Michigan allows alcohol sales at college sporting events, makes ‘liquor-to-go’ policy permanent

Michigan gov signs legislation into law Tuesday

Michigan Stadium at University of Michigan. (Daryl Marshke, Michigan Photography)

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation into law on Tuesday that will allow alcohol to be sold at college sporting events, and make liquor-to-go permanent.

The first bill signed by Whitmer on July 18 now allows sporting venues at public universities to sell alcohol. Schools like the University of Michigan and Michigan State University will join 11 other Big Ten schools that can sell alcohol at sporting events.

Universities that sell alcohol at sporting events report that the number of alcohol-related incidents is lower now that sales are legal at their venues. Legislators believe the law may reduce binge drinking, theorizing that people would not drink in excess before games if they knew they had access to alcohol during games.

“Authorizing the legal sale of alcohol at [college] sporting events will bring us on equal footing with other universities, help reduce the likelihood of binge drinking before games, and bring in a heck of a lot more revenue that we can use to improve the student experience,” Gov. Whitmer said. “I am proud that we are getting this done and making fall evenings at the Spartan Stadium or the Big House safer and more fun.”

Whitmer also signed a bill into law Tuesday that makes the state’s “liquor-to-go” policy permanent. That policy was made during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to help small businesses continue making sales and stay open while following CDC guidelines.

Making the “liquor-to-go” policy permanent could generate more revenue for restaurants, according to the governor’s office.

“I introduced legislation in May 2020 to temporarily allow restaurants to serve ‘cocktails to go,’ as residents stepped up to order carry-out even if they couldn’t visit their favorite restaurant in person,” said state Senator Mallory McMorrow (D-Detroit). We’ve heard from so many restaurant owners that this additional revenue stream became a lifeline that kept them in business.”