One of every three bottles of wine shipped to Michigan was done so illegally.

A modern-day bootlegging industry has many in Michigan unwittingly consuming illegal booze. According to a release from the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA), nearly one-third of every bottle of alcohol shipped into Michigan in 2019 was shipped illegally. The data compiled by MB&WWA shows in total, 2,233,880 bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan in 2019, and of those bottles, 734,365 were shipped illegally. Data collection for 2020 and 2021 has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic so the number may continue to grow.

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Using data compiled from reports from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and excise tax data from the state of Michigan, the MB&WWA found 484,101 bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan from October through December of 2019. Of those bottles, approximately 250,264 were shipped illegally.

Last year, Attorney General Dana Nessel sued two companies, Vintners Collective LLC and Go to Gifts Inc., for illegally shipping alcohol to consumers in Michigan. In February, judges in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan entered consent agreements with both companies. Neither will be able to ship alcohol into Michigan unless they become eligible to get a license and must prevent their websites from accepting orders from Michigan. Both companies will also have to pay $10,000 each in fines.

Every bottle of alcohol illegally shipped into our state hurts mom-and-pop retailers that are proud to call Michigan home, pay taxes and give back to their communities. We encourage Attorney General Nessel and state regulators to continue cracking down on out-of-state retailers — like Vintners Collective and Go to Gifts — that have been brazenly thumbing their nose at state law for years. ~Spencer Nevins, president of the MB&WWA

In 2018, the MB&WWA began compiling data on illegal wine shipments flowing into Michigan. Data from two quarters of that year showed more than 1 million bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan in just six months and at least 300,000 of those bottles were shipped illegally by out-of-state retailers.

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