Illinois craft brewers introduce ‘BEER Act’ for more self-distribution privileges

Craft breweries in the state sustained devastating losses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic; limited self-distribution privileges a ‘lifeline’

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild has filed a bill at the Illinois legislature they say would provide a lifeline to brewpubs across the state hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The "BEER Act" would grant craft breweries limited self-distribution privileges.

"COVID has proved to be incredibly challenging for our small brewers around the state," said Danielle D’Alessandro, executive director of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild.

D’Alessandro said the Brewers Economic Equity and Relief (BEER) Act of 2021 "removes outdated legislation" and offers a lifeline to small businesses.

The owner of Rock Island nano brewery Radicle Effect Brewwerks, Rich Nunez, said he supports self-distribution privileges for brewpubs. Under current regulations, brewpubs must utilize a third-party distributor to move product to retail locations. 

"Being able to not have to rely on distributorships, and just being able to go out and sell the product yourself," Nunez said. "If you have the means to — might only be just a one mile or two mile radius — but that is something that then is in your control."

According to a press release from the Brewers Guild, the measure would allow brewpubs to distribute up to 200 barrels, or 4% of their maximum annual production per year. 

"We’re talking about an incredibly small amount of beer, but for these brew pubs it makes a difference, it gives them access to their local grocery store, or their local bar or restaurant that wants to carry their product," D’Alessandro said.

"The businesses need the money, the local municipalities need the money. The state needs the money, and if you just put roadblocks along the way, no one’s winning," Nunez said.


March 8, 2021 at 08:50PM

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