Hefty increase in beer tax proposed, criticized

By ANTHONY HARVEY
Capital News Service
LANSING – Critics say that a recent proposal to increase the tax on beer is unlikely to get much support from businesses. The bill comes as the craft beer industry is booming in Michigan. “I did not sign on to change horses in the midrace when I started my business,” said Matt Greff, owner and operator of Arbor Brewing Company in Ann Arbor. Greff said craft beer brewers and those trying to capture a piece of this market would be severely crippled by the tax. There is an existing tax climate when entrepreneurs start news businesses.

Bill reducing penalties for underage drinking one step closer to becoming reality

By CAITLIN DeLUCA
Capital News Service
LANSING — A bill to lessen penalties on minors caught with alcohol will get a hearing in the House Criminal Justice Committee next Tuesday. . The bill, which passed almost unanimously in the Senate this March, states that a Minor in Possession (MIP) charge would be reduced from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction on the first offense. Currently, people under 21 who are caught drinking are charged with a misdemeanor that can sometimes be expunged from their record if they complete probation. Probation includes random testing, substance abuse counseling, monthly reporting, a $100 fine, court and probation costs and costs for testing and treatment.

Craft beers reap profits for state

By AMELIA HAVANEC
Capital News Service
LANSING – Nineteen breweries in the Northwest corner of Michigan’s Mitten are in pursuit of the perfect pint, according to the Michigan Brewers Guild. They stretch from Mason to Emmet counties and are just a sampling of beer’s impact throughout the state. With 159 breweries, Michigan ranks sixth in the nation, according to the Brewers Association, an American trade group that promotes craft beer. And more Michigan beer aficionados are converting their home-brewing hobbies into careers. Dutch Girl Brewery in Ottawa County, a husband-and-wife run craft brewery, recently passed its 90-day anniversary.

State may encourage industry by easing limits on breweries

By ASHLEY WEIGEL
Capital News Service
LANSING — The explosion of craft beer in Michigan has the Legislature hoping the industry could benefit from relaxed regulation. Numerous bills related to the beer and wine industries were passed in the House recently, many of them designed to encourage the industry to expand. The legislation would raise the limit of barrels produced by a microbrewery from 30,000 to 60,000. As of now, a brewer that produces more than 30,000 barrels can no longer be considered a microbrewery. Microbrewers are given some tax breaks and have some flexibility in the rules of the industry, such as the ability to sell growlers, or containers that can be filled to go.

Planning for the Festival of the Sun and Moon begins

By Juliana Moxley
Old Town Lansing Times staff writer

OLD TOWN LANSING — If you want to be part of Old Town’s largest fundraising event then come out to the annual Festivals of the Moon and Sun this summer! There’s a lot that goes into putting on an excellent festival series, but the OTCA’s festival committee members are striving to further improve the fun alternative way to fundraise. The fundraising of the festivals benefits the OTCA’s programming throughout the year. The branding and promotion for events such as Chalk of the Town, Turner Street Outdoor Theater and Dickens Village are examples of what the Festival of the Sun and Moon benefit. A unique festival

The festival name was chosen because of the significant meaning that lies behind them: The festival dates revolve around the Summer Solstice.

Made in Michigan proposal could save breweries money

By ASHLEY WEIGEL
Capital News Service
LANSING — Let the Germans make our beer? Michigan legislators say “no thanks” with a proposal to support the state’s own talented brewers. Rep. Doug Geiss, D-Taylor, introduced a bill in the House recently, nicknamed the “Michigan farm to glass” bill, which could give Michigan brewers, winemakers and mead makers a tax credit for using crops grown or produced in the state. The goal is to usher in a closer association between the farmers who grow the ingredients and the brewers who use them, Geiss said, and to help encourage use of Michigan crops with the surge of beer, wine and mead makers. Other states have proven that promoting the use of their crops increases the use of local hops, mead, wheat and other alcohol-related crops, said Geiss, a home brewer and a member of the House Agricultural Committee.

Bad Brewing expands beyond craft beer

By Andrea Raby
Mason Times staff writer

They have been open for only seven months, but now Bad Brewing Company is expanding beyond craft beers into ciders and live entertainment. At the city council meeting on March 18, Brian Rasdale from Bad Brewing was approved for a new small wine maker license and entertainment permit. These permits would give him leave to make and sell alcoholic cider and have small concerts at the microbrewery. “The big thing is, we don’t serve liquor or wine,” Rasdale said. “We feel that if we can have a cider on tap or available we might bring in a clientele that we are not currently bringing in.”

Rasdale said he does not have any interest in making wine, but to make a cider legally, Bad Brewing must have a winemaker’s license.

Craft beer brews economic growth

By CELESTE BOTT
Capital News Service
LANSING – Want to boost Michigan’s job growth and economy? Treat yourself to a cold craft beer. Michigan’s craft beer industry grew by 20 percent in 2012, according to a “state of the industry” report from the Demeter Group Investment Bank of San Francisco. Michigan added 17 breweries last year, and outpaced the average national industry growth rate by 12 percent. New breweries opened in Big Rapids, Grand Rapids, Marquette and Lake Leelanau, for example.