Michigan allows alcohol at college sports games, makes cocktails-to-go permanent

Two bills signed this week change alcohol laws in Michigan, with one allowing for booze sales at college sports games and another solidifying pandemic-era cocktails to- go legislation.

The bill allowing for the sale of alcohol at college sporting events allows Michigan and Michigan State University to join the majority of other Big Ten schools that also allow this.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said allowing fans to drink at games can help curb binge-drinking before games, as they will now have access to alcohol during the event, not just ahead of time.

"Authorizing the legal sale of alcohol at sporting events will bring us on equal footing with other universities, help reduce the likelihood of binge-drinking before games, and bring in a heck of a lot more revenue that we can use to improve the student experience," she said.

Michigan Sen. Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo) noted that fans in suites can already buy alcohol at games, while other fans weren't allowed to.

"It is a basic issue of equality to patrons: why should VIPs get to enjoy the beverage of their choice and other attendees not? This levels the playing field," McCann said.

Additionally, businesses can continue to serve cocktails to go permanently. 

This legislation was first enacted as temporary relief during the Covid pandemic – restaurants relying on takeout orders were able to sell cocktails in sealed containers. This was set to expire in January 2026, but will now be allowed forever.

Sen. Mallory McMorrow introduced the temporary cocktails to-go legislation and said it helped businesses survive the pandemic.

"We’ve heard from so many restaurant owners that this additional revenue stream became a lifeline that kept them in business. Three years in, it’s proven to be a popular new way for customers to support their favorite restaurants, and has resulted in zero reported violations or safety issues," she said.