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Michigan restaurants get a liquor advance

The state has repurchased alcohol inventories but is allowing licensed establishments to sell the supplies and pay for them later.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Michigan has bought back the liquor inventories of 687 bars and restaurants for $3.3 million, boosting the establishments’ cash while extricating them from the Catch-22 of not having inventories to sell because they lack enough business to afford supplies.

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) repurchased liquor inventories that the controlled state had sold to the participating places prior to March 16, but did not actually take possession of the spirits. The establishments can now sell the liquor and use the proceeds to pay wholesale prices for the booze they’ve just retailed on credit.

The places will have 90 days after the state’s emergency social-distancing measures are lifted to pay for the liquor, without interest. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has indicated that she’s in no rush to permit the reopening of restaurant dining rooms.

Places licensed to sell liquor were invited to sign up for the buyback program from April 14-24. The checks have already been issued, according to the governor’s office.

“We’re extremely pleased to provide these neighborhood bars and restaurants across Michigan a financial lifeline they can count on in these uncertain times,” MLCC Commissioner Pat Gagliardi said in a statement.

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