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Gary Kahle

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BYOB to Michigan starting today

by Gary Kahle » Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:18 am

Today was the first day that Michigan restaurants with a liquor license can allow customers to BYOB. Yes, our governor signed House Bill 5046 in December and it became effective today. Restaurants will have the option to not play and to charge a corkage fee. Now it will be fun to see how they react. One I spoke to today said they are planning on setting corkage at $30 or $35. That seems high to me but not having it until now I don’t know what’s fair or how it should be set. A couple others said they will charge $15 and $20. Two others said they still will not allow it. What works where you live?
Cheers, Gary
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Sam Platt

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Re: BYOB to Michigan starting today

by Sam Platt » Sat Mar 15, 2014 1:25 am

Road trip!
Sam

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matter compared to what lies within us" -Emerson
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Jenise

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Re: BYOB to Michigan starting today

by Jenise » Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:41 pm

Gary, it has been interesting to watch Vancouver BC adjust to the legalization of BYOB. An initial fear of revenue loss and confusion over what to charge or even deciding if they would allow it eventually gave way to each understanding what the traffic would bear for their particular venue and, in some cases, increased traffic because of it. Restaurant prices for wine were ridiculously high and actually discouraged anyone with a wine cellar and who didn't have movie star budgets from dining out as often as they would if they could enjoy both the food they wanted to eat and the wine they wanted to drink at an affordable price. You'll probably see the same there.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Carl Eppig

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Re: BYOB to Michigan starting today

by Carl Eppig » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:03 pm

I'd rather BYOB to restaurants with no liquor license. Many of the coastal sea food places in these parts allow it with no charge. If you have a tote with all the needed stemware and openers you don't even have to worry about setups. Although there are some that provide that for a small charge.
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Ted Richards

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Re: BYOB to Michigan starting today

by Ted Richards » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:36 pm

Jenise wrote:Gary, it has been interesting to watch Vancouver BC adjust to the legalization of BYOB. An initial fear of revenue loss and confusion over what to charge or even deciding if they would allow it eventually gave way to each understanding what the traffic would bear for their particular venue and, in some cases, increased traffic because of it. Restaurant prices for wine were ridiculously high and actually discouraged anyone with a wine cellar and who didn't have movie star budgets from dining out as often as they would if they could enjoy both the food they wanted to eat and the wine they wanted to drink at an affordable price. You'll probably see the same there.


Much the same has happened in Toronto (and probably other large cities in Ontario).The majority of restaurants I've been to recently allowed BYOB, although they often don't advertise it. Those that do advertise sometimes have low or no corkage early in the week to encourage business on off nights.

I was recently at a newly opened French-style bistro which didn't have an extensive wine list, but at the entrance they prominently displayed the empties of wines that customers had brought. Our '83 Nuits St George went into the mix (and it went beautifully with their boeuf bourguignon).
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Gary Kahle

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Re: BYOB to Michigan starting today

by Gary Kahle » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:20 pm

Jenise and Ted, Thanks for the good feedback with your experience with BYOB.
The restaurants here who I have talked to about it appear to all be fighting the new law in one way or another. Some with corkage of $35 and others that still will not permit it at all. In the past, a couple places here that did not have a liquor license did allow BYOB. I understand MLCB had no jurisdiction over those but a local ordinance was found (or passed) here in Traverse City that caused them to stop after someone complained. I do understand their point of view but I think the new law could be used to their advantage as you pointed out. Anyway, most of my future business will go to those who allow it with a reasonable corkage. If I owned a restaurant here now I would allow BYO with NO restrictions and would have (and advertise) a low corkage. I suspect there simply aren’t enough wine geeks in Michigan to care.
Cheers, Gary
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Gary Kahle

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Re: BYOB to Michigan starting today

by Gary Kahle » Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:12 pm

We went to one of our favorite restaurants (La Becasse) in NW Michigan for dinner last night and was pleased to see they not only are going to offer BYO but have printed their policy right on the menu. They are charging $30 which might seem high but they do have a nice list and I will probably only take a bottle on special occasions. We took advantage of a current program of ½ price on any bottle from their list, up to $100, on Thursdays. We drunk a 2006 Domaine de L’Edre Cotes du Roussillon Villages for $30 with his Cassoulet which paired nicely. I think the SRP on this wine is $40.
For what it’s worth, I plan to maintain a file of BYOB policies of restaurants in the Traverse City area and support those who do permit it.
Cheers, Gary
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Thomas G

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Re: BYOB to Michigan starting today

by Thomas G » Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:22 pm

$30 to $35 seems pretty expensive, lots of NYC restaurants have corkage priced in that range or higher. In Pittsburgh it's typically $15 to $20 and most licensed establishments allow corkage except some chains.
How high are wine list markups?
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Gary Kahle

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Re: BYOB to Michigan starting today

by Gary Kahle » Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:37 pm

Thomas G wrote:$30 to $35 seems pretty expensive, lots of NYC restaurants have corkage priced in that range or higher. In Pittsburgh it's typically $15 to $20 and most licensed establishments allow corkage except some chains.
How high are wine list markups?

They vary but 100% markup is probably close for most. The other thing that we deal with in MI is high wholesale prices thanks to a strong loby group.
Gary

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