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Michigan Liquor Control Commission Celebrates 90 Years in Business
May 04, 2023
The Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) today marks 90 years in business. The MLCC issued the first special liquor license on May 4, 1933, for a huge event in Detroit on May 10. All other licensees had to wait a day, May 11, at 6:00 pm to start selling low 3.2% beer to the public. Just two weeks prior, on April 27,1933, Public Act 64 of 1933 was signed, legalizing beer and wine sales in Michigan and creating the Liquor Control Commission.
Michigan was the first state in the union to ratify the 21st Amendment on April 10, 1933, which called for the repeal of Prohibition. This was finally accomplished when Utah ratified the 21st amendment on December 5, 1933.
“The Commission is unique in that it has the dual role of running a business as the state wholesaler of spirits and enforcing the Liquor Control Code,” said the MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi. “For 90 years, the success of Michigan’s liquor control system is because it’s been built around customers, choice, competition and control.”
Customers have more choice. Michigan ranks first among the 17 control states in having the largest selection of distilled spirits products available for consumers to choose from. More than 12,000 distilled spirits products are available (almost double from what the MLCC offered just eight years ago), along with more than 223,400 non-spirits product registrations (beer, wine, and mixed spirit drinks). Products from the world’s largest distillers to Michigan’s smallest distillers are all on the same store shelves.
Regulated competition among 19,500 liquor licensees (9,700 on-premises retailers, 9,800 off-premises retailers), 113 wholesalers and approximately 900 businesses in Michigan that have a manufacturer license, levels the playing field. These controls over alcoholic liquor in the State provides a system that lets big box retailers and mom-and-pop stores survive and offer employment, and supply customer choice in the community. The MLCC’s enforcement team partners with the State Attorney General to crack down on illegal alcohol shipping into the state from unlicensed, out-of-state retailers to further protect the livelihoods of Michigan retailers.
Michigan’s distilled spirits sales for FY22 were more than $1.910 billion (unaudited). Sales held steady after the record high gross sales in FY21 of $1.911 billion). For FY22, $626 million in revenue sharing was transferred to the State General Fund, School Aid Fund, and local units of government (comparable to $621 million transferred in FY21).
The regulation of liquor as a controlled substance prioritizes the MLCC’s longstanding mission of protecting consumer health and safety, especially through enforcement efforts focused on prohibiting the sale of alcohol to minors.
“We are proud of our continued partnership with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission in promoting Michigan’s time-proven, three-tier system that allows competition to flourish, giving consumers a wide range of choices and options,” said Spencer Nevins, Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association president. “I’d like to personally congratulate the MLCC on 90 years of leadership in supporting our industry while advocating for the health and safety of consumers and the general public.”
Public support remains high for state regulation of the alcohol industry. According to a 2023 national poll commissioned by the Center for Alcohol Policy, a robust 84% of consumers support state regulation of the alcohol industry.
Visit the MLCC’s new webpage 90th Anniversary to learn more about the MLCC’s history and the Prohibition Era, including a collection of 1933 news articles and much more. Visit the MLCC’s website at www.michigan.gov/lcc and click on the 90th anniversary logo.
The mission of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) is to make alcoholic beverages available for consumption while protecting the consumer and the general public through regulation of those involved in the sale and distribution of these alcohol beverage products.