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New Law Allows Michigan Bars, Restaurants To Offer 'Self-Serve' Beer And Wine

(CBS DETROIT) -- A new bill signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this week will now allow Michigan businesses with on-site liquor licenses to add self-dispensing services for beer, wine and mixed drinks.

Senate Bill 656, also called Public Act 136 of 2022, was introduced by Sen. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) and allows for "beer walls" and "tap walls" to be installed in bars and restaurants.

"With the governor's signature of this measure, Michigan has now joined 45 other states that allow self-dispensing technology as an option for busy bars and restaurants — while also improving safety for consumers," Runestad said in a statement.

"This technology can help our local establishments improve their monitoring of the alcohol consumption of their customers and reduce the amount of touches of individual glasses."

The bill states that customers can activate the dispensing machines with a key card given by an employee of the establishment.

Customers will be able to control the pour and sample multiple options before making a choice, according to a House Fiscal Agency legislative analysis.

However, the bill also states that the machines cannot dispense more than 96 ounces in a single order -- 16 ounces of beer, and 12 ounces of wine and mixed drink for each serving. Additionally, the machine will not dispense more than 32 ounces of any alcohol before the card is reactivated by an employee.

Establishments are also not allowed to sell, offer to sell or advertise the sale of unlimited beer.

The bill opens a number of new possibilities for bars, including placing limits on alcohol sales, trying a drink before buying and getting around staff shortages.

"Michigan has one of the country's largest craft beer industries, and this reform will make a big difference in the technology available to business owners looking at new ways to better serve their customers," Runestad said.

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