There are two interesting bits of information on the Illinois Liquor Control Commission’s mildly ambiguous meeting agenda for next week.
The first is that the Commission will continue its closed-door, executive session from October 2nd – which was spent discussing the ownership fate of Illinois distributor City Beverage.
The second is a footnote, nestled at the bottom of the agenda.
NOTE: 12-CCH-01 (WEDCO/CityBev) will be dealt with during the Citations Docket, at approximately 1:30 PM.
A resolution is finally in sight.
The Commission punted on October 11th and didn’t address the case. In an email exchange with a Commission spokesperson the next day, we were told commissioners had not set a deadline to announce a decision. That left a haze over the years long debate over whether Anhueser-Busch, through a wholly owned subsidiary, can hold a minority interest in an Illinois distributor.
The aforementioned wholesaler, City Beverage, has four locations in Illinois. Three of those are in the Chicago area and one is in downstate Bloomington.
The wholly owned subsidiary – Wholesaler Equity Development Corporation, or WEDCO – has held a 30-percent interest in City Beverage since 2005.
But a law passed last year called into question whether a brewer can own a distributor. Legal counsel for the Liquor Control Commission says it’s prohibited while AB argues it’s perfectly legal.
Commissioners can vote to either follow through with the citation delivered over the summer, which calls on WEDCO to divest its interest in City Beverage, or they can leave the ownership status quo.
The Commission meets on Wednesday, October 31st in Chicago.