Representatives from the three-tiers (manufacturer, distributor and retailer) will be on hand at this morning’s Illinois Liquor Control Commission hearing for what one insider is calling “HB 2606 101.” Continue reading
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
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.
Once signed into law, the bill will effectively end Anheuser-Busch’s minority ownership interest in, but majority control of, Illinois distributor City Beverage.
The wholesaler, which has four locations in the state, was the focal point of a bitter dispute before the Illinois Liquor Control Commission that began in 2010 and culminated last fall when the Commission voted to allow A-B to retain its 30-percent interest in City Beverage. The vote went against the Commission’s own legal counsel, who cited A-B over the summer for violating the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Commissioners voting in the affirmative said Illinois law was too vague in regards to who can and who cannot own a distributor and challenged the Illinois legislature to address the issue directly.
State Senator Tony Munoz (D-Chicago), chief sponsor of HB 2606 in the Senate, says the legislation does just that. “HB 2606 reaffirms Illinois’ policy and the State’s regulatory structure that manufacturers of beer, including out-of-state brewers, are prohibited from holding a distributor’s license, from owning any ownership interest in a distributorship, and from exercising vertical integration between a manufacturer of beer and a distributor or importing distributor through any ownership interest or through control of the distributor or importing distributor,” said Munoz.
Anheuser-Busch, last month, publicly conceded to selling off its interest in City Beverage by 2015 – as the pending new law dictates.
The Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, and powerful lobbying arm for distributors in the state, was among the groups pushing for passage of the bill. ABDI President Bill Olson says the bill’s passage means Illinois will remain an open market for new local and regional craft brands. “If brewers had been allowed to hold any interest in distributorships, the ability for new products to enter the market would have been limited,” said Olson. “Brewer-owned distributorships would have no incentive to carry brands other than their own.”
We have reached out to Governor Pat Quinn’s office to see if he’ll sign HB 2606 once it arrives on his desk. We are still awaiting comment.
Today is the deadline to pass bills out of the Illinois House. State Representative Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) pledged HB 2606 would be called for a vote by the 19th, so today is the day.
For those of you just joining us, the legislation would prohibit a brewer from owning a distributor in Illinois. This bill, even though it hasn’t been voted on by either chamber, has already caused Anheuser-Busch to agree to sell its ownership interest in wholesaler City Beverage by 2015 – as laid out in the proposed legislation.
The concession comes five months after the Illinois liquor Control Commission voted to allow AB to retain its 30-percent ownership interest in City Beverage, ending a years long dispute over whether the Illinois Liquor Control Act permits a brewer to own a distributor.
HB 2606 passes 103-0-0.
State Rep David Leitch: “the last time we passed this bill (SB754), it went out of here unanimously, I recommend we send it out of here unanimously again.”
Harris also asks about small brewer self-distribution rights. Mautino says HB 2606 has NO impact on self-distribution.
State Rep David Harris quizzing Mautino on past legislative intent and why a brewer shouldn’t own a distributor.
Mautino retracing steps of the previously passed Craft Brewer Act and how IL Liquor Control Commission ignored the intended public policy prohibiting a brewer from owning a distributor.
State Rep Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) presenting, “out of state brewers are prohibited from holding a distributors license.”
And HB 2606 is up…
Speaker says there are still 40 bills to be voted on before the House closes up shop for the day. HB 2606 is one of those 40.
Up to 73 sponsors/co-sponsors. Now all we need is for the bill to be called for a vote…
HB 2606 now has a veto-proof majority of sponsors and co-sponsors, 71 and – apparently – still counting.
Homebrew legislation bill sponsor, State Rep Keith Farnham’s (D-Elgin) support, makes it an even 70.
69 lawmakers now signed on in support of HB 2606…
It takes 60 yes votes to pass a bill out of the House. 71 votes = a veto-proof majority.
Support continues to build for the bill. There are now 68 lawmakers signed on as sponsors/co-sponsors of HB 2606.
The House gaveled in at 8:30 and has been burning through bills, so we are going to crank this up in anticipation of HB 2606 being called for a vote soon.
Did you know that one village in southern Illinois only allows BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer) if it’s brought to a house party? Or that one suburban Chicago village prohibits bottle service? And then there’s the small village well northwest of Chicago that only allows alcohol to be served when, “complete meals are served at tables.”
Those local liquor ordinances and hundreds of others were revealed recently when the Illinois Liquor Control Commission posted a series of surveys online. The surveys asked questions about what kind of liquor sales were allowed, the hours of sales, aged related ordinances and miscellaneous laws and restrictions.
80-percent of the 1,200 cities, counties, towns and villages that were sent surveys responded and there responses were, shall we say, enlightening.
