New Law Allows for Self-Serve Beer and Wine in Michigan Restaurants and Bars

A law recently signed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer allows establishments with on-site liquor licenses the ability to offer self-dispensing services for beer, wine, and other mixed drinks.

According to the law, the establishments may now offer self-pour machines so customers can dispense their own drinks, within limits. Although bars and restaurants in many states are offering self-pour options to their customers, devices or systems that dispense alcohol directly to consumers were, before the new law, prohibited in Michigan.

What is a self-serve wall?

The growth in the craft beverage industry across the nation has led some bar owners in other states to find new and innovative ways to give their customers a unique experience. In particular, “beer walls” or “tap walls,” in which multiple taps on a counter, tabletop, or wall allow a customer to self-pour from a selection of beers, wine, or mixed spirit drinks are gaining in popularity.

Since the customer controls the pour, a person can sample multiple options before making a choice. Typically, a card embedded with a microchip is loaded with a customer’s payment information. The card also limits how much can be poured at one time as well as how many ounces can be poured in total. A sensor on the self-serve machine reads the information on the chip and enables the beer, wine, or mixed spirit drink to be dispensed.

What are the rules surrounding the self-serve machines?

The new law gives business owners with on-site liquor licenses the ability to install self-serve machines from kiosk-like devices to create beer or tap walls. Self-serve machines are not allowed at individual tables.

In addition, the law limits how much liquid can be dispensed through the machines to 96 ounces per order: 16 ounces per individual serving of beer, and 12 ounces of each serving of mixed drink or wine. Straight liquor is prohibited.

The business owner is also prohibited from selling, offering to sell, or advertising the sale of an unlimited quantity of beer, wine, or mixed spirit drink from the dispensing machine.

Owners (or their employees) are also responsible for monitoring the sale, service, and consumption of dispensed alcohol to ensure compliance with all codes and rules.

Help is available

The business attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to answer your questions regarding the new law. For more information, call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.

Categories: Business