Legislation expected to be signed by Gov. Rick Snyder would have a positive impact on a growing industry in Delta County and the U.P. as a whole. Wineries and wine sales have blossomed in the area during recent years. The same holds true with microbreweries and the sale of hand-crafted beers.
The state Senate sent a bill to Snyder Wednesday that would permit small winemakers to offer tastings and sell their wine at farmers markets. Winemakers would be required to pay $25 for a permit to take part.
Another measure would let regular bars and restaurants fill growlers of craft beer for patrons to consume elsewhere. Current law only allows brewpubs and microbreweries to refill growlers for off-site consumption.
Both measures would be positive moves for local business and Snyder should waste no time signing them into law. Locally, Northern Sun Winery in the Bark River area, Three Fold Vine Winery in Garden Corners, Mackinaw Trail Winery in Manistique, and Leigh's Garden Winery in Escanaba all market wines. They are part of a growing business in the area.
Another area of growth are farmers markets. Escanaba has had an established farmers market for many years now. Manistique has also added a farmers market in recent years. Both are very successful, popular and usually draw sizable crowds on days they are open. All types of produce and locally made products are available at both farmers markets. Allowing local wineries to sell their product at a busy farmers market is a perfect match. It would give these entrepreneurs one more avenue to showcase and sell their products.
Likewise, the change in regulations for the sale of craft beers would also give brewers another venue where they could sell their product.
This legislation is getting support from a many lawmakers - and for good reason. It makes sense.
Let's hope these bills are signed by Snyder and put into action before the end of the summer.