Meijer Inc. led Kent County in liquor purchases in 2009, according to online statistics from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.
Nine Kent County stores belonging to the Walker-based retailer collectively purchased $9.2 million worth of liquor in 2009 through the LCC. Those stores comprised nine of the top 10 purchasers of spirits in Kent County last year. Forest Hills Foods ranked eighth, with $899,203.
Within the Grand Rapids city limits, the leader was the Knapp’s Corner Meijer store on East Beltline Avenue NE at $1.25 million. Second was My Food Market, 1242 Fuller Ave. NE, at $645,817.
Altogether, Meijer’s 12 Kent County stores spent $10.75 million with the LCC in 2009.
Meijer spokesman Frank Guglielmi declined to comment.
The database covers every type of active liquor license in Kent County. It focuses on spirits only, and does not include beer or wine.
Kent County establishments hold 759 of the approximately 17,200 businesses and organizations that hold about 27,000 licenses across the state. The LCC issues 27 different types of licenses. They cover a variety of scenarios for retail sales and serving of alcoholic beverages, including liquor, beer and wine.
Michigan is one of 18 control states, plus one county in Maryland, which use a state-run system for distributing liquor. Since the end of the 13 years of Prohibition in 1933, the five-member Michigan LCC has controlled wholesale distribution and set prices. Beer, wine and mixed spirit drinks are sold through territorial franchise agreements between suppliers and wholesalers.
In 1997, the LCC divested its warehouses and distribution networks. It has named three private companies as authorized distribution agents: General Wine and Liquor, National Wine and Spirits and Chinese Import & Export.
Using a formula that includes a 65 percent mark-up, plus per-case fees, taxes and discount rates, the LCC sets a minimum price for liquor, explained Steve Robinson, director of finance. The items can sell for more, but they must not sell for less.
The LCC is also charged with collecting excise and specific taxes on beer, wine, distilled spirits and mixed spirits beverages.
Robinson said fiscal 2009 figures have not yet been released. Alcohol revenue is one of Michigan’s top five income sources, according to a 2008 LCC report.
The LCC’s annual report for 2008 placed net revenue at $333.4 million.
According to StateWays, a trade publication covering the industry in control states, Michigan gross liquor sales rose slightly from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2009: from $925.5 million in 2008 to an estimated $930 million in 2009. Still, in 2009, Michigan sold enough to rank second among the control states. Pennsylvania was first, with $1.86 billion in sales.
Most net revenue goes into the state’s General Fund, Robinson said. Some of those funds are earmarked by law, and proceeds from fees, fines and taxes are divvied up in a variety of ways.
Part of the LCC’s net revenue goes to the Liquor Purchase Revolving Fund; licensing and enforcement efforts; alcohol abuse prevention and rehabilitation programs; the Grape and Wine Industry Council, part of the Department of Agriculture; and convention and tourism activities.
A share of the money from annual license renewal fees is distributed to local governments with law enforcement agencies. Last year, that amounted to $6.3 million across the entire state, Robinson said.
2009 Top 10 in Liquor Control Commission Purchases, Kent County
Meijer Inc. 5531 28th St. SE Cascade Twp. $1,427,024
Meijer Inc. 1997 East Beltline Ave. NE Grand Rapids $1,258,113
Meijer Inc. 2425 Alpine Ave. NW Walker $1,135,662
Meijer Inc. 315 Wilson Ave. NW Walker $980,563
Meijer Inc. 3757 Plainfield Ave. NE Plainfield Twp. $945,651
Meijer Inc. 5500 Clyde Park Ave. SW Wyoming $945,098
Meijer Inc. 1801 Marketplace SE Gaines Twp. $909,199
Forest Hills Foods Inc. 4668 Cascade Road SE Grand Rapids Twp. $899,203
Meijer Inc. 3434 Century Center SW Grandville $839,375
Meijer Inc. 2799 10 Mile Road NE Algoma Twp. $766,709
2009 Top 10 in Liquor Control Commission Purchases, City of Grand Rapids
Meijer Inc. 1997 East Beltline Ave. NE $1,258,113
Panna LLC dba My Food Market 1242 Fuller Ave. NE $645,817
Meijer Inc. 1540 28th St. SE $562,413
20 Monroe Building Co. dba The BOB 20 Monroe Ave. NW $535,667
Smitty’s Inc. dba Smitty’s Specialty Beverage 1489 Lake Drive SE $504,492
Martha’s Vineyard Ltd. 200-208 Union St. NE $483,897
Hall Street Inc. 110 Hall St. SW $444,558
Miss Tracy Inc. dba Miss Tracy Party Store 1043 Franklin St. SE $439,482
Grand C&R LLC dba Family Pantry 704 Stocking Ave. NW $412,658
B. Singh Business Acquisition LLC dba Franklin Big Save 747 S. Division Ave. $385,026
Source: Michigan Liquor Control Commission