Sparging The News: Brewer Bill Delayed; A-B, Distributors, Brewers Meet

In Beer Politics by Ryan

For more on this issue, check out our initial post on the bill.

A proposal that would impact breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs that was due to go before the an Illinois Senate committee this morning was not heard today.  Senate Bill 88 cleans up language in the Liquor Control Act regarding out of state breweries and brewpubs and their ability to self-distribute in Illinois.  The measure would also reinforce the current law that allows breweries like Two Brothers in Warrenville to own a distribution company and smaller brewpubs to self-distribute.

We posted on this earlier today, but essentially this is being done because Anheuser-Busch won a lawsuit in federal court against the Illinois Liquor Control Commission which refused to allow AB to self-distribute in Illinois.  AB said it was unfair to allow an in-state brewpub or brewery to do the same, and the judge agreed.

While there was no movement forward there was some behind-the-scenes action that took place today.  A second state senator, Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville) signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill.  Big Muddy Brewing Company in Murphysboro is in his district.  He joins State Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) in sponsoring the legislation.  Argus Brewery is in Trotter’s district.  The senate bill could be heard again in the senate exec committee as early as Tuesday, February 15th.

Meanwhile, a mirrored piece of legislation in the Illinois House has also been assigned to a committee.  The House Executive Committee, where high profile legislation is traditionally heard,  may take up the proposal next Wednesday, February 16th.

UPDATE (2/10)

A source close to the legislation tells GuysDrinkingBeer that a “productive”  meeting was held on Wednesday night between Trotter, Anheuser-Busch, beer distributors and craft brewers.  There is no word yet on how close the three sides are to being in agreement.  One thing to keep in mind is sometimes the legislation that is initially drafted is not the final product but rather a starting to point to get groups to the table and build off what is proposed.

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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.