The top four wholesale liquor buyers in the area are not bars — they’re corner party stores and grocery stores.
According to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC), the top local wholesale liquor buyers are Merchants Gourmet & Wine Shop, Walmart, VG’s, and Locke’s Party Shoppe & Deli.
Collectively, they spent $2.7 million on wholesale liquor in 2018. The MLCC reports that Michigan businesses spent $1.45 billion on wholesale liquor purchases the same year, and 84 percent of these are retail stores. The rest are bars and restaurants.
Of the top 18 wholesale liquor buyers, eight are Meijer stores and eight are Costco stores.
The MLCC oversees the distribution system through which bars and retailers buy their liquor and monitors patterns. A recent report brought several interesting facts to light.
For example, in 2017, the MLCC reports that enough alcohol was sold in Michigan that every person (children included) could have eight drinks per week. This is 10.9 drinks per week for every adult over age 21.
This is lower than the recommended limit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests — seven drinks per week for women, and 14 for men.
Alcohol sales are inching down, according to the report.
Alcohol and crime
Argentine Township Police Chief Dan Allen said that alcohol is a “common denominator” with domestic assaults. He doesn’t see a trend up or down with alcohol-related crimes.
He added that alcohol sales pick up in the summer due to the activity on the lakes. One business, NorthShore Market, sells directly to boaters on the lake.
Allen said that so far in 2019 his department had 18 drunk-driving arrests, two drunk driving crashes, and 20 assaults with alcohol as an element.
Drinking and driving crash stats
According to Michigan TrafficFactsCrash.org, 99,091 collisions involved drinking between 2009 and 2018. Between 2004 and 2008, 63,942 crashes occurred where at least one party had been drinking.
Of all the collisions that occur each year, alcohol remains a strong factor. Consistently, alcohol-involved fatalities make up a third of all crash fatalities in Michigan. Alcohol-involved collisions hover around the 10,000 mark each year. In 2018, there were more than 312,000 crashes. While only 9,786 were alcohol related, 315 of the 974 fatalities involved alcohol.
Overall, crashes were up in 2018, 2017 and 2016 from the previous two years.