Illinois updates proposed bill to allow craft distillers self-distribute, increase craft spirits production limits, sell other kinds of alcohol in “distilling pubs,” and warehouse off premises
If special interests don’t try to kill the bills, Illinois could soon allow craft distillers to self-distribute and increase the allowable gallonage limits for craft spirits under the craft distillers license.
The most recent version of the House Bill introduced yesterday, HB 2674, a companion Senate Bill is 1190, would amend the Illinois Liquor Control Act and create Class 1 and Class 2 Craft Distillers licenses, a craft spirits Craft Distiller Warehouse Permit, and a craft based Distilling Pub.
Under the proposed Class 1 Craft Distillers license, a Class 1 craft distillery in Illinois would be allowed to self-distribute up to 5,000 gallons of craft spirits to bars, restaurants, liquor stores and other licensed retailers in Illinois. The self-distribution exemption would require the craft distiller to disclose certain facts about their business, gallonage production, distribution efforts, and there would be a 45-day posting and waiting period. The same as with Craft Brewers self distribution exemptions in Illinois. A 50,000 gallon limit would apply to the Class 1 Craft Distillers license in order to qualify for the 5,000 gallon self-distribution exemption.
The Class 1 Craft Distillers license would also allow for the sale of up to 5,000 gallons of spirits to non licensees – consumers – which increases the current gallonage requirements from 2,500 that caused trouble last year for some distillers craft distillers. The license also has an allowance created for warehousing to allows distillers to store craft spirits non-contiguous locations provided they have the also-newly-created craft distillers permit. The Class 1 craft distillery would also be able to purchase vermouth and sell it at the distillery’s tasting room now called a “Craft Distillery Premises Permit License” instead of a “Craft Distillery Tasting Permit License.”
The proposed legislation also creates a Class 2 Craft Distillers license which would allow the manufacturer of up to 100,000 gallons of spirits per year, is not eligible for the self-distribution exemption, and would be able to own and transfer spirits to a Distilling Pub wholly owned and operated by the Class 2 Craft Distiller. Up to 5,000 gallons of craft spirits in Illinois may be transferred under this Illinois Class 2 Craft Distillers License. Additionally, non-contiguous storage would be allowed as well under a Craft Distillers Warehouse Permit.
The bill also creates a Distilling Pub license under the Illinois Liquor Control Act allowing the Distilling Pub licensee to manufacture up to 5,000 gallons of craft spirits per year on the premises, much like in Illinois Brewpub, and would allow, in addition to the sale of its own alcohol, the Distilling Pub to offer for sale at retail liquor purchased from a licensed distributor or importing distributor. Think wine and spirits and beer all being served at a craft distillers premises in Chicago, or Peoria or Rockford or Effingham or the Quad Cities.
I know what you’re thinking – isn’t there a better name than “pub”” Yes, you’re right. house, den, lounge, bar, tavern, cantina, parlor, hole or boozer… anything would have been creative and better. But in keeping with how this bill mirrors the exact allowances and language granted Illinois craft brewers, it is unlikely to change. The point is still well taken: these are all welcome changes to increase the availability of craft spirits and promote and foster the craft spirits industry in the State of Illinois.