Microbrew bill a lot of swill: Southtown Star

SB 754, a bill that addresses the distribution needs of microbrewers, such as Metropolitan and Half Acre, both Ravenswood brewers, was criticized by the SouthTown Star in an editorial.

“Under the guise of “protecting Illinois” from health risks, the law creates a fourth tier of legal restrictions that allows brew pubs to distribute their beer but only if they create a second brewery offsite. It’s a big but,” the editorial says.

The editorial notes that beer distribution in Illinois is largely a oligarchy controlled by a few families, including the Wirtz family and a relative of Jesse Jackson, Jr.

“There is nothing about the bill that remotely protects Illinois beer drinkers from anything. It mostly protects Illinois beer distributors from added competition, most notably from that giant evil empire of hops — Anheuser Busch InBev — which was trying to sneak into the state by buying a Chicago distributor,” the SouthTown Star says.

“What small brewers mostly wanted was a fair method to avoid the 25 percent added cost to their bill that mandatory distributorship arrangements demand,” it says.

The bill, which is waiting for the governor’s approval or veto, was criticized by Rolling Meadows Brewery owner Chris Trudeau. Trudeau told the Illinois Statehouse news he hasn’t opened his microbrewery in Springfield yet, but noted that self-distribution would be essential to his business. “It would really affect our business plan as a brewery. Instead of just being able to make the kegs on our farm … and drive it downtown, we’d have to send it to distributors,” said Trudeau.

Read more at the Southtown Star

Read more at Illinois Statehouse News

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Patrick Boylan

About Patrick Boylan

Patrick grew up near LaFollette Park on the West Side. He contends that the very best Italian beef sandwiches are made on the West Side and has a strange love of the flat pizza from that part of the city. Patrick led The Bulldog to win seven journalism awards in 2011, including four awards to Patrick as a solo or a team member. He is very proud of The Dog's coverage of politics and schools in the neighborhood. Patrick wrote for the Times of Northwest Indiana as a stringer covering Cook County Government, for the Chicago Tribune as a stringer on the Chicago Wolves and for ChicagoNow as a writer before starting The Dog. He wrote for four years for ChiTownDailyNews.org as a media commentator and spent about 20 years in operations at city newspapers, including nine years as owner of his own distribution company. Prior to that he spent about nine years in public relations. Patrick has a Masters degree from the University of Colorado. He attended Eastern Illinois University for undergrad and Weber High School and St. Peter Canisius grammar school. The two-flat he owns was built in 1912 and has never been featured, to his knowledge, in any major motion pictures despite having a way-cool garden. Patrick purchased the property in 1994 and "couldn't afford to buy it now." His daughter is a college student in California. He lives in the house with his wife, Jane, and two cats who often sit in on his phone interviews.

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