BIFDA stands for Beer Industry Fair Dealing Act and BFD — well — that stands for Big F***ing Deal. And while the state’s BIFDA isn’t talked about all too often outside of sit-downs between brewers and wholesalers it is a big deal. And we’re going to tell you why.
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.
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.
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).
Admittedly, we’re playing a bit of catchup on this, but late last week the governor’s of Illinois and Michigan put pen to paper enacting new laws benefiting the craft beer industry. Continue reading
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
The bill (HB 630) defines homebrewed beer, would allow homebrew to be consumed outside of the home it was brewed in and would also allow homebrewers to take part in contests and be included in festivals.
The legislation was introduced in response to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission’s crackdown on homebrewers taking part in beer festivals. The Commission gave homebrewed beer the boot from a Peoria beer festival last year saying current law only allows beer brewed at home to be consumed in the home.
The legislation also allows homebrew shops to hold classes and sample beer brewed by customers to help them tweak recipes and offer tips.
The homebrew shop portion of the legislation was hashed out by Brew and Grow’s John Beystehner while the Illinois Homebrew Alliance’s Peter J. Rzeminski II, of the PALE Homebrew Club, led the negotiations on the homebrewer portion. Both worked in conjunction with the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois to iron out any differences before the legislation was drafted.
Rzeminski II, in an emailed response to Guys Drinking Beer, says they are ecstatic the legislation has cleared both the House and Senate. “The IHA wants to thank Rep. Farnham, Tryon, Sen Holmes, and all the members of the General Assembly for helping expand the rights of Illinois Homebrewers,” said Rzeminski II.
The legislation now awaits Governor Pat Quinn’s signature.
Legislation that would make it illegal for a brewer to hold an ownership interest in an Illinois distributor cleared the state Senate Tuesday on a unanimous, 52-0 vote. The bill previously passed the House and now goes to the governor for his signature.
The Illinois Senate Executive Committee, Wednesday, unanimously approved bills impacting homebrewing in Illinois as well as legislation prohibiting a brewer from owning a distributor.
Both bills passed the Illinois House two weeks ago. Continue reading