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

Bill Prohibiting A Brewer From Owning A Distributor Passes IL Senate, Headed To Gov’s Desk

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.ilcapitol

Once signed into law, the bill will effectively end Anheuser-Busch’s minority ownership interest in, but majority control of, Illinois distributor City Beverage. Continue reading

Live-Blogging The Legislature (April 19th)

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. Continue reading

Anheuser-Busch Agrees To Relinquish Ownership Interest In IL Distributor City Beverage

abdiThe 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. Continue reading