What Type of License?
Permits manufacturing an unlimited quantity of beer in Michigan. Brewers may sell the beer they produce to licensed wholesalers. Brewers may not sell directly to licensed retailers. A Brewer who is not licensed as a Microbrewer may sell the beer it produces to consumers for on-premise consumption at one brewing facility in Michigan. A Brewer may sell beer that it produces to consumers for off-premises consumption. A Brewer may permit sampling of beer in a hospitality room located on the brewery premises.
Permits manufacturing up to 5,000 barrels of beer annually. A Brewpub must also hold an on-premise license (Class C, Tavern, A-Hotel, B-Hotel or Resort). A Brewpub must operate a full service restaurant with at least 25% of gross sals from non-alcoholic items. Brewpubs may not sell their beer to wholesalers or retailers. Brewpubs may sell their beer to consumers for on-premises consumption or take-out. A person may have an interest in up to three Brewpubs with total combined production not to exceed 5,000 barrels.
Permits manufacturing up to 30,000 barrels of beer annually (including production in any out-of-state facilities). Micro Brewers may sell beer to licensed wholesalers and may not sell beer directly to licensed retailers. Micro Brewers may sell beer at their brewery to consumers for on & off-premise consumption without an additional license. A Micro Brewer may permit sampling of beer on the brewery premises.
For more information about the application process, visit this page.
Information for Brewers
Church and School
A new application to sell alcoholic beverages at retail (including manufacturers), or a request to transfer location of an existing license, may be denied if the contemplated location is within 500’ of a church or school. The Commission may waive the church/school provision if the church or school does not file an objection to the proposed license. If the church or school files an objection, the Commission will hold a hearing before making a decision on the issuance of the license. MCL 436.1503
Manufacturing & Labeling
Beer must be manufactured in accordance with federal beer regulations published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 27, Part 25. Contact the TTB for details. Administrative rule R 436.1611
All beer products sold in Michigan must have labels approved by the Commission prior to being sold. All beer sold in Michigan must be labeled in accordance with TTB regulations. The Commission uses an on-line label registration process which requires prior registration with the TTB. Upon licensure, you will be provided with a password and instructions to access the on-line registration site. There is no fee for Michigan label registration. Administrative rule R 436.1611
Mandatory Label Information (Pursuant to TTB Regulations)
Beer, mixed wine drink (wine coolers) & mixed spirit drink (spirit coolers) sold in containers of one (1) gallon or less must comply with the Beverage Container Act (Initiated Law of 1976) by requiring a deposit of not less than 10 cents per container when sold to consumers. Containers must be clearly labeled with the name of this state and the deposit amount. “MI” or “MICH” are acceptable abbreviations for Michigan. The wholesaler who sells the returnable containers to their retail customers initiates the container deposit. MCL 445.571 – MCL 445.576
Beer Excise Tax Reports
Michigan beer excise tax rate is $6.30 per barrel. A barrel contains 31 gallons. The excise tax equates to approximately 46 cents for a case containing 24/12 ounce containers. Brewers and Micro Brewers are responsible for paying the Michigan beer excise tax on all beer sold in this state. Taxes are collected on a monthly basis (biweekly if your monthly tax liability averages $50,000 or more). Sales and shipments made to military installations, Indian reservations or out-of-state by Brewers/Micro Brewers are nontaxable. Beer that is provided as samples in a hospitality room of a brewery or beer damaged in the process of brewing is also nontaxable. Beer that is sold for on-premise consumption by a Micro Brewer is subject to the beer excise tax.
A report of operations (copy of TTB - Report of Operations) is due in the Commission’s Lansing office not later than the fifteenth day of the month for the preceding month's activity. Copies of invoices verifying sales to Michigan wholesalers or a summary report of wholesaler sales are submitted with your monthly beer excise tax report. Payment of the beer excise tax shall accompany the report. Monthly reporting forms and instructions will be supplied to each applicant upon licensure. Wholesalers must be supplied with two copies of each invoice. Brewers & Micro Brewers who manufacture less than 50,000 barrels of beer per year, are eligible for a credit against future beer excise taxes in the amount of $2.00 per barrel for the first 30,000 barrels per year. MCL 436.1409, administrative rule R 436.1621
Sales to Wholesalers
Brewers and Micro Brewers must grant each of their wholesalers with an exclusive sales territory. A Brewer or Micro Brewer must give each of their wholesalers a written agreement specifying the brand or brands to be distributed and the territory where exclusive sales are granted. There can be no overlapping of sales territories between wholesalers of similar brands.
Brewers and Micro Brewers are prohibited from selling alcoholic beverages directly to retail licensees. All sales must be made through licensed wholesalers. Brewers and Micro Brewers are prohibited from holding a Wholesale license or retail license. There is no prohibition against offering wholesalers quantity discounts as long as the discounts are uniformly offered to all wholesalers. All sales made to wholesalers must be for cash only. MCL 436.1105(10), MCL 436.1109(2), MCL 436.1401, MCL 436.1403
Sale to Consumers by the Glass
A Micro Brewer may sell beer it manufactures to consumers for on-premises consumption at each of their brewery locations. A Brewer may sell beer it manufactures to consumers for on-premises consumption at one and only one of its licensed Michigan locations. MCL 436.1109(2), MCL 436.1411
Take-Out Sales from Brewery:
A Micro Brewer by definition may sell beer that it produces to consumers for off-premises consumption (takeout). MCL 436.1109(2), MCL 436.1607(3). A Brewer may sell beer that it produces to consumers for off-premises consumption (take-out). MCL 436.1537 (k)
There are additional permits that a Brewer or Micro Brewer might want to apply for to be held in conjunction with their primary license.
Advertising and Promotions
Inside signs advertising alcoholic liquor must not exceed 3,500 square inches in dimension. Alcoholic beverage advertising provided by suppliers and wholesalers to retailers promoting anything other than or in addition to their alcoholic beverage products requires prior commission approval. Point-of-sale advertising may not contain the name of any retail licensee of promote anything other than your products. Advertising on anything having any secondary value, use or purpose other than advertising, requires prior Commission approval. Administrative rules R 436.1301 – R 436.1339
Brewers, Micro Brewers and Wholesalers are allowed to sample their products with on-premises or off-premises retail licensees and the retailer’s employees. All containers used to sample products with retailers must be marked with the word “Sample” with lettering at least ½-inches high and may not be sampled by consumers. Samples from multiple beverages may be offered, however only one (1) sample container of 750 ml size or smaller may be left with a retail licensee for sampling by the retailer and their staff. A sample container must be removed from the premises within 24 hours. Administrative rules R 436.1001, R 436.1421, R 436.1511, R 436.1513, R 436.1863
Sales for Cash Only:
The Liquor Control Code requires the sale and purchase of all alcoholic beverages to be for cash only, at the time of delivery to wholesalers. Consumers may use bona-fide credit cards to pay for purchases from the brewery. MCL 436.2013
Hospitality Room – Sampling by Consumers
A Brewer or Micro Brewer may allow persons 21 years of age or older to sample beer manufactured by that brewery in a hospitality room located on the brewery premises. The brewery may be open to the public Monday through Saturday from 7:00 A.M. until 2:00 A.M.; and Sunday from 12:00 Noon until 2:00 A.M. Beer may not be served to persons in an intoxicated condition. MCL 436.2025, administrative rule R 436.1613
Manufacturers of beer are required to collect a barrel deposit of $30.00 for all barrels, 1/2 barrels and 1/4 barrels of beer sold to wholesalers. A refund of $30.00 shall be made to a licensee who has made the deposit and returned the barrels for refund. The Rule does not allow a deposit in excess of $30.00. Administrative rule R 436.1629
Interest in another License
Michigan statute strictly prohibits a Brewer/Micro Brewer from holding any interest, directly or indirectly, in a wholesale or retail license. Examples of prohibited interests include: stock ownership, leasing real estate to/from a wholesale or retail licensee; interlocking officers or directors between licensees; financial interest such as a moneylender with a wholesale or retail licensee. The Commission may approve a Brewer or Micro Brewer participating with one or more Brewers or Micro Brewers in an alternating proprietor operation subject to the written approval of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), in accordance with 27 CFR part 25, subpart F, section 25.52. A Brewer or Micro Brewer may hold multiple licenses for other brewery locations if all licenses are issued in the same legal entity. The combined production from all facilities owned by a Micro Brewer may not exceed 30,000 barrels per calendar year. MCL 436.1603
Other Manufacturing licenses
A Micro Brewer may obtain other manufacturing licenses including a Small Wine Maker, Brandy Manufacturer, Manufacturer of Spirits, Manufacturer of Mixed Spirit Drink or a Small Distiller which allows the manufacture and sale of wine, brandy, mixed spirit drinks or distilled spirits. MCL 436.1111(9), MCL 436.1109 (6), MCL 436.1113(9)
Beer and Wine Sampling Permit
A Micro Brewer may obtain a Beer and Wine Sampling Permit which allows beer and wine tastings to be conducted on licensed off-premises accounts that hold a Specially Designated Merchant (SDM) license.
