Gov. Gretchen Whitmer alcohol

Gov. Whitmer signing bills on May 24. 2021, which will make it easier for distillers and retailers to distribute and sell mixed spirit drinks.

(The Center Square) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law Senate Bill 49, which will enable small distillers, winemakers, and microbreweries to have an on-premise and off-premise tasting room permit if they meet certain conditions. 

"Michigan is home to some of the best microbreweries and craft distillers in the country, and this bill makes it easier for these businesses to create and operate tasting rooms," Whitmer said in a statement. "I’m proud that this bipartisan bill will make it more convenient for Michiganders to sample fine spirits and delicious micro-brews, while also creating jobs and helping grow our small businesses and economy faster."

The bill amends the Michigan Liquor Control Code to allow a person to hold an on-premises tasting room permit and an off-premises tasting room license at the same location under certain conditions.

An on-premises tasting room permit and an off-premises tasting room license could be held in at the same location by the same person if either of the following conditions were met:

  • The person held the on-premises tasting room permit with a brewer or micro brewer license only and no other manufacturing license, and the off-premises tasting room license at the same location.
  • The person held an on-premises tasting room permit with a microbrewer, small distiller, or small winemaker license, or any combination of the three and the off-premises tasting room license at the same location; and the MLCC issued to the person both the on-premises permit and the off-premises license, or their equivalent at the time of issuance, before October 1, 2018.

“Michigan is renowned for its craft beverage industry, contributing billions to our state’s economy and employing tens of thousands of hardworking men and women, including many in our state’s great southwest region,” bill sponsor Sen. Kim LaSata, R-Coloma, said in a statement. “At this critical time when our state is getting back to work and with tourism on the rebound, ensuring our craft beverage producers have the ability to both sample and sell all of their creations in the same place is a simple, yet incredibly important fix to state law. I appreciate the strong bipartisan support this bill received to help this growing industry.”

In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic and the state shutting down indoor service at bars for months at a time, Michigan lawmakers boosted customer options to take drinks to-go and created “social districts” in which customers can walk around and drink outside legally.

“We are grateful for this legislation that will allow us to expand services to our customers after a very difficult year,” David Ringler, director of Happiness Cedar Springs Brewing Company, said in a statement. “As a destination location in a small town it is key for us to be able to serve all of our product lines to our guests.”

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on and Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.