LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Legislature has approved bills sponsored by Sen. Goeff Hansen and Rep. Brandt Iden that would update and enhance various functions of the current Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council.
The council is currently responsible for promoting and providing assistance to Michigan’s wine and wine grape-growing industries.
Senate Bill 440 and House Bill 4667 would rename the council the “Michigan Craft Beverage Council”; expand council membership to include brewers, distillers and cider makers; and increase access to industry-related grants.
“The council has done an adequate job representing Michigan’s wineries since its inception, but it receives some of its funding from license fees paid by brewers, small distillers and brewpubs, which currently do not benefit from the council’s support — so these bills give those businesses a seat at the table” said Hansen, R-Hart. “By expanding the council’s membership and increasing funding opportunities, it is better equipped to help support these promising sectors going forward.”
Iden also spoke about the importance of improving representation on the council.
“The craft beverage industry is a pivotal part of Michigan’s economy,” said Iden, R-Oshtemo. “We need to ensure that the council has the ability to help lead industry growth.”
Among other responsibilities, the new council would administer grants to promote craft-beverage-related crop research; offer financial assistance programs to grow varieties of fruit, barley, or hops; and establish educational partnerships to benefit the beer, wine and spirits industries.
“Michigan is experiencing an expansion of new wineries, breweries, brew pubs and distilleries,” Hansen said. “These entrepreneurs are having a unique impact on communities across the state. I am confident this legislation will help further support and grow these businesses.”
Hansen has previously served as chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. He has been a strong proponent of agri-business and Michigan’s wine industry, having led the way for small winemakers to sell their wines and provide tastings at farmers markets.
SB 440 and HB 4667 have been sent to Gov. Rick Snyder to be signed into law.