As part of fulfilling its core purpose of promoting the development and expansion of craft brewing in Illinois, the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild is committed to being an effective advocate for fair and sensible laws that promote the interests of the craft beer industry and enable consumers to have access to the widest selection of craft beer. As one example, the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild recently won a hard-fought battle to restore the right of small craft brewers to self-distribute their beer under Illinois law.

An informed public is critical to support of our efforts, and we intend to use this space to provide important information on new issues, concerns and legislative initiatives that affect Illinois craft brewers.

Update as of July 16th, 2013:

Discussions with the ICBG’s board members began in late summer / early fall of 2012 to set the stage for our legislative agenda for the 98th General Assembly that began on January 9, 2013.

Representative Greg Harris (D-13) convened a meeting in Chicago on August 6, 2012 with ICBG and ABDI to re-start the dialogue on the liquor code changes the guild was interested in addressing. A follow-up letter was sent to Representative Harris thanking him for his involvement and indicating our interest in continuing discussions with ABDI.

In October, consultants began working with the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) to draft legislative language around our proposals, which saw several iterations over the course of the winter and into the beginning of the legislative session.

The following meetings took place:

January 24 – Senator Patricia Van Pelt lunch at Haymarket

February 25 – Leader Art Turner lunch at Haymarket

February 25 – Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) meeting with the Director and Legal Counsel

March 5 – ABDI conference call

March 20 – ABDI meeting at their Springfield offices

April 3 – Rep Ann Williams visit to Half Acre

Lobby Day with Josh Deth and Jim Ebel on March 2. Meetings with Senators Matt Murphy, Heather Steans, Linda Holmes, Iris Martinez, Mike Connelly, Don Harmon and Reps Stephanie Kifowit, Toni Berrios, and Art Turner to discuss our legislative proposals. Evening before on March 19, we had dinner with staff from the Governor’s office, Senate legal, and House tech review.

Senate President Cullerton visited Half Acre Beer Company, located in his district, on Saturday April 20. We discussed our proposals to raise the production cap in the craft brewer license to 200,000 bbl, include common ownership language in the definition of a brewpub, and raise the self-distribution cap to 20,000 bbl. President Cullerton agreed to convene a meeting with ABDI and ICBG in Springfield to negotiate an agreement.

President Cullerton convened a meeting with the interested parties on Wednesday, May 1 in Springfield involving ABDI, WSDI, Senator Tony Munoz, and ICBG. A tentative agreement to raise the production cap in the craft brewer license was reached. President Cullerton indicated he wanted to see progress on the increased barrelage number.

Consultants continued discussions with Senate legal staff, Senators Linda Holmes, Mike Frerichs, Tom Cullerton, Patricia Van Pelt, and Toi Hutchinson and Reps Ann Williams and Art Turner during April and May.