Michigan officials say nearly 160,000 bottles of wine were shipped into the state illegally during a three-month span last year.
The Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association revealed 410,304 bottles of alcohol were shipped into the state between January 2020 and March 2020. Of those bottles more than one-third -- 159,152 -- were shipped illegally from unlicensed retailers.
“While illegal wine shipping remains a pervasive problem in Michigan, the numbers are beginning to go down thanks to efforts from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and Attorney General Dana Nessel to crack down on the bad actors who are thumbing their nose at Michigan law,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the MB&WWA. “We urge the MLCC and attorney general to not let up and continue to target illegal wine shippers who are flouting state laws and hurting small, mom-and-pop retailers in the process.”
Nessel has sued several out-of-state retailers that were caught shipping wine illegally into Michigan over the past two years, her office said.
“Every bottle of alcohol illegally shipped into our state hurts small, independent retailers that are proud to call Michigan home, pay taxes and give back to their communities,” Nevins said.
The MB&WWA began compiling data on illegal wine shipments flowing into Michigan in 2018. Data from two quarters of that year showed more than 1 million bottles of alcohol were shipped into Michigan in just six months and at least 300,000 of those bottles were shipped illegally by out-of-state retailers.
In 2019, more than 2.2 million bottles of alcohol were shipped into the state, and of those bottles, 734,365 were shipped illegally, according to this data.
Data collection for 2020 and 2021 has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.