Local brewers not impacted by recent legislation

HOUGHTON – For Dick Gray, legislation allowing brew pubs and microbrewries to increase production recently signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder probably won’t lead to an increase in how much beer he makes.

The new law, signed by Snyder on Tuesday, allows brewpubs to make up to 5,000 barrels each year. However, they must also have a full-service restaurant. Brewpubs can sell beer for take-out. Microbreweries can now increase production from 30,000 barrels per year to 60,000 barrels. Microbreweries producing more than 1,000 barrels must distribute their products to retailers through licensed wholesalers. Microbreweries which produce less than 1,000 barrels per year can now sell directly to retailers under certain conditions.

The Keweenaw Brewing Company produces nine beers at its South Range brewery, and Gray, who is co-owner of the company, said last year the microbrewery made just under 10,000 barrels of beer. This year he doesn’t expect to exceed 15,000 barrels.

“I don’t see us ever having that (60,000 barrels) capacity,” he said. “We’re kind of small and quaint, and we want to keep it that way.”

A barrel holds 31 gallons.

Gray said the KBC distributes in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. They just started distributing to Cleveland. He said KBC is the eighth- largest microbrewery in Michigan and about 60th in the country.

According to the website, michigan.gov, the new law allows brewpub owners to have an interest in five other brewpubs, up from two, as long as the combined production doesn’t exceed 18,000 barrels per year.

Other bills in a nine-bill package regarding brewing signed by Snyder have provisions, which:

allow a brewer to sell its beer for on-premises consumption at two locations on its licensed brewery premises. It also allows a microbrewery that produces fewer than 30,000 barrels of beer per year to sell its beer for on-premises consumption at any brewery licensed premises, and allow a microbrewer that produces between 30,000 and 60,000 barrels of beer per year to sell its beer for on-premises consumption at not more than three licensed brewery locations.

allow suppliers, wholesalers and warehouses to provide certain advertising items to licensees for marketing their alcoholic beverage products in Michigan. It also allows retailers to purchase certain items that have value, use, or purpose beyond the actual advertising value to market alcoholic beverage products in their licensed establishments.

remove a requirement that brewers, wineries, liquor makers or their wholesalers have to pay a state beer, wine or liquor tax more than once every three months. It also revises details for which entities are required to deliver the tax.