House Bill 4897 hasn’t been signed by the governor yet but it’s on its way. This bill passed both the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate with no nay votes and no abstentions. Once signed the bill will add several new rights for craft breweries in the state of Illinois that bring the state closer to a common-sense approach for regulating brewing practices and serving beer to the public.
- For starters the bill allows Illinois brewers to sell their beer to other brewers for sale in those other breweries’ taprooms. (See amendments to 235 ILCS 5/3-12(a)(18)(A) and (C))
- 2nd, in addition to allowing breweries to sell other craft beer from their taprooms it also allows brewers to sell cider from their tap rooms. (See amendments to 235 ILCS 5/6-4(e))
- 3rd, it allows Class 1 Brewers to transfer up to 930,000 gallons of their beer from one of their premises to another provided they obtain permission from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, and allows Class 2 Brewers to transfer up to 31,000 gallons of beer between their premises so long as they’re within 80 miles of each other and provided they submit notice to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission of the transfer. (See amendments to 235 ILCS 5/5-12(a))
- And 4th, it establishes a Brewer Warehouse Permit which allows Class 1 Brewers to transfer and store up 930,000 gallons of tax-determined beer that they manufacturer at an off-site warehouse, and allows Class 2 Brewers to transfer and store up to 3,720,000 gallons of tax-determined beer that they manufacturer at an off-site warehouse. It should be noted that while this is a new license, the ability to operate an alcohol Warehouse is also still granted and addressed in Article VIIA of the Liquor Control Act. (See amendments to 235 ILCS 5/5-3).
Governor Rauner Should sign the bill before the end of August, if not, it will automatically become law, and once it does the opportunities for generating funds from taproom sales are increased and the ability to free up space in by using a warehouse should grant more freedom to craft breweries in Illinois.