2014 Illinois Legislative Roundup

Lawmakers, on Thursday, adjourned for spring break and won’t return to the statehouse until April 29th. Here’s a look at where bills pertaining to the beverage industry stand heading into to the final month of the spring legislative session.


Note: We’ll update this post as the bills listed below advance or others are introduced or amended. Updates will be in bold.

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Inside the Brew: Yeast 101 With Omega Yeast Labs

We here at Guys Drinking Beer love to trumpet our local breweries; particularly those operating on small scales. But what about the people behind the beer? Or perhaps, more accurately, the people behind the ingredients in the beer?

Lance Shaner is one of those people. He runs Omega Yeast Labs, where we imagine he runs around in a long, white lab coat with a beaker in one hand and a craft beer in the other. We talked with Lance about how he got his start, why fresh yeast matters and Omega Yeast’s big breakthrough creating hybrid yeast strains.

Omega Continue reading

Founders Brewing is Making a Change: Glunz is Out and Lakeshore is in

New Lakeshore Beverage CEO J.R. Hand has wasted little time beefing up the craft beer portfolio of the newly merged City Beverage and River North Beer. Multiple sources have confirmed that Founders Brewing is leaving its current wholesaler, Louis Glunz Beer Inc, for Lakeshore.

photo courtesy @chicagobars

photo courtesy @chicagobars

The move will be effective once Glunz depletes its inventory of Founders beer, according to a source.

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Getting Social With Guys Drinking Beer

Hey there. It’s time we come clean on something. We’ve been using our Facebook page to talk at you and not with you — and we’re sorry for that.

Don’t get me wrong, we definitely appreciate the likes and shares of the content we’ve posted over the years but we realize our page can be used for much more than that. So from this point forward — actually from about three weeks ago, forward — we vow to make our page more of a community; a place to talk about beer, craft or otherwise, in Chicago and beyond.

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Brewers and Drinkers Gather This Weekend for First Ever “Illinois Suburban Brewers Summit”

Ale to the Burbs, a group of suburban beer bloggers and Nevin’s Brewing Company are teaming up to put on the 1st annual “Illinois Suburban Brewers Summit.” The event is this Saturday, March 8th, at Nevin’s Brewing Company (12337 South Route 59, Plainfield) and — yes — there will be beer.

The idea is to get suburban brewers, who are fairly spread out, together to talk about the industry, the Chicago-area market and future collaborations. We reached out to the beer writers behind Ale to the Burbs to find out more about the event, why city beer drinkers should care what suburban brewers are doing and what’s going to be pouring at the event (spoiler alert: Nevin’s tap list looks ridiculous). Below are answers conjured up by Jeremy Teel of SubBeerBia, Kevin Bastian of Pour Man Beer, and Eric Woodruff of Blah Blah Beer.

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Review: Widmer Brothers Upheaval IPA

Widmer Brothers says:

Brewed with 6 different hop varieties and 3 different grains, including wheat, Upheaval will be a fitting tribute, not only to the bold Northwest-style IPA, but to Kurt and Rob Widmer’s unapologetic attitude in legacy of innovation.


That’s not dust on the bottle, it’s hop remnants — no joke.

Widmer Brothers Upheaval
American IPA, 7% ABV

*This beer was provided by the brewer for the purpose of a review.

On occasion, breweries will send us beer to review. Most of the time that beer arrives in a box, shipped from afar, or dropped off by a distributor. Although there was that one time I got a backpack full of stuff — and two beers. Typically in said box is a beer or two or three and some promotional material; a press release or a flyer or a sticker or two or three. Widmer Brothers did something different for this release: they blanketed the beer and accompanying glassware in hop leaves.

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Schlafly CEO Dan Kopman on the “Schlafly Tap Room – Chicago”

A few months ago we broke the news that Schlafly CEO Dan Kopman was visiting Chicago to tour potential sites in the North Center neighborhood for a proposed tap room in Chicago. Kopman talked openly about expanding to Chicago in December of 2012 but this was the first we heard of boots on the ground in the city to look at locations.

schlaflyWe followed up with Kopman via email to see how his visits to the city have been going, if he’s close to pinning down a location for the tap room and why Schlafly is available everywhere else in Illinois except Chicago. Continue reading

Hey There SweetWater Brewing, Whatcha Doing?

We stumbled across something really, really interesting the other day while combing through the weekly rundown of new and renewed liquor licenses put out by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission because nerds: a Non-Resident Dealer’s License issued to SweetWater Brewing out of Atlanta, Georgia.sweetwater

SweetWater is the largest craft brewer in Georgia and ranks 24th and 33rd respectively on the Brewers Association’s list of the Top 50 Craft Breweries and Top 50 Breweries of 2012, based on sales. Last year they churned out nearly 150-thousand barrels of beer, a 32-percent increase from the previous year, on the heels of a 19-million dollar expansion.

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Under Review: The Hand Family Purchase of City Beverage

Members of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission are set to review the proposed buyout of distributor City Beverage by a Tennessee Family at the commission’s monthly meeting in Chicago this afternoon.

If you recall, Anheuser-Busch announced on October 31st that they were selling their 30-percent stake in the four wholesalers that make up City Beverage (Arlington Heights, Chicago, Markham and downstate Bloomington) to the Hand Family. Also announced, on the same day, the investment firm that owns the remaining 70-percent interest in City Beverage would be buying River North Sales and Service.

The plan: roll the two into one creating the largest Bud distributor in Illinois.

Moving forward, the mega distributor will be known as Lakeshore Beverage.

photo courtesy @chicagobars

photo courtesy @chicagobars

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