LANSING — State Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-Muskegon) is pleased that her bill allowing beer tastings and the retail sale of growlers from qualified microbrewers at farmers markets cleared the House Regulatory Reform Committee this week with a nearly unanimous vote. Rep. Hovey-Wright proposed the bill to support Michigan’s microbreweries and to give Michigan agri-tourists another reason to visit the state’s many farmers markets.

“With the opening of two new breweries in downtown Muskegon and the opening of the new downtown Muskegon Farmers Market, this is a great opportunity for both brewers and farmers markets to grow by promoting Michigan microbrews to a wider audience,” Hovey-Wright said. “When passed, this bill will help create jobs in our local economy. I look forward to a successful bipartisan vote on the House floor soon so we can keep this legislation moving forward.”

Hovey-Wright’s bill is part of a two-bill package. HB 5426 (Hovey-Wright) and HB 5427, offered by Rep. Andy Schor (D-Lansing), would allow small microbrewers who produce less than 6,000 barrels per year to provide up to three 3-ounce servings of beer to farmers market customers during a 24-hour period. This legislation mimics a bill passed last year that allows wine tastings and sales at farmers markets across the state. It also allows the sale of two growlers per person per day. Like last years’ wine tasting bill, this legislation requires a $25 per farmers market permit fee to be paid by the microbrewer and the approval of both the market and the local police department.

“I especially would like to thank Michael Brower at Pigeon Hill Brewery for the suggestion for this bill and his work with my office to draft this idea into legislation,” Hovey-Wright said. “This proposal will allow local brewers to provide their product at a farmers market to both new and loyal customers, and create an immediate economic benefit for our state.”