cellars, they rely heavily on both local and out of state purchases.

“It seems to be a bill to allow retailers to ship more easily, which is something that seems to be a good idea,” says Doug Coster, the National Sales Manager at Saint Ambrose Cellars.

A law signed by the governor on Monday will allow retailers who buy from wineries like Saint Ambrose to ship wine directly to their customers. But, the law also places a ban on out of state retailers doing the same. It’s something Saint Ambrose Cellars in Beulah finds concerning.

“We use other services which are retailers like vino shipper who ship throughout the US about 34 to 37 states, and most other wineries use similar services. I’m worried about any legislation that limits that could limit the small private wineries from being able to distribute their product,” Coster goes on to say.

They worry that if out of state retailers can’t send their product here to Michigan, that other states will pass the same law.

“My only fear is protectionist provisions in the legislation that may prevent additional growth. I don’t want to see anything that would limit sales to out of state customers,” Coster continues.

And at Bayside Market in Traverse City, they buy directly through distributors and see the law as a way to bring more customers into their store.

“It sounds like it’s going to shut down some of these mail order wine clubs, which if those people can’t get their wine through those streams anymore they’ll have to come to places like this,” says General Manager, Daniel Summers.