Despite concerns that people could be over-served at farmers markets,
the House Regulatory Reform committee voted 12-0 today to pass a bill that would
allow for wine tastings and sales at farmers markets.
Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, said the bill is "pro-Michigan, pro-business and pro-agri-tourism. I'm pretty confident this is going to be successful."
The bill would limit the tastings and sales to wine makers who produce 5,000 gallons of wine a year or less, which whittles the eligible vineyards to 60 of the states 100-plus winemakers. It also requires a $25-per-farmers-market permit fee for the vintner and the approval of both the market and the local police department.
State Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, said he was concerned that people could go from tasting to tasting at a farmers market and be overserved.
And Mike Tobias of the Michigan Alcohol Policy organization, said that alcohol was already readily accessible and that farmers markets were generally thought of as "safe places" for people going through recovery from alcohol addiction.
"We consider ourselves pro-business and pro-agriculture," he said. "But there seems to be a push to make more alcohol accessible and available. We don't see a need to expand to farmers markets.
The House committee also unanimously passed a bill that would allow bars and restaurants to refill "growlers," a one-gallon sealed container of beer to go.
Previously only establishments with a beer brewing license or a designated brew-pubs could refill growlers of the specialty beers they sell. Now, other restaurants and bars would be able to refill the growlers.
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