Consumer rights

Craft brewers demand direct-to-consumer shipping rights

Illinois craft brewers are set to get a new avenue of sales following legislative action.

The industry pushed for passage of the Brewers Economic and Equity Relief Act, or BEER Act, which supporters said was designed to help craft breweries modernize and recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The bill is heading to Governor JB Pritzker’s office, minus the provisions that would have allowed permanent home delivery and direct-to-consumer shipping.

“These are two important provisions on which we were unable to gain support or come to an agreement with the beer distributors,” said Danielle D’Alessandro, executive director of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild.

The legislation guarantees new and extended privileges to breweries and breweries, most of which are classified as small independent businesses.

The bill creates a new license for Illinois craft beer producers, the Class 3 brewer, which includes all of the privileges of a craft brewer’s license but adds self-distribution. Class 3 brewers can produce up to 5,000 barrels per year and self-distribute up to 200 barrels with no geographic limitations.

The legislation will also codify the possibility for craft beer, wine or spirits manufacturers who produce more than one type of product to self-distribute. Previously, a craft brewery that also operated a distillery would lose the self-distribution privileges to which it was entitled under its craft brewer’s license.

“I really see this as an opportunity for brewers to be innovative and creative,” D’Allesandro said.

The new law will allow breweries to offer permanent curbside pickup for customers.

The craft beer industry has exploded in recent years, with small breweries and breweries popping up all over Illinois and across the country. As of January, there were nearly 300 craft breweries in Illinois.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.