Meeting under the shadow of the state capitol in Springfield, as lawmakers were wrapping up the legislative session, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission – Thursday – announced it has a draft citation to eventually send to distributor City Beverage.
Citations are generally issued when a business violates the Illinois Liquor Control Act.
While we await specific details as to what the citation is exactly for and what kind of penalties may apply, the move signals one more step towards finality in the seemingly never-ending debate over whether WEDCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, can retain a minority stake in City Beverage. The dispute centers on a bill, signed in to law last year, that more narrowly defines who can and who cannot self-distribute beer in Illinois and whether holding a stake in a distributor is akin to self-distribution.
Sources at the meeting tell us a hearing is scheduled for June 20th to set the timeline for future meetings on the matter.
The draft citation was not given to those at the meeting. Instead it was sent directly to City Beverage, who has distributors in Arlington Heights, Bloomington, Chicago and Markham.
We’re reaching out to the appropriate parties for comment and will update as warranted.
As promised, we reached out to Anheuser-Busch InBev to gather their thoughts on the draft citation. In an email response, General Counsel Gary Rutledge told us they have not received anything from the Commission. “We have not been notified by the ILCC of any decision regarding our minority interest in City Beverage,” said Rutledge.
There is no word yet on when the citation will be delivered to City Beverage.