Beer Legislation Answers From the Chris Kennedy Campaign

In Beer Politics by Karl

Chris Kennedy is a candidate running for Illinois Governor. The following are the responses from his team regarding beer and alcohol legislation in Illinois, presented verbatim. 

You can view the responses we’ve collected from all gubernatorial candidates here.

1a) A main topic of conversation in the beer world last year has been about whether or not bars and restaurants should have the freedom to fill growlers and crowlers (bottles and cans filled from draft lines for takeaway consumption). Where do you stand on this subject? Should restaurants and bars be allowed to do so? Or should that right remain solely with breweries and their taprooms? 

Chris Kennedy believes that breweries and brewpubs should fill their own growlers. Beer recipes are intellectual property and the brewer should be able to control the brand and the growler sales, quality, and purity.

1b) Have you ever had a growler filled at a brewery? If so, where and what was it?

Chris has a gluten allergy so unfortunately he has not filled up a growler at a brewery, mainly because his options are limited. But, we will gladly take recommendations from GuysDrinkingBeer if there are gluten-free options he could acquire directly from a brewery or brewpub. Please share!

2)  When you take office, it will have been nearly four years since the governor signed the Craft Brewers License into law. At the time, it was predicted that the state would see massive small business growth – in the form of new breweries – at least partly as a result of this bill. Clearly, that has come true by leaps and bounds across the entire state. 

But with that growth has come many more questions, including whether a brewer can own a distributor, whether the three-tier system is an outdated structure and more. What is your position on craft brewers self-distributing and at what point should they no longer be considered “craft” and be held to the same rules as the larger brewing companies?

Chris Kennedy supports small business growth. He believes that entrepreneurial activity is critical to our state. If consumers spend their income with small businesses in their communities, the profits from those businesses stay in the community. When we spend the same amount of money with a national chain, those dollars are shipped elsewhere. The craft beer industry is one of the fastest growing industries in our state. That’s great for the local communities where the breweries and brewpubs are located.

More broadly, self-distribution has helped spread craft beer, which in turn helps retail providers.  At a certain point in growth, breweries will switch to distributors and self-distribution helps the entire system. The current liquor code has specific limits on the amount of beer that brewers can be produce and distribute, which are significantly lower than a large-scale distributors like MillerCoors.

3) Do you believe the three-tier system is antiquated or is it needed to ensure safety among consumers and competition among manufacturers?

The three-tier system needs more flexibility. The ideal situation should be for us to work toward a system where all tiers work together properly so that all the tiers grow together. Craft beer has been a pivotal driver in the beverage industry, providing distributors and retailers with significant business.

4) Do you agree with Governor Rauner’s signing of legislation re-institution the Happy Hour in Illinois? 

Chris Kennedy supports the re-institution of happy hour in Illinois.

5)  As state and local governments look to revenue sources to balance their budgets, we often hear about the alcohol tax as an option. Illinois already has among the highest alcohol taxes in the Midwest. Our tax on beer is double what it is in Indiana and nearly quadruple what it is in Wisconsin. Is an even higher tax on beer, wine or spirits an option if you are governor?  

Chris Kennedy support fair taxes. Illinois’s alcohol tax is already significantly higher than our neighboring states like Indiana or Wisconsin. Factors such as a competitive analysis along with industry and consumer impact should drive the decisions around changes taxes on beer, wine or spirits.

6) Finally, What is your favorite beer, and what is your favorite beer not manufactured in Illinois?

Again, he’s unfortunately limited in his options here but he does love Two Brothers Prairie Path from Warrenville.

You can learn more about the Kennedy campaign here

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About the Author



Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Draft Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, is now available via Amazon and other booksellers. If you're buying, he's likely having a porter or a pale ale.

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