Bars and Restaurants Challenge Michigan Law Banning Promotional Products, Part 2
The Michigan Liquor Control Code Act (MLCCA) of 1998 places a lot of restrictions on how liquor and beer companies can advertise, and in some ways is the most restrictive alcohol advertising legislation in the country. One of the regulations states that Michigan's bars and restaurants cannot use certains kinds of promotional products that feature alcohol company logos, a practice that is common in the other 49 states.
The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA), which represents the state's bars and restaurants, wants its members to have the same rights as pubs in other states to use promotional products. Scott Ellis, executive director of MBLA, said that the federal government's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau already has comprehensive laws regulating what promotional merchandise can be given to bars and restaurants, and his association is asking Michigan to replace the current flat ban with those policies.
In a conversation with Promo Marketing, Ellis said his association is taking baby steps. The state's laws prohibit manufacturers or wholesalers giving "aid and assistance," such as secondary use promotional products, to retailers. "We're not even asking for that," he said, referring to free items from manufacturers. "We're asking for the ability to purchase. We don't want it for free. We want to be able to use them, period."
It isn't just the bar industry that wants a more open policy. In a statewide poll conducted by the MLBA and the Michigan Restaurant Association, 75 percent of respondents said they would either strongly support or somewhat support a change in the law that would allow logoed barware at bars and restaurants.
"These items are allowed under federal statute, but they are prohibited from use in an establishment under Michigan's archaic liquor code and rules," Ellis explained.