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      Lawmakers looking to revamp Michigan TMs alcohol laws

      Lawmakers want to make it easier for wineries and breweries to do business in Michigan.

      State Sen. Howard Walker, R-Traverse City, introduced Senate Bill 0216 in February.

      The bill would replace the current microbrewer and brewpub licenses with a single small brewer TMs license.

      The Small Brewers license would include a 30,000 barrel/year threshold. Small brewers could sell their own product on the licensed premises (for on/off-premise consumption); they could also sell directly to retail licensees.

      The bill would also create a Famers Market Permit, which would allow winemakers to conduct tastings and sales of their wine at a farmer TMs market.

      Senator Walker tells 7&4 News the main objective is to allow businesses to have better access to the marketplace.

      There are some real barriers to entering the industry. When you are a small business, you need to be able to access the market and right now we have a system that requires going through a wholesaler, Walker said. The Market is restaurants, retail stores or larges stores. But it should be up to the providers to decide which markets they want to get in.

      Opponents of the bill worry that the changes would make alcohol more accessible to minors.

      The bill would also increase fines for sales of alcohol to a minor during a sting operation to $200 for the first offense, and up to $400 for a second offense.