Brewers will have more freedom to sell, purchase, expand, and store beer and cider, under recently signed House Bill 4897.
The new law offers additional support to craft brewers, which is a growth industry in Illinois, by removing antiquated regulatory barriers that have stifled the growth of smaller craft brewers and limited beverage choices for consumers who visit their taprooms.
“This law is a step toward a stronger free market economy. It gives greater lift and encouragement to the entrepreneurs in our state," said Sen. Jason Barickman (Bloomington). "It makes it easier for Illinois' craft brewers to market their products and do business in Illinois. Smaller and growing breweries will have a better chance at succeeding-knowing they can expand their operations and reach without as many limitations.”
Illinois brewers will now be able to sell their own beer to other Illinois breweries, which will then be able to sell the purchased beer directly to customers in their taprooms, and to purchase cider for selling in their taprooms.
The Brewer Warehouse Permit created by HB 4897 will allow small and growing breweries to expand their operations by using warehousing and storage facilities instead of opening second locations or moving to larger spaces. The permit will allow for Class 1 and Class 2 Brewers to transfer and store, at an off-site warehouse within 80 miles, as much as 930,000 and 3.72 million gallons, respectively, of beer that the brewery manufactured.
Prior to this bill, brewers were restricted from any of the above by outdated regulations set forth by the Liquor Control Act of 1934. In addition to being unnecessary to ensure safe liquor consumption, the controls also created a barrier to market entry for small businesses and protected established businesses from competition.
“HB 4897 not only enables our state’s taprooms to offer a more diverse selection of guest beer and cider, but it also eliminates product transfer and storage barriers that were cumbersome for our members. We’re grateful for the support of Governor Rauner and all those who made this legislation a priority,” said Danielle D’Alessandro, executive director for the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild.
“There is a tremendous sense of community among Illinois craft breweries,” said Matt Potts, founder, CEO, and brewmaster at DESTIHL in Normal, Ill. “This law allows our breweries to tap into that community even more, promoting collaboration, selling one another’s craft beer, and giving our patrons more of what they want.”
The new law is effective immediately. Proponents of the legislation include the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, Illinois Restaurant Association, numerous craft brewers and the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois.