Serve My Homebrew at Wedding in Michigan
I just got engaged and am starting to research if I can serve my homebrew at the wedding. I live in Michigan and am getting mixed reactions/information.
Has anyone here done this in Michigan? Did you use private property or a commercial venue? I will have 150-200 guests and am still looking for the venue so I could be flexible there. I would keg the beer and and have 4-5 selections. I have about a year to brew it and a 1 barrel system.
Any advice/information would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks a ton!
The short answer is it is illegal. These are the laws in Michigan regarding transporting homebrew and quantities.
I suppose you could have the reception on the premises that the beer was brewed at as long as you were the owner or lessee of that property.
I don't know if taking a chance that someone might sue you if they were involved in an accident is the way to start a marriage,
What you could do is find a venue that allows you to supply a commercial beer of your choice. Some places you have to buy the beer from the hall.
I'd caution to find a good craft beer that was a more normal alcohol level similar to a Bud, Miller. If you go too high in ABV people that are used to drinking 3-4 or 8-12 beers will get falling down drunk.
I am NOT a lawyer.
I would contact:
State Alcohol Beverage Control Agency
Michigan Liquor Control Commission
7150 Harris Drive
P.O. Box 30005
Lansing, MI 48909
and ask them directly. I can also tell you that you need to be concerned with "how much" because the magic answer is less than 20 gallons. ;)
I do homebrewer weddings, for a lot of HBT'ers in Metro Detroit (and as far as Traverse City,) I've done them both at commercial venues, and at private places, and they've all served homebrew/mead and wine, even at the commercial places. The commercial venues provided bar tenders, but the wedding couple provided/brought in ALL the alcohol including the liquor. Obviously if it's a venue like a reception hall, you have to contract that with the venue. But I've yet done a Homebrewer's wedding where there wasn't homebrew at it in Michigan.
I don't know if it's illegal TECHNICALLY or not...But I do know it's been done, EVEN at commercial wedding venues. At least 6 times that I know of.
If I understand the law, homebrew is supposed to be for 'personal use' and I think on the brewers residence.
You may gift up to 20 gallons a year.
You are allowed to share samples of your homebrew at club meetings held in licensed establishments with their permission.
20 gallons is 4 corny kegs. If you need more than that, you might be looking to get in trouble. However, you may also want to purchase some "regular" beer for those poor souls who know not what they are missing.
Or maybe brew up some soda too, for the kids and those who don't drink alcohol. It's not hard to do, but you will want to keep Root Beer out of any kegs you will want to use for beer later.
And I'd not advertise. If you are renting a place, you will HAVE to check with their agreements on using their vendors services. Many require that you go through them for drink sales. Otherwise, just keep it on the DL and make sure you can maintain control over the attendees.
I did this recently in West Michigan. The reception was held at a private college, and the bride and groom only needed the okay from the caterer. I don't know about the legality, but it was not an issue for anyone.
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