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LaSata’s tasting room fix bill heads to governor

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation sponsored by Sen. Kim LaSata that would fix an unexpected interpretation of an existing tasting room law is on its way to the governor for signing after being enrolled by the state Senate on Tuesday.

“This bill ensures our state’s producers of wine, beer, and other spirits may sample and sell all of their offerings at the same location,” said LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township. “It’s a simple way to help support small businesses and create jobs at a time when our state is reopening from the pandemic.”

An interpretation of an existing law did not allow for beer, wine and spirits to be served at the same tasting room location without a physical barrier between them, leaving producers unable to operate their businesses as intended.

Senate Bill 49 would reform the law to allow wineries, breweries, and distilleries to operate both an on-premises tasting room and an off-premises tasting room at the same location, under certain conditions. The bill is a reintroduction of one from last session that, due to a technicality, did not take effect despite being signed into law.

LaSata said the 21st District is home to 28 small winemakers, 17 small distillers, and 23 micro-brewers.

“The wine and craft beverage industries are growing businesses in Southwest Michigan and across our state — contributing over $5 billion each year to our state economy and supporting tens of thousands of jobs,” LaSata said. “For over a year, small producers have faced a barrier preventing them from serving all of their Michigan made products at one location. This bill gets the job done, and I look forward to the governor signing it soon.”