Alcohol Promotional Ban Scrutinized In Michigan

Act Bans Use Of Logoed Items Where Alcohol Is Served

Alcohol Promotional BanMichigan's state ban of promotional products from alcohol companies is facing renewed resistance from bars, restaurants, wineries and other establishments. The Michigan Liquor Control Code Act of 1998 bans the use of logoed items, like napkins and glassware, where alcohol is served. In addition, signs and other similar items cannot feature the name of the establishment with an alcohol brand.

"It's a lost opportunity to promote from within itself," said Sarah Merrill, program merchandiser and marketing coordinator for Mercury Promotions & Fulfillment (asi/267770) in Sterling Heights, MI. "We have a lot of wineries up north; we have a lot of microbreweries. And not being able to use this type of merchandise to further an experience – something people can take home to have something to remember it by – I think it just hurts the state."

Last year, the Office of Regulatory Reinvention – a group consisting of business owners, state regulators and others – issued a report that called to remove the restrictions on such "secondary items." Under the current law, promotional items are only allowed with permission from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. According to the report issued, the Commission "historically does not give approval for" such items.

A poll conducted in April by the Marketing Resource Group found that 75% of state residents support a change to the restrictions. "It's a commonsense rule change that no one in the industry should oppose," said Scott Ellis, executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association. "These items are allowed under Federal statue, but they are prohibited from use in an establishment under Michigan's archaic liquor code and rules."