LANSING – The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) is applauding Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) for their efforts to crack down on illegal alcohol shipments into Michigan.
Last year, Nessel sued two companies, Vintners Collective LLC and Go to Gifts Inc., for illegally shipping alcohol to consumers in Michigan.
This past week, judges in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan entered consent agreements with both companies. Neither will be able to ship alcohol into Michigan unless they become eligible to get a license, and they must prevent their websites from accepting orders from Michigan. Both companies will also have to pay $10,000 each in fines.
“The efforts by Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission send a strong message to other out-of-state retailers who are illegally shipping alcohol into our state: You will be caught, and you will be prosecuted,” said MB&WWA President Spencer Nevins. “We urge the attorney general’s office and MLCC to continue to pursue and punish these bad actors to the fullest extent of the law.”
In 2018, the MB&WWA began compiling reports to show how much alcohol was being shipped into Michigan, both legally and illegally.
Using information from the MLCC and excise tax data from the state of Michigan, the MB&WWA says it found that during two quarters of 2018, more than one million bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan in just six months – and at least 300,000 of those bottles were shipped illegally by out-of-state retailers.
During the first three quarters of 2019, more than 1.5 million bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan. According to the MB&WWA, it is estimated that 484,101 bottles of wine were illegally shipped into the state during the same period. Data collection for 2020 has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For years, out of state retailers have been thumbing their nose at state laws and brazenly shipping alcohol into Michigan, but those days are over,” Nevins says.