By Kristin Beltzer // Michigan liquor control commission
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed two bipartisan bills into law this summer allowing alcohol to be sold at college sporting events and making cocktails-to-go from restaurant takeout and delivery permanent. Both laws are aimed at providing an economic boost for universities and businesses. Public Acts 95 and 96 were signed on July 18, 2023, with an immediate effective date. The laws amend the Michigan Liquor Control Code of 1998 (Code).
“Cocktails to Go” now permanent
Senate Bill 141 (Public Act 95 of 2023). The law makes permanent carryout sales and delivery of alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, spirits, mixed spirit drink, or mixed drinks-cocktails) in qualified containers. The law amends the Code by repealing the sunset/expiration date of January 1, 2026, found in 436.1537a. The alcohol-to-go policy was first allowed in June 2020 as a temporary change to provide additional revenue to help keep restaurants in business during the pandemic. It has become a popular way for customers to support their favorite restaurants. Michigan is the 23rd state nationally to make to-go cocktails permanent, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
Alcohol sales at Michigan college stadiums now legal
Senate Bill 247 (Public Act 96). The governing boards of Michigan’s 15 public universities can now elect to obtain liquor licenses from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) to sell alcohol in their stadiums for athletic events. The Act amends the Code to allow the MLCC to grant licenses to universities to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption for up to 100 days each year for “intercollegiate athletic scheduled events,” including football, basketball, hockey, baseball, and soccer venues. The statute also allows alcohol sales for five days of the year at other events such as concerts or professional sports.
Alcohol sales at stadiums and arenas can start one hour before an event until it ends. Fans can drink on the premises up to 30 minutes after the event ends. Alcoholic drinks are not allowed to be taken out of the venue. Of course, sellers are required to check ID upon purchase.
MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi retires
Pat Gagliardi retired as chair from the MLCC after his term expired on June 12, 2023, as announced by Gov. Whitmer. The MLCC wishes to express heartfelt appreciation to Chair Gagliardi for his outstanding dedication and significant contributions to the Commission. His retirement is the culmination of more than 40 years of service to the state of Michigan. The MLCC wishes him a long and happy retirement!
MLCC Commissioner Kristin Beltzer New Chair of the MLCC
Administrative Commissioner Kristin M. Beltzer of Grand Rapids, MI, was reappointed to represent Independents and appointed as chair of the MLCC by Gov. Whitmer for a for a term commencing June 13, 2023, and expiring June 12, 2027. Chairwoman Beltzer brings a wealth of experience and knowledge that will greatly contribute to the continued success of the MLCC.
Welcome MLCC Commissioner Hopgood
The MLCC extends a warm welcome to new Administrative Commissioner Hoon-Yung Hopgood of Richmond, MI, who was appointed by Gov. Whitmer on June 13, 2023, to succeed Commissioner Kristin Beltzer for a four-year term expiring June 12, 2027. Mr. Hopgood, a former Democratic state senator, is the first Korean American to serve in the Michigan Legislature. He served in the Senate from 2011-18 and the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2008, where he became a leader on educational issues in the state. While in the Senate, he served on the Senate Education Committee, the Energy and Technology Committee, and the Appropriations Committee. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.