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State Senate Passes SB754, Illinois Craft Beer Steps Closer to Safety

By Karl Klockars in Food on May 3, 2011 8:20PM

SavetheCraft Logo.jpg By a vote of 48-1-3, the Illinois Senate passed SB754, which maintained and defined the right of a craft beer brewer and brewpub to self-distribute their product, defined a "craft brewer" as one that produces less than 15,000 barrels of beer a year with the right to distribute 7500 of those barrels, as well as serving as a bulwark against Anheuser-Busch's efforts to take a controlling share in a distributor.

Nearly every brewer in Illinois, including big names like Half Acre and Metropolitan, has chosen not to self-distribute, but for two outfits (downstate's Big Muddy and local Argus) who do exercise their right to self-distribute the Senate's passing of the bill should give them hope. Furthermore, the eventual passing of this bill would mean all future microbrewers will have the option of bypassing the expense of distribution until they've got their feet underneath them, which would be a positive move for the state's craft beer community. One major sticking point is the requirement of brewpubs to have a separate facility established if they want to bring their products to market, with bill sponsor Donne Trotter saying "if they want to act like a craft brewer they have to look like one too."

The argument isn't over yet - the bill needs to pass the House (where it faces potential amendments and some major forces against it) and then receive Governor Quinn's signature, but the Senate vote was a major hurdle. The roots of this process goes back to February, and we've been tracking the entire bill's process at GuysDrinkingBeer and will continue to follow the process until it becomes law - or dies trying.