Michigan officials say the half-a-million bottles of alcohol being illegally shipped here is costing the state much-needed tax revenue.
One in four bottles of alcohol shipped into Michigan during the 4th quarter of 2018 was shipped illegally according to data compiled by the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association (MB&WWA).
During the 4th quarter of 2018, which covers October through December, 528,310 bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan.
Of those bottles, 185,408 of them were spirits or illegally shipped wine.
It’s estimated that 60 percent to 70 percent of the alcohol purchased online is wine, which means nearly 130,000 bottles of wine were illegally shipped into Michigan over the three-month stretch.
“Wine illegally shipped into Michigan by out-of-state retailers robs our state of much-needed tax revenue at a time when Michigan needs every penny it can get,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. “Illegal wine shipments also take money away from mom-and-pop retailers who invest in their communities and are proud to call Michigan home.”
In the 2nd quarter of 2018, spanning April through June, 496,376 bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan. Of those, 245,289 were bottles of wine shipped by licensed direct shippers, with the remaining 251,087 bottles consisting of spirits and illegally shipped wine. It’s estimated that more than 150,000 bottles of wine were illegally shipped into the state during this time period. Third-quarter data is unavailable due to insufficient reporting.
“I find it deeply troubling that out-of-state retailers continue to skirt state law by shipping at least 300,000 bottles of wine illegally into the state during 2018. More troubling is the fact that number is likely much higher because it excludes data from the 1st and 3rd quarters of 2018,” Nevins said. “We urge the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to continue tracking these bad actors and for the state to crack down on out-of-state retailers who illegally ship wine into our state.”
The data were compiled using reports from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and excise tax data from the state of Michigan.