ABDI & ICBG Agree to “Substantial Rewrite” of IL Craft Brewer Act

In Beer Politics by Ryan

The Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois and Illinois Craft Brewers Guild have signed off on what’s being called a “substantial rewrite” to the Illinois Craft Brewer Act.

The agreement includes a gigantic jump in the production cap to be considered a craft brewer in Illinois. That current number is 30,000 barrels. Under the agreed-upon bill the number will jump to 120,000 barrels.

We first reported on the talks in late March and checked in on the talks a few weeks ago.

The legislation also addresses the reinterpretation of a law by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission which would have capped the amount of beer a brewpub could sell to a distributor at 50,000 gallons a year. The law, according to Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois President Bob Myers, was meant to cap how much beer a brewpub could sell in six packs and growlers — not to a wholesaler.

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Here are the highlights of what’s be called a landmark agreement between the state’s craft brewers guild and the beer distribution lobby:

The bill creates two craft brewer licenses: Class 1 and Class 2.

A Class 1 Brewer could produce up to 30,000 barrels of beer a year and self-distribute up to 7,500 barrels of beer a year. They could not hold a brewpub license though.

A Class 2 Brewer could produce up to 120,000 barrels of beer a year and hold up to three brewpub licenses, however they could not self-distribute.

Production is capped at brewpubs in Illinois at 5,000 barrels of beer per year, per location. If a Class 2 Brewer has multiple brewpubs the beer produced there does count towards their 120,000 barrel cap. Also, a Class 2 Brewer could only offer beer for on-premise consumption at three locations, which would appear to keep a brewer from having a taproom and three brewpubs,

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The fee for a Class 1 license remains $25. The fee for a Class 2 license is $25.

Revolution Brewing could continue with its planned expansion and retain its flagship brewpub. Per the bill: “A licensed brewer, class 2 brewer, or non-resident dealer who before July 1, 2015 manufactured less than 3,720,000 gallons of beer per year and held a brew pub license on or before July 1, 2015 may (i) continue to qualify for and hold that brew pub license for the licensed premises and (ii) manufacture more than 3,720,000 gallons of beer per year and continue to qualify for and hold that brew pub license…”

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Here’s the full bill under consideration.

Lawmakers in Springfield have less than a week to move the bill as the legislature is set to adjourn on May 31st.

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Equal parts beer nerd and policy geek, Ryan is now the curator of the Guys Drinking Beer cellar. The skills he once used to dig through the annals of state government as a political reporter are now put to use offering unique takes on barrel-aged stouts, years-old barleywines and 10 + year verticals.

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