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Michigan Liquor Control Commission Celebrates 90th Anniversary of Prohibition Repeal
December 05, 2023
Commends liquor licensees for industry growth
The Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) today celebrates the 90th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition and focuses on building strong partnerships as key to industry growth. On December 5, 1933, nationwide Prohibition (that prevented by law, the manufacture and sale of alcohol) officially ended.
“Today, we celebrate our partners, liquor licenses, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and stakeholders who greatly contribute to the success of Michigan’s beverage alcohol industry,” said MLCC Chair Kristin Beltzer. “We encourage the entrepreneurs who are interested in starting businesses in our industry. We are committed to providing them with the assistance they need to succeed.”
Michigan was the first state in the nation to ratify the 21st Amendment on April 10, 1933, starting the process of repealing national Prohibition.
Prior to the full repeal of Prohibition in December 1933, the federal government legalized the manufacturing and sale of low-alcohol beer and wine with an alcohol content of 3.2% or less in late March 1933. In response, Michigan’s governor signed Public Act 64 of 1933 on April 27, 1933, legalizing beer and wine sales in the state and creating the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. Nationwide Prohibition officially ended when Utah ratified the 21st amendment on December 5, 1933.
With the end of Prohibition, the MLCC, as the state’s wholesaler of distilled spirits, began its work of enforcing the State’s liquor laws to protect consumer and public health and safety; licensing manufacturers and sellers of liquor; prioritizing fair competition; and overseeing the State’s now almost $2 billion-dollar spirits business with significant revenue sharing going back to State coffers.
Regulated competition levels the playing field among the state’s 23,199 total retailer licensees (9,120 on-premises retailers and 14,079 off-premises retailers), 113 wholesalers and approximately 900 businesses in Michigan that have a manufacturer license. Products from the world’s largest distillers to Michigan’s smallest distillers are available on store shelves in small neighborhood stores alongside big box retailers.
Consumers 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 and maintains a #7 ranking in spirits sales among all states. Consumers can choose from 12,500 distilled spirits products, along with nearly 247,000 beer, wine, and mixed spirit drink products. In 1933, just 19 liquor brands were in the State’s Liquor Commission warehouse that quickly grew to 400, according to a December 29,1933 Detroit Free Press article.
The state regulation of liquor 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. 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 businesses to further protect the livelihoods of Michigan retailers.
With the end of national Prohibition, the federal government also permitted each state to collect tax revenue as part of their system for providing safe alcohol to consumers.
Over the decade of 2012-2021 alone, the MLCC transferred $4.5 billion in revenue to the State’s General Fund and School Aid Fund for appropriation by the Michigan Legislature to support a wide range of state programs that benefit all Michiganders.
Public support remains high for state regulation of the alcohol industry. According to a 2023 national poll commissioned by the Center for Alcohol Policy, 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.