Will Illinois Let Wineries, Craft Brewers, and Distillers Sell At Farmers’ Markets?

Illinois Senate Bill 3456 should be called the “farmers’ market license law”.  This is a bill, with the Second Senate Amendment, that would augment the “special use permit license” definitions under the Illinois Liquor Control Act to allow Illinois licensed retailers to take some of their stock and go sell it at special events like farmers’ markets or festivals so long as they’ve identified the date in advance and the local liquor authority approves.

But it gets better.  There’s a tabled Illinois Senate Amendment (#3) that would create a “manufacturer special use permit” allowing in state and out-of-state winemakers, brewers, and distillers to let them sell beverages under the same circumstances (prior identification and approval of the event and local authority approval) to let them sell their own beverages at retail at these events.

Senate Amendment 1 to this bill (as well as the introduced bill) created this type of permit for wineries without the extension to other manufacturers.

Both Amendment 1 and Amendment 3 are currently automatically tabled under Senate Rule 5-4(a) because they were pending at the time the bill passed the Senate.

Many thanks to our friends at the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association for informing us about this important piece of legislation.

In one sense, this bill could create a great exception for wineries, craft brewers, and craft distillers to direct market their products at local events.  As passed currently with the second amendment, it just lets retailers sell their inventory at these events.