We received word late yesterday that Anheuser-Busch InBev has formally responded to the Illinois Secretary of State’s inquiry in to the brewing giant’s wholly owned subsidiary, Wholesaler Equity Development Corporation – or WEDCO. WEDCO currently owns a 30% stake in the Chicago area and downstate distributor City Beverage. The state is now reviewing A-B InBev’s response and will issue an opinion in a matter of days.
If you are just joining us on this issue here’s a recap. It came out during a hearing before the Illinois Liquor Control Commission last month that WEDCO was not registered to do business in the state of Illinois. Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal because WEDCO does not have outright ownership of a company – in this case a beer distributor. But, according to Illinois Liquor Control Commission spokesperson Sue Hofer, things are a bit different when you are talking about liquor. “The Liquor Control Act requires all owners and officers of a licensed corporation to qualify in the same way that the licensee corporation qualifies,” said Hofer.
If the Secretary of State’s Office finds WEDCO operated in Illinois without being registered, Anheuser-Busch InBev will face a number of fees, fines and late payments – with interest.