Troubling Brewpub Rule is Heard by Illinois’ Liquor Control Commission

In Beer Politics by Ryan

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission wants the state’s beer distributors and brewers to work out a solution to a proposed brewpub rule change that could be detrimental to some Illinois brewers.

beerpolitics2The proposal, which was aired at a Commission hearing today in Chicago, would cap the amount of beer a brewpub could send to a distributor at 50-thousand gallons.

Current law states: “a brew pub licensee shall not sell for off-premises consumption more than 50,000 gallons per year.” The intention, according to Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois President Bob Myers, was to restrict the amount of beer a brewpub could sell to-go in the form of growlers, bombers, six-packs, etc. Not to restrict how much a brewpub could sell to a distributor.

Myers tells us the Commission has been seeing a handful of applications come in from out-of-state brewers who want to open a brewpub in Illinois (not Schlafly, unfortunately) and ILCC Chief General Counsel Rick Haymaker thought the General Assembly wanted to limit the amount of beer a brewpub could send to a distributor when it passed the original law in 1997.

Myers testified that wasn’t the case, as he was the one who negotiated the bill.

The Commission has given the ABDI and the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild til the August meeting to come up with an agreed solution to the brewpub rule. Myers says they may have to draft a bill to ultimately address the matter.

This, no doubt, speeds up Myers’ plans for a task force to address the needs of craft brewers in Illinois, which we first reported in a lengthy Q & A yesterday as part of our Makers series.

If legislation becomes the end game lawmakers wouldn’t be able to take it up til November, at the earliest. They adjourned their spring legislative session on May 30th and won’t return to Springfield until November 19th for the fall session.

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Equal parts beer nerd and policy geek, Ryan is now the curator of the Guys Drinking Beer cellar. The skills he once used to dig through the annals of state government as a political reporter are now put to use offering unique takes on barrel-aged stouts, years-old barleywines and 10 + year verticals.