There is a onetime $70.00 fee for this permit. Upon issuance of this permit notification of sampling events must be received at least 10 days prior to the event and all employees or licensed agents conducting the sampling event must have successfully completed a server training program approved by the MLCC. MCL 436.1537
Any person employed by a Brewer/Micro Brewer to sell, deliver, promote, or otherwise assist in the sale of alcoholic liquor in this state is required to hold a Salesperson license issued by the Commission. Employees who work exclusively at the brewery premises and have no personal contact with wholesalers, retailers or consumers, off brewery premises, do not need a Salesperson license. Salesperson licenses are available from the Manufacturers & Wholesalers Section. Salesperson licenses are currently $35.00 for a three-year licensure period. Salespersons must be at least 18 years of age. Licensed Salespersons are prohibited from being employed by a retail licensee on a paid or any other basis. Administrative rule R 436.1853
Aid & Assistance Prohibition
Section 609 of the Code, being MCL 436.1609, and Rule 436.1035 prohibit alcoholic beverage manufacturers, suppliers or wholesalers from aiding or assisting any other licensee by giving them anything of value. Further, a licensee is prohibited from accepting aid and assistance from another industry member. Alcoholic beverage suppliers are prohibited from giving anything of value to their wholesalers or retailers. Likewise, alcoholic beverage wholesalers are prohibited from giving anything of value to their retailers. This principle is the cornerstone of Michigan’s trade practices regulatory structure. It is designed to provide a level playing field for all industry members. Suppliers and wholesalers are prohibited from giving anything of value to retail licensees, including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages, merchandise, furniture, fixtures, equipment, uniforms, cash or loans, labor, etc. While wholesalers and suppliers may provide point-of-sale materials such as posters, banners, table tents, flyers, etc., to retailers promoting their brands and prices, they are prohibited from providing anything that has any secondary use, value or purpose, other than actual advertising value to retailers without prior Commission approval. This same principle prohibits suppliers and wholesalers from providing free advertising, incentive programs, free or discounted product, draft system installation and maintenance, etc. Violations in the aid and assistance statute will result in all participants (retailer, wholesaler and supplier) being cited before the Commission. MCL 436.1609, Administrative rule R 436.1035
All licensees are required to maintain all sales, purchase and salesperson expense records for a minimum of four (4) years. Records may be maintained electronically or otherwise as long as a hard copy of the record can be created upon demand. Administrative rules R 436.1007, R 436.1641, R 436.1865
Consumer Participatory Brewery (“Brew-On-Premise”) Operation
The Michigan Liquor Control Code (“Code”) requires a license to manufacture and sell beer. While the Code does allow for home brewing for personal consumption, the home brewing must be done at a person’s residence. Therefore, a Brew-On-Premise operation whereby a person provides a facility and equipment allowing consumers to participate in the brewing process is not recognized as home brewing and is allowable in Michigan only under a Micro Brewer or Brewer license. The Commission recognizes the licensed Brewer or Micro Brewer to be the manufacturer of the beer and holds that licensee accountable for all actions on its licensed premises. The licensee may not lease out their licensed premises or equipment to any person; however, consumers may participate in the brewing process under the supervision of the licensee. The
Commission recognizes the licensee to be selling the finished beer product to the participating consumer. The licensee may however collect the money up-front from the participating consumer. The licensee will be responsible for paying the appropriate beer excise taxes on all beer manufactured and sold in this state. The licensee will also be responsible for registering all beer brands with TTB and the Commission and labeling all containers in accordance with TTB standards. The Commission will allow Brew-On-Premise operations to register a ‘generic label’ approved by TTB and registered with the Commission with the very basic required information (name and address of bottler, net contents & government warning statement), and allow such labels to be further customized by the customer or licensee with additional brand name or fanciful name addition.
Inspection of Premises and Books & Records
A licensee must make the licensed premises available for inspection and search by a Commission Investigator or any law enforcement officer empowered to enforce the Commission’s rules and code during regular business hours or when the premises is occupied. The Commission or its duly authorized agent may examine the books, records or papers of a licensee. MCL 436.1217, administrative rule R 436.1645
Purchasing Drinks for Consumers
A licensed Salesperson of beer, for promotional purposes, may purchase one (1) drink for each customer of an on premises retail licensee only. Maximum spending limit of $50.00 per day at one account; and not more than twice per month at the same licensed retail location. The drink shall be purchased from the on-premises licensee and shall be of a brand represented by the salesman. Administrative rule R 436.1865
A Brewer or Micro Brewer may contract brew beer for another person. Such contract-brewed beer is basically treated like any other beer. The Brewer or Micro Brewer producing the beer is responsible for registering the product and trade name with TTB and the Commission; paying the beer excise taxes to the Commission for the beer sold in Michigan; assigning sales territories to wholesalers; and selling the beer only to licensed Michigan wholesalers. Contract brewed beer is no different than any other beer except that someone else may own the trade name, formula and label rights. Brewers may produce private labeled beer for retail licensees under this scenario. Administrative rule R 436.1615
Compliance with Laws, Zoning & Ordinances
A Brewer/Micro Brewer must comply with all state and local building, plumbing, zoning, sanitation, and health laws, rules and ordinances. Administrative rules R 436.1003, R 436.1105(3), R 436.1702