As revealed in Michigan Capitol Confidential last week, a state beer and wine distribution monopoly that successive Legislatures have protected for decades enriches a handful of families (the so-called “Millionaires Club”) at the expense of consumers, taxpayers and small business microbrewers, whose ability to create jobs is also hurt. Over the years legislators have played partner to the distributors, collecting a share of their monopoly profits through steady streams of campaign cash and other benefits.
So perhaps members of the state House shouldn’t be surprised if microbrewers don’t feel overly grateful for a meaningless piece of puff they passed this week on a voice vote, a resolution declaring July 2011 as “Craft Beer Month” in Michigan. Ironically, while failing to revoke a distribution monopoly that restricts the brewers' growth prospects, the resolution commends them for "providing jobs, improving the balance of trade, supporting Michigan agriculture, and educating residents about the history and culture of beer while promoting the responsible consumption."
This flat brew was sponsored by Rep. Peter MacGregor, and cosponsored by Reps. Vicki Barnett, Hugh Crawford, Brandon Dillon, Ray Franz, Kurt Heise, Kenneth Horn, Jeff Irwin, Marty Knollenberg, Richard LeBlanc, Lisa Lyons, Greg MacMaster, Aric Nesbitt, Al Pscholka, Roy Schmidt, Wayne Schmidt, Dian Slavens, Maureen Stapleton and Ken Yonker.