Hansen introduces legislation to allow more representation for brewers, distillers.

December 15, 2015
Sen. Hansen

Sen. Hansen

LANSING — Sen. Goeff Hansen introduced a bill on Tuesday that would change the makeup of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council so that it more accurately reflects the industry. Hansen, a Republican from Hart, represents Michigan’s 34th Senate district, which includes Oceana County.

Senate Bill 671 would change the name of the council to the “Grape, Wine, Brewing and Distilling Industries Council,” and the membership on the council would be expanded from 12 to 16.

“Microbreweries, small distillers, and brewpubs currently help fund the Grape and Wine Industry Council through liquor license and renewal fees — yet they are not allowed a seat at the table or support from the council,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “This measure will ensure that everyone who funds the council will be represented.”

Under SB 671, membership terms would continue to be three years and the terms would be staggered. New members would include a brewer, a hops or barley grower, a distiller, and a food retailer who sells Michigan beer or a restaurant operator who serves Michigan beer or spirits.

“This measure would ensure that brewers, distillers, and hops and barley growers are eligible for industry support similar to what is now provided for the grape and wine industry — such as research, promotion, and financial aid to growers,” Hansen said. “This will be a boon to the entire industry and to Michigan agriculture in general.”

Hansen has previously served as chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. He also has been a strong proponent of agri-business and Michigan’s wine industry, having led the way for small winemakers to sell their wines and provide tastings at farmers markets.

SB 671 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture.

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