Overview of Michigan Alcohol Laws

Alcohol servers and sellers in Michigan must obey state laws that establish responsible serving practices. Learn more about important regulations for servers to remember, including laws against serving minors and intoxicated patrons.

What are the age requirements for employees who sell and serve alcohol?

Michigan law states the following:

  • A licensee shall not allow any person less than 18 years of age to sell or serve alcoholic liquor.
  • A licensee shall not allow any person less than 18 years of age to work or entertain on a paid or voluntary basis on the licensed premises unless the person is employed in compliance with the youth employment standards act, 1978 PA 90, MCL 409.101 to 409.124. This subsection does not apply to an entertainer under the direct supervision and control of his or her parent or legal guardian.

What are Michigan's intoxication laws?

The state of Michigan has established specific laws to prevent the sale and service of alcohol to people who are intoxicated. Upon completion of this course, you get a free downloadable quick-reference guide to Michigan's intoxication laws.

What should I do if a minor tries to purchase alcohol?

If you are not convinced that the buyer is 21 or over, do not make the sale. The police may prosecute a person for attempting to buy alcohol when under the legal age.

What are the penalties for selling or furnishing alcohol to a minor?

Under Michigan law, anyone who knowingly sells or furnishes alcohol to a minor is guilty of a misdemeanor. Anyone who fails to diligently inquire as to whether a person is a minor before selling or furnishing alcohol to a minor is also guilty of a misdemeanor.

Retail licensees or employees who violate this law may be ordered to pay a civil fine of up to $100. For a first violation, a person who is not a retail licensee or employee may face imprisonment for up to 60 days and/or have to pay a fine of up to $2,500. For subsequent violations, the imprisonment penalty may increase to 90 days with the addition of possible community service.

What alcohol products must be bagged when they are sold?

No Michigan laws or administrative rules require alcohol products to be bagged. Sellers started the practice to contain the glass shards if a bottle was dropped and broken. Check with your local police department regarding possible local ordinances that require alcohol to be bagged.

Can I allow my friends to remain on the premises after the legal hour if no alcohol is served?

No. According to R436.1403 Rule 3 (2) of the Administrative Rules, "Between the hours of 2:30 a.m. and noon on Sunday, or from 2:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. on any other day, an on-premise licensee shall not allow the licensed premises to be occupied by anyone except the on-premise licensee, the bona fide employees of the on premise licensee who are working, or bona fide contractors and employees thereof who are working."

There are certain circumstances where a licensee may be granted a specific purpose permit to remain open beyond the legal hour for specific reasons, such as the sale of food.

Can a licensee give away alcoholic beverages in conjunction with a promotion?

No. According to MCL 436.2025, Section 1025 (1) of the Michigan Liquor Control Code, "A vendor shall not give away any alcoholic liquor of any kind or description at any time in connection with his or her business, except manufacturers for consumption on the premises only."

Are patrons allowed to bring their own alcoholic beverages onto licensed premises?

According to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, "An on-premise licensee may, in a manner as determined by that licensee, allow for the consumption of wine that is produced by a wine maker, a small wine maker, or an out-of-state entity that is the substantial equivalent of wine maker or small wine maker and that is brought into the licensed premises in its original sealed container by a consumer who is not prohibited under this act from possessing wine."