The first interesting tidbit we gleamed from the surveys; out of all the respondents over 100 of them are dry – meaning no booze is sold. Even more interesting is that some communities allow alcohol to be sold but don’t have anyone selling it or, in the case of a convenience store in Joppa, they have a liquor license but don’t stock liquor.
For you entrepreneurs interested in setting up shop with no competition for alcohol sales look no further than Hartsburg, Bardolph, Bently, Mason, Standard City or Tower Lakes.
If you like to do your drinking in public you’ll have to cozy up to the mayor of Chester to do so. They allow public consumption but only with, “special permission from the mayor.” Now, we’re sure this means for special events but we can’t help but wonder if anyone has ever called the mayor’s office requesting special dispensation to take a road sodie on his way to the barbershop.
Enough of what you can do: how about what you can’t?
If you like a beer or two with your NFL football and tend to procrastinate, the cities of Carmi or Freeport may not be for you. They don’t allow alcohol sales on Sundays.
Christian County doesn’t allow off-premise sales for consumption. Neither does Inverness. You can buy beer and liquor to take home in Morton Grove but be sure to smile when you do, because every off-premise sale is required to be videotaped.
Downers Grove forbids bottle service. Sorry, Bobby.
Elmwood Park prohibits “fashion shows” at their drinking establishments. (Note: Having been to a couple bars where “fashion show” is not-so-subtle code for “strippers,” this kinda makes sense.)
And Saint Peter (yes, it’s a town) says live entertainment is a no-no.
You can’t buy booze when you fill up your gas tank in the city of Warrenville. Same goes for Wheeling. Oh, and they don’t allow drive-thru liquor stores either.
If a bowl of stale pretzels is all you need to go with your beer, then perhaps steer clear of Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Palos Heights, Riverside and Winnetka where bars and taverns are not allowed. Liquor stores are also off-limits in Winnetka.
And in Wilmette and Third Lake alcohol can only be served with food, with Third Lake stipulating that, “alcohol may be served when complete meals are served at tables.” Sorry, tapas lovers, you’re out of luck in Third Lake.
If you want your brewskis straight from the cooler, then you may have to hunt around in Danvers, where a special permit is required to sell cold beer.
Now that you know the odds and ends of Illinois’ odder local liquor laws, see where these cities, counties, towns and villages are on our map below.
Follow along as the Illinois legislature convenes in Springfield with a pending vote on tweaks to the Illinois Liquor Control Act and 3-tier system of alcohol beverage distribution in the Illinois House.
House debate rages on but our live-blog is going to close up shop. We will update accordingly if something newsworthy happens.
House still going. Waiting, ever so patiently, for HB 2606 to be called for a vote.
Lawmakers are trickling back into the House chamber after the Democrats caucused for about an hour and 20 minutes.
Word is firearm conceal/carry legislation could be voted on today.
This is typically done to discuss key legislation and to ensure votes are there for passage, everyone is on the same page, etc.
House Democrats are going to caucus with plans to return around 2pm.
HB 2606 adds yet another co-sponsor. 64 members of the House now publicly support the bill. 60 yes votes are needed for passage.
Here’s a video of the aforementioned shouting match: http://new.livestream.com/blueroomstream/events/2022229/videos/16661313
Lawmakers are currently debating pension investments and gun manufacturers. So far debate is less lively than the gun debate yesterday, which erupted into a shouting match.
The amendment is a floor amendment meaning the amendment will be added into the record prior to debate. The bill will not have to go back to committee for a vote.
Procedural update on HB 2606. An amendment was filed on the bill yesterday and that amendment has been approved by a House leadership committee today.
HB 2606 would prohibit a brewer from owning a distributor, something Anheuser-Busch has done in Illinois since 2005.
The big news pertaining to this bill, HB 2606, is that Anheuser-Busch has agreed to sell off its minority interest in distributor City Beverage by 2015: http://www.guysdrinkingbeer.com/abdi-touts-across-the-board-support-of-3-tier-system-legislation/
The House is due in now and unlike yesterday our streaming feed is present and accounted for.
We are going to crank up the live-blogging machine for a second day in anticipation of the 3-tier system bill being called for a vote in the Illinois House.
The Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, the engine driving legislation to clear up Illinois’ 3-tier system of alcoholic beverage distribution, says the proposal currently before the Illinois House has an unencumbered path to passage.
This is significant because the legislation, if it becomes law, would require Anheuser-Busch InBev to divest its minority interest in Illinois distributor City Beverage.
The bill in question specifically prohibits a brewer from owning a distributor.
AB InBev has fought for years to retain its ownership interest in City Beverage, which is held through a wholly owned subsidiary, and ultimately won a drawn out battle before the Illinois Liquor Control Commission last fall. The Commission noted, in its decision, that the Illinois Liquor Control Act was too vague in terms of who can and who cannot own a distributor in Illinois and challenged the Illinois legislature to address the issue directly.
