House passes craft beer bill


SPRINGFIELD -- Craft brewers will be able to self-distribute a limited amount of their beer if Gov. Pat Quinn signs a bill approved Monday by the Illinois House.

The House voted 112-0 for the proposal, Senate Bill 754. The measure was written in response to a lawsuit by Missouri-based Anheuser-Busch InBev, which had been rebuffed by the courts when it tried to purchase a Chicago-based distributor.

U.S. Judge Robert Dow Jr. ruled that Illinois law, which allowed in-state brewers to self-distribute, but not out-of-state brewers, was unfair.  Dow also ruled that self-distribution rights would be taken away from all brewers in Illinois if no new law was enacted by May 31.

The measure allows every craft brewer to distribute up to 15,000 kegs of beer within Illinois.

Developers of a fledgling Springfield microbrewery, Rolling Meadows Brewery, had said their operation couldn’t operate at a profit if it had to sell its beer through a distributor.

The bill passed the Senate May 3. It now goes to the governor for consideration.

Andy Brownfield can be reached at (217) 782-3095.