(Editor’s Note: We initially posted this on August 5th with the expectation that the Illinois Liquor Control Commission would take up the issue today. They are not. So we have briefly updated this post to reflect the minimal progress on this issue over the last two weeks. Updates are in bold.)
The Illinois Liquor Control Commission will not take up a controversial rule capping the amount of beer a brewpub can send to a distributor at this week’s hearing, as originally planned.
Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois President Bob Myers tells Guys Drinking Beer the Commission has agreed to shelve the issue for a few more weeks to allow the ABDI and the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild to sit down and hash out a compromise.
Myers expects to meet with ICBG Executive Director Justin Maynard soon. Myers and ICBG Executive Director Justin Maynard met earlier this month and, while no compromise was reached, the two did come to a better understanding of where each stands on the issue.
The proposed rule change 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 Myers — is 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.
Illinois Liquor Control Commission Chief General Counsel Rick Haymaker, however, re-interpreted the law and thought the General Assembly wanted to limit the amount of beer a brewpub could send to a distributor when it passed the law in 1997.
Both the ABDI and ICBG are opposed to the rule change. Myers, who negotiated the original bill, told Guys Drinking Beer the new rule is “Bullshit.”
The Commission’s next meeting is September 17th in Rockford.
Meanwhile, a craft beer task force Myers put together to help the ABDI better-address the needs of craft brewers in the state has been quietly meeting over the summer. Myers wouldn’t say what they’ve been talking about or who is on the task force but did say they are making progress. “Nothing has been resolved yet but I am very encouraged by the amount of input we have received from all members of the Task Force,” said Myers. “It has been, without question, the most candid discussion we have ever had on this issue.”
The task force, according to Myers, is made up of representatives from three Anheuser-Busch distributors, three MillerCoors distributors, four other distributors and the ABDI’s Executive Committee.