Beer Legislation Answers From the J.B. Pritzker Campaign

In Beer Politics by Karl

J.B. Pritzker 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? 

Growlers are a great way for consumers to take craft beer from a brewery and enjoy it outside the taproom at home. It’s important that we bring together stakeholders like restaurants, bars, and craft brewers to talk through issues before we change any rules.

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

I haven’t, but my staff is full of avid craft beer drinkers who regularly fill up glasses and growlers at Half Acre, Alarmist, Begyle, Dovetail, Burnt City, Oak Park Brewing, Lake Bluff Brewing, Two Brothers and Obed and Isaac’s, to name a few.

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has come many more questions, including whether a brewer can own a distributor, whether the three-tier system is an outdated structure and more.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?

I respect the rewrite of the Illinois Craft Brewer Act in 2015 and understand that many sides came together to create this long-term agreement. I believe that the current caps and licensing rules are adequate.

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 is not antiquated. I support it to ensure consumer safety and competition among manufacturers.

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

I support reinstituting the Happy Hour in Illinois. As governor, I will preserve that law.

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?

 Our state should not rely on regressive taxes to balance our budget. We need to modernize and reform our tax code to create a progressive income tax where people who make more pay a higher rate and people who make less pay a lower rate.

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

Right now, Half Acre Daisy Cutter is my favorite beer. New Glarus Spotted Cow is my favorite beer not manufactured in Illinois.

You can learn more about the Pritzker 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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