Illinois small brewers ask state residents for help

April 14th, 2011 | Posted by Real Beer

Support Your Local BreweryThe Illinois Craft Brewers Guild (ICBG) stands in opposition to an amendment to Senate Bill 754 that hurts the state’s small brewers.

They’ve asked Illinois residents for their help. Here’s their message:

The amendment, which was supported by beer distributors, places extremely restrictive barrelage caps on craft brewers’ ability to self-distribute their beer, which was previously unlimited before a recent lawsuit involving beer distributors’ interests opposing Anheuser Busch InBev (ABI) interests. Small brewers and beer drinkers are becoming collateral damage.

The amended bill only provides for 7,500 barrels of self-distribution for craft brewers making less than 15,000 barrels a year. By comparison, Goose Island, which was just purchased by ABI, made 130,000 barrels of beer last year, over 8 times the proposed definition of a craft brewer. ICBG calls for a cap of 60,000 barrels of beer to allow for the state’s small brewers to grow their businesses through self-distribution.

The amended bill also strips out valuable language allowing brewpubs to self-distribute a small amount of beer (up to 50,000 gallons). The bill now requires brewpubs to open a second facility in order to self-distribute, which is not economically feasible.

Following the ABI vs. Illinois Liquor Control Commission decision, the Illinois General Assembly faces a court ordered deadline of May 31st to revise the Illinois Liquor Control Act or brewers of all sizes will lose their right to self-distribute their beer. There are currently 40 small brewers in Illinois and approximately 5 new brewers opening each year.

If you want more beer choices in Illinois, please take these three steps TODAY:

1. Call your State Senator (look up who represents you here)
2. Ask them to oppose Senate Bill 754 as amended
3. Tell them you want more, not fewer, beer choices and fair laws for craft brewers in Illinois

Thank you!
Illinois Craft Brewers Guild

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