Liquor buy-back program may help Plymouth’s 26 licensees

Apr. 14, 2020  PLYMOUTH VOICE.

Plymouth Michigan News


Don Howard

Staff Writer

Late Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order to grant financial assistance to struggling Michigan bar and restaurant owners suffering losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The order to provide communities with needed sustenance during the COVID-19 crisis may help many Plymouth business people.

The Governor’s order targets the states 8,500 licensees; those holding on-premises liquor licenses with an unexpected surplus of inventory of alcohol. Class C, B-Hotel, G-1 Club, Continuing Care Retirement Center, Aircraft, Watercraft and Train license are the approved Michigan Liquor License Control Commission (MLCC) types named in the Governor’s order No. 2020-46.

The program, which offers a cash buy-back, applies to “spirits,” which under Michigan’s liquor law is defined as distilled alcohol mixed with water or other substances with an alcohol content of more than 21 percent. Alcoholic “spirits” refers to vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, mescal and brandy.

At a public hearing held last month, members of the Plymouth Liquor License Review Committee and the City Commission OK’d all 26 license extension requests for the active alcohol license holders that serve liquor by the glass and hold MLCC licensees. In addition the administrators approved nine package liquor dealers and one distiller, all operating within the city limits.

It is not known how many of the city’s restaurant and bar owners that sell alcohol by the glass have excess inventory of liquor, and will take advantage of the buy-back offer. Some businesses have offered wine by the bottle for carryout customers during the shutdown period.


Governor’s order could upend Plymout’s bar business

The order tasks the MLCC to use its revolving fund to buy-back spirits that remain in inventory from the business establishments that were purchased before March 16, 2020.  The order stipulates approved licensees will have 90-days after the states emergency and disaster declarations are lifted to re-purchase the spirits from the MLCC. The buy-back of spirits will be at full purchase price, according to the governor’s office.

“Michigan’s 8,500 on-premises liquor licensees continue to make unprecedented sacrifices to help slow the spread of COVID-19 across our state. This buy-back program will help our bars and restaurants critical to Michigan’s economy weather the storm through this challenging time in our history.” Whitmer said.

Licensees have until 5 p.m. Friday to request to participate using a form on the commission’s website.

The buy-back program is similar to one rolled out in Ohio in March.


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