Beer Production Limit for Illinois Craft Brewers Doubled

A bill signed into law Monday by Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn will enable the state’s self-distributing craft breweries to produce up to 30,000 barrels annually, doubling the previous amount allowed. The law, HB 1573, “does not affect the ability for a craft brewer to self-distribute up to 7,500 barrels or to simultaneously hold a brew pub (retailer) license,” according to a statement from The Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois (ABDI).

Brewbound will continue to follow up on this story as it develops.

Here is the full press release from ABDI:

Springfield, IL – Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn signed HB 1573 into law which doubles the amount of beer a craft brewer may manufacture from 15,000 barrels to 30,000 barrels. HB 1573 does not affect the ability for a craft brewer to self-distribute up to 7,500 barrels or to simultaneously hold a brew pub (retailer) license. HB 1573 was sponsored by Representative Charles E. Jefferson (D-Rockford) in the House and Senator Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) in the Senate, and the final bill was the result of several meetings with Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois (ABDI), the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild (ICBG), and the Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois (WSDI).

“ABDI has been supportive of the craft brewers,” said Bill Olson, ABDI President. “We supported their efforts to be allowed to sell growlers and to self-distribute in order to help them get established to create a consumer base.”

ABDI Members, who are local, independent beer distributors, have established craft divisions to handle the new products and deliver as many different choices as possible to consumers.

On June 1, 2011, SB 754 was signed into law creating a craft brewer license and an exemption to self-distribute 7,500 barrels if they manufactured no more than 15,000 barrels. SB 754 also allowed a brew pub to simultaneously own a craft brewer’s license with the intent of transitioning the brew pub to a craft brewer. Due to the popularity of craft beers over the past two years, craft brewers will now be allowed to manufacture no more than 30,000 barrels and continue to self-distribute 7,500 barrels.

Through a three-tier regulatory system (independent manufacturers, distributors, and retailers), the General Assembly’s policy “to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the people of this State through the sound and careful control and regulation of the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcoholic liquor” is maintained.

“Although the craft brewers wanted a larger increase in both production and self-distribution, it is important to maintain the three-tier regulatory system,” continued Bill Olson. “Brewers (manufacturers) holding a retail license might lead to out-of-state brewers claiming discrimination, forcing the State to allow large brewers such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, MillerCoors, etc. to open retail stores creating tied houses.”

Tied houses (brewers owning and controlling retailers) were prevalent prior to Prohibition. The abuse from that practice is one of the main reasons the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Prohibition) was enacted. The three-tier system was created when Prohibition ended (21st Amendment) to better regulate the distribution of alcoholic products. “Alcoholic beverages are intoxicating beverages and need regulation to prevent history from repeating itself,” said Bill Olson.

About:

The Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, a not for profit business trade association, represents, maintains, and improves the interests of its Members who distribute beer of all brewers. Distributors are licensed by the State of Illinois to import and distribute beer to licensed retailers. ABDI Members directly employ more than 3,300 people across the state. They collect and pay $63 million each year in excise taxes to the state and pay more than $280 million in direct wages and health care benefits. More information on ABDI is available at www.abdi.org.