HB 2606 is in response to that challenge.
According to a press release issued by the ABDI, AB InBev has agreed to divest its 30-percent ownership interest in City Beverage, “but needed some time to find a purchaser and complete the buyout.”
AB’s Region Vice President of State Affairs, Mark Bordas, confirms to GuysDrinkingBeer that the brewing giant is willing to part ways with City Beverage.
“Anheuser-Busch is pleased with the agreement reached with the Illinois legislature as it relates to our minority investment in City Beverage, granting the company the ability to divest our interests by January 1, 2015,” said Bordas.
State Representative Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley), chief sponsor of the bill, says he now has the green light to move the legislation this week. “HB 2606 is prepared to be passed by the Illinois House by April 19, which is the deadline for House passage. I know of no opposition to my legislation,” said Mautino.
The release notes that Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) initiated negotiations on the bill and that the ABDI, AB InBev, MillerCoors and the Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois all had a seat at the table.
Follow along as the Illinois legislature convenes in Springfield with pending votes on homebrew legislation and tweaks to the Illinois Liquor Control Act and 3-tier system in the Illinois House as soon as today.
We’re going to close up shop on this experiment for the day. Rest assured, if something happens with HB 2606 we will update accordingly.
Floor debate continues in the House. Still no sign of 3-tier bill being called for a vote.
Homebrew legislation has officially arrived in IL Senate. President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) is chief sponsor.
BREAKING: Everyone is on board with the proposed 3-tier system legislation, including AB InBev, who stands to lose ownership interest in an IL distributor: http://www.guysdrinkingbeer.com/abdi-touts-across-the-board-support-of-3-tier-system-legislation/
Still no movement on the 3-tier system legislation but medical marijuana just passed the House 61-57.
IL House currently debating medical marijuana legislation. Meanwhile, we are working to move a story on 3-tier system bill pending confirmation of some info.
If you would like visual confirmation of all 118 yes votes on the homebrew legislation here is the roll call.
Interesting press release from the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois just landed in our inbox. Notes that Anheuser-Busch is not fighting the 3-tier legislation and is willing to divest its interest in City Beverage.
Seeing as how the first attempt by the legislature to strip AB InBev of its minority interest in City Beverage failed to hold up, they want to make sure the second go-round is airtight.
Looks like he has filed another amendment to the legislation. Legalese to clear up the legalese. Here is the amendment.
Mautino is the chief sponsor of the 3-tier bill.
During a lull in debate we saw State Rep Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) drop some paperwork by the speakers podium.
If you are just joining us, the homebrew legislation passed unanimously this morning on a 118-0-0 vote.
Here’s more on the homebrew bill passing, including a statement from the Illinois Homebrew Alliance: http://www.guysdrinkingbeer.com/illinois-homebrewing-legislation-amended-to-include-homebrew-shops/
We remain glued to our computer speaker, listening in on House floor debate, waiting on the 3-tier bill to be called for a vote.
Charter school debate happening now. Still waiting on the 3-tier system bill which, if it becomes law, would prohibit Anheuser-Busch InBev from maintaining a minority interest – through a wholly owned subsidiary – in Illinois distributor City Beverage.
It appears BlueRoomStream, and the rest of the statehouse press corps, were at a news conference w/ Gov Quinn. Zero floor debate coverage of homebrew bill on twitter.
House Republican blog says 118 lawmakers are present today meaning the homebrew legislation passed as unanimously as a bill can.
House is working its way down a list of bills, in numerical order. 3-tier legislation – which is House Bill 2606 – has not been called yet.
Homebrew legislation now heads to the Illinois Senate.
Huh. Blue Room Stream, the service we were using to monitor the House, was late getting their live feed up. Homebrew legislation has already passed 118-0.
The House is due in at 11, although schedules are rather fluid at the statehouse.
If you’re just joining us, the homebrew bill passed unanimously out of the House this morning on a 118-0-0 vote.
And the 3-tier system bill: http://www.guysdrinkingbeer.com/3-tier-system-legislation-amended-in-illinois-house-still-awaiting-a-vote/
As a primer, here is the homebrew legislation: http://www.guysdrinkingbeer.com/illinois-homebrewing-legislation-amended-to-include-homebrew-shops/
So sit back, relax and enjoy the show.
With the Illinois House due in shortly, and a pair of beverage industry related bills on their plate, we thought we’d take a stab at live-blogging today’s floor debate – if any occurs.
Last week the chief sponsor of legislation designed to strengthen the Illinois Liquor Control Act and Illinois’ 3-tier system, specifically provisions on who can and who cannot hold an ownership interest in an Illinois distributor, amended the bill adding more teeth to the proposed law.
The legislation was drafted in response to a Halloween day ruling by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission allowing Anheuser-Busch InBev, through a wholly owned subsidiary, to hold a minority ownership interest in distributor City Beverage. The Commission’s decision went against its own legal counsel, who cited AB InBev last summer for violating the state’s liquor control act by holding a 30-percent interest in City Beverage.
The wholesaler is made up of four distributors throughout the state: Arlington Heights, Bloomington, Chicago and Markham.
Critics of the decision, including two high-profile distributor groups in the state, claimed a law passed in 2011 allowing small brewers to self-distribute forbid brewers from owning a distributor. But that exact verbiage never made it into the bill, although it was brought up during floor debate on the legislation.
The Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois was one of those critics. ABDI President Bill Olson tells GuysDrinkingBeer the amended bill will reinforce the “Craft Brewer Act” of 2011.
“HB 2606 reaffirms the public policy of SB 754 that vertical integration (common ownership of a brewer and a distributor) will reduce the number of independent distributors which will reduce market access for new brands like craft brewers, regional brewers and new imports,” said Olson.
Now that language is clearly in the bill, as is language (new as of Amendment 1) directing the Commission to follow the Act to a T in the future (emphasis added).
“The General Assembly hereby restates that it is the policy of this State that the primary purpose of this Act is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of this State through the sound and careful control and regulation of the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcoholic liquor through a 3-tier regulatory system. To ensure and maintain a 3-tier regulatory system, the General Assembly finds that it is the obligation and duty of the State Commission to construe the provisions of this Act in a manner that conforms to State policy and this Act’s primary purpose as articulated in this Section and to exercise its statutory authority in a manner consistent with that purpose whether or not the provisions of this Act are unambiguous or capable of one or more reasonable constructions.”
The legislation goes on to outline that a brewer may not own a distributor and a distributor cannot own a brewer, save for no more than a 5% stake.
The bill also lays out a timeline to force a brewer who does own a distributor do divest its ownership interest.
“The General Assembly further finds that it is necessary to have the State Commission undertake an expedited investigation, in accordance with procedural due process, to determine whether any existing manufacturer of beer described in paragraph (19) of subsection (a) of Section 6-2 or any existing distributor or importing distributor described in paragraph (20) of subsection (a) of Section 6-2 owns a prohibited ownership interest, and an orderly process by which an existing manufacturer of beer, distributor, or importing distributor may divest itself of or sever the prohibited ownership interest by no later than January 1, 2015.”
All roads lead to this legislation forcing AB InBev to divest its ownership interest in City Beverage, barring any sort of court action.
The amendment was filed on HB 2606, which has more than enough sponsors and co-sponsors to ensure passage out of the Illinois House. A similar bill was also filed in the Senate, but has not been amended.
This likely signals that the House bill will be the bill to track moving forward.
Mirroring pieces of legislation in the Illinois House and Senate were approved, unanimously, in committee prior to lawmakers departing for a two-week spring break.
Legislators return to the capitol this week.
The legislation appears to clearly define who can and who cannot hold an interest in an Illinois distributor, according to a synopsis of the bill posted to the Illinois General Assembly’s website.
“Provides that no person licensed as a manufacturer of beer by any licensing authority, or any partnership, corporation, subsidiary, limited liability company, trust, agent, affiliate, or other form of business enterprise thereof, shall have any interest, directly or indirectly, in a holder of a distributor’s license or importing distributor’s license,” according to the synopsis.
The legislation also lays out a step-by-step process to revoke the licenses of manufacturers found in violation of proposed law.
The bills, SB 1855 in the Senate and HB 2606 in the House, were introduced in response to a Halloween day ruling by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission allowing ABI to maintain its minority ownership interest in the four City Beverage distributors through a wholly owned subsidiary, Wholesaler Equity Development Corporation, or WEDCO.
In fact, in its controversial ruling the Commission challenged the General Assembly to tackle the issue head on. “[T]he Commission respectfully requests that the Illinois General Assembly consider the issue of whether to amend the Illinois Liquor Control Act to clearly redefine the historic three-tier system of alcohol regulation in Illinois as it applies to allowable ownership interests so as to prevent cross-ownership among tiers…”
Last years ruling went against the Commission’s own legal counsel who cited ABI over the summer for violating the Illinois Liquor Control Act.
Currently, in the House, 61 lawmakers have signed on in support of the legislation. In that chamber, 60 “yes” votes are required for passage. In the Senate, where 30 “yes” votes are required to pass a bill, a bipartisan coalition of eight high-profile lawmakers are publicly supporting the legislation.