Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Bill before Granholm may allow liquor price hike

24. November 2004 • Murph
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Governor Jennifer Granholm is considering House Bill 4458, which would allow retail liquor stores to raise prices above the standard set by the state Liquor Control Commission (LCC).

Currently, liquor prices are fixed across the state of Michigan—the LCC serves as a wholesaler, resells to retailers, and establishes a price for each brand and size that allows the retailer a 17% profit. (The LCC provides a searchable price database.) Therefore, while beer and wine prices may vary widely with location, liquor costs the same everywhere.

The Bill currently before Granholm would loosen up this restriction—but only on the top end. While the current legislative text (MCL 436.1229) specifies that retail liquor “shall be sold at a price fixed by the commission”, the new text would read “shall not be sold at less than the minimum retail selling price fixed by the commission”. Retailers would therefore be able to raise the price above the commission’s price, but not lower it; consumers would not, therefore, see any price reduction, as competition would only serve to limit increases in price, and not to decrease it.

See also:
> Detroit Free Press, 24 November: Liquor Prices: Changes would favor retailers over state and public (Editorial)
> Lansing State Journal, 17 November: Retailers could soon charge more for liquor
> Central Michigan Life, 17 November: Retailers up in the air about possible liquor prices bill