Senate unanimously approves Bumstead legislation to grow Michigan beer industry

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Wednesday approved legislation introduced by state Sen. Jon Bumstead that would create a new license for a limited production of beer in a 37-0 vote.

“This is big news for La Colombe, Norton Shores and breweries across the state,” said Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “La Colombe picked a site in Norton Shores to house their operations in 2015 and have made great strides in the years since. They employ over 100 people, provide a high-demand service and are always looking at ways to grow their company and give back to the community.”

La Colombe, a coffee company with a manufacturing facility in Norton Shores, teamed up with Miller Coors to develop the “La Colombe Hard Cold Brew Coffee.” La Colombe purchased a bulk beer product from out of state and blended the beer with its coffee product in Norton Shores. The final product is then sold to Miller Coors for distribution.

It was later brought to the company’s attention by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) that the state does not expressly permit makers to transfer beer from one brewery to another brewery or further process beer that was initially made by another brewery — which then forced La Colombe into a gray area that could have meant legal troubles for the company.

The MLCC later granted La Colombe a one-time exception to complete the order they had already invested time and resources in. That exception is set to expire in April.

After several discussions with company leaders and MLCC representatives, Bumstead introduced Senate Bill 711, which would give companies like La Colombe the ability to receive a license that would allow beer to be imported and further manufactured in their facility. The legislation outlines additional guidelines for such collaborations.

“With the pending change in state law, La Colombe is already looking at ways to expand their operations in West Michigan over locations in other states. This means more jobs and more growth in the Norton Shores Community,” Bumstead said. “We need to keep Michigan moving forward and create an environment for businesses to call home. This legislation gets government out of the way and will benefit companies across the state.”

SB 711 now moves to the Michigan House of Representatives.

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