2014 Illinois Legislative Roundup

Lawmakers, on Thursday, adjourned for spring break and won’t return to the statehouse until April 29th. Here’s a look at where bills pertaining to the beverage industry stand heading into to the final month of the spring legislative session.

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Note: We’ll update this post as the bills listed below advance or others are introduced or amended. Updates will be in bold.

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An Exit Interview With ABDI President Bill Olson: Part 2

We pick up right where we left off in Part 1 of our exclusive sit-down with outgoing ABDI President Bill Olson.

In this installment, Olson claims he was mislead about Revolution Brewing’s plans for its production brewery and brewpub during the SB 754 talks, he also offers some insight into the HB 2606 negations, which forced Anheuser-Busch to sell its ownership interest in Illinois distributor City Beverage and the possibility of a “craft beer bubble,” in Illinois.

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An Exit Interview with ABDI President Bill Olson: Part 1

Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois President Bill Olson is stepping down at the end of the year ending a nearly 30-year run at one of the most powerful lobbies in the state. The man has seen a lot and done a lot and has been at the forefront of some of the most important pieces of legislation impacting the craft brewing industry in Illinois. And we wanted to hear all about it.

So, at the end of the first week of the legislature’s fall session I was granted unfettered access to Olson to talk about his time at the ABDI, the changes he’s seen in the distribution industry and Illinois politics and what really went on behind closed doors when those key bills were negotiated.

In an over hour-long conversation Olson talked quite candidly about the negotiations on SB 754 (self-distribution) and HB 2606 (prohibiting a brewer from owning a distributor). In the first of this two-part, Guys Drinking Beer exclusive, Olson looks back at his time under the statehouse dome, the changes he’s seen in Illinois politics and the distribution industry as well as a sneak-peek into the early negotiations into SB 754. We know this is going to come off a bit wonky and it’s not all about beer — but this does play into the bigger of picture of how beer legislation works in Illinois.

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IL Governor Signs Craft Brewer Production Cap Bill in to Law

A bill doubling the production cap for craft brewers in Illinois was signed in to law by Governor Pat Quinn on Friday, rather unceremoniously, despite our best efforts to have him sign it while sipping on a Rolling Meadows beer.

The new law increases the production cap to qualify for a Craft Brewers license, and the self-distribution rights that come with it, from 15,000 barrels a year to 30,000 barrels a year. Brewers can still only self-distribute up to 7,500 barrels a year.

The legislation was a byproduct of negotiations between the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago).

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The Legal Battle Over IL Distributor City Beverage Finally Comes To A Close

With a few flicks of a pen today, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed HB 2606 into law effectively ending Anheuser-Busch’s minority ownership — and majority control — over distributor City Beverage.

The legislation, approved overwhelmingly by the Illinois House and Senate during the spring legislative session, would prohibit a brewer from owning a distributor.

Introduced in February, the bill specifically targeted Anheuser-Busch’s 30-percent stake in wholesaler City Beverage, which has four locations in Illinois; Arlington Heights, Bloomington, Chicago and Markham. The distributorship was seen as a pivotal piece in A-B’s attempt to chip away at MillerCoors’ stronghold on the Chicago market. Continue reading