We wrote about Illinios’s new craft distilling law creating new