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What to do with your out-of-date beer
MLBA Members and Industry Partners,
We have received many calls and emails regarding what should be done with your out of date beer.
We are working with MLCC and Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA) to get ahead of this issue. We know that when you re-open, you are going to need fresh beer and you will need to restock ahead of time — not the day you open. Under the current executive order, your wholesaler cannot pick up out-of-date beer or returnables right now, because it is considered non-essential. We are asking the Governor’s Office to allow wholesalers to pick up beer at minimum two weeks prior to you the re-opening of bars and restaurants. We want this to start right now. At the bottom of this email is information from MLCC regarding this topic.
In the information from MLCC, you will see that a wholesaler can pick up and provide a refund or credit for out-of-date beer. Several of the calls we received have stated that their wholesaler is telling the licensee that they have to drain their kegs. We cannot find a rule or statute that states a licensee must do this. In fact, we recommend not doing this. Doing so may lead to issues with your municipal water treatment facilities or DEQ. We have heard of places that dumped beer into the system and the city came out and warned against dumping and said fines could be imposed.
The other question we get is regarding out-of-date kegs that have been tapped and cases that have been opened . We cannot find anywhere in the rule or statute that requires a wholesaler to refund or credit you for opened/untapped products. Of course, being that on-premises licensees were the first to be shut down and likely the last to re-open, with essentially no income, we hope your wholesalers will work with you on this. As far as we know, most manufacturers (if not all) will be working with the wholesalers on this, so the wholesaler does not pay 100% of the refund/credit.
Please contact us with any questions for concerns.
MLBA Executive Director
What is the process for handling kegs of beer at retailer locations that have gone out of date during the Stay Home Stay Safe Executive Orders?
Upon the expiration of Executive Order 2020-42 or any subsequent Executive Order that extends EO 2020-42, Wholesaler licensees may pick-up out-of-date kegs of beer from retailers pursuant to MCL 436.1609c. The out-of-date kegs shall be returned to their respective brewery or Outstate Seller of Beer licensee. The costs of returning the kegs shall be handled in the same manner that was being utilized by each brewer or outstate seller of beer and their respective wholesaler prior to the issuance of EO 2020-21. The brewery or Outstate Seller of Beer licensee shall be responsible for decanting of the kegs. Wholesalers shall not participate in decanting of kegs as that would violate MCL 436.1609.
436.1609c Beer or wine; refund or replacement; reasons.
(1) A manufacturer that sells direct to a retailer as provided under section 203(19) or a wholesaler may refund to a retailer the amount the retailer paid for beer or wine, as applicable, or a manufacturer that sells direct to a retailer as provided under section 203(19) or a wholesaler may replace that beer or wine for any of the following reasons:
(a) The beer or wine is outdated.
(b) The beer or wine is defective.
(c) An error in the beer or wine delivered.
(d) The beer or wine may no longer be lawfully sold.
(e) The termination of the retailer’s business.
(f) The formula, proof, label, or container of the beer or wine is changed.
(g) The beer or wine is discontinued.
(h) The retailer is only open a portion of the year and the beer or wine is likely to spoil during the off-season.
(2) If beer is within 30 days of its out-of-date code, a manufacturer that sells direct to a retailer as provided under section 203(19) or a wholesaler may refund to a retailer the amount the retailer paid for the beer.
(3) A manufacturer that sells direct to a retailer as provided under section 203(19) or a wholesaler may only issue a refund or replacement under this section for beer or wine that the manufacturer or wholesaler sold to the retailer.