New law affecting Michigan liquor stores

NILES, Mich. – A new state law will mean changes for liquor stores across Michigan.  On November 1st, a law requiring beer kegs to be sold with tags identifying who rented them will go into effect.  Those renting kegs will have to sign a receipt matching the tag with their name, address, telephone number and a form of ID.  The law was passed in December; lawmakers claim it will reduce underage drinking.

"If somebody likes to party, if parents are buying kegs or uncle’s buying kegs or friends buyings keg they'll think twice," explained Dave Singh, who owns the Belle Plaza Party Store on US-31 in Niles.

Thinking twice may be a good idea, if police bust a party with underage drinking they’ll be able to trace kegs they find to whoever rented them.  Removing the tag isn’t a good option either, buyers will lose their deposit, could spend up to 93-days in jail and pay a fine of up to $500.  But, store owners like Singh, don’t think the law will do much to stop underage drinking.

"The party will still be there,” Singh explained.  “They may buy 30-packs or 24-packs so parents have to be ready for that."

Michigan is now the 31st state to pass a tag law; Indiana already has one in place.  Across the state some liquor store owners have complained that the law will negatively affect their business.  Kegs are big business for liquor stores.

"We rent like, if it’s a good day, home games, all that stuff…we rent about 15 to 20," Singh explained.

Singh is concerned that people may stop renting kegs if they have to give up their personal information.  But, he says the alternative would be buying the same amount of beer in cases which would bring more money to stores.  Still, kegs bring other sales.

"They buy more stuff with kegs, like buying the liquor bottles and stuff,” he explained.

The tags are available to store owners for free from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission’s website.

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