Will River North, City Beverage Deals Close by Years End?

In Beer News by Ryan

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission meets today with one glaring issue absent from its agenda: the proposed buyout of Illinois distributor City Beverage by a family in Tennessee.

rncbThe Hand Family Companies, which owns a number of Anheuser-Busch wholesalers, and A-B were hoping to close on the deal by the end of the year. Today’s hearing in Springfield is the final one of 2013 and a Commission spokesperson tells Guys Drinking Beer there has been no paperwork filed related to the sale. We’ve reached out to Anheuser-Busch to see if anything will be filed prior today’s hearing but have not gotten a response.

On October 31st the Hand Family announced plans to buy A-B’s remaining 30-percent stake in City Beverage. BDT Capital in Chicago, which owns the other 70-percent of City Beverage, then announced they would purchase distributor River North Sales and Service. The two operations would merge creating a mega Bud distributor in Chicago and the largest wholesaler in Illinois. City Beverage consists of four locations in the state; Arlington Heights, Chicago, Markham and downstate Bloomington.

Anheuser-Busch’s sale of City Beverage was mandated by a new law passed during the legislature’s spring session that prohibits a brewer from owning a distributor. The sale of City Beverage is the only portion of the deal that would require Illinois Liquor Control Commission approval, according to Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois VP of Government Relations Bob Myers. If and when the deal is approved it will bring to a close a few tumultuous years of legal wranglings over the prized wholesaler, which A-B held a minority interest in but majority control over.

The first Commission meeting of 2014 is scheduled for January 22nd.

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About the Author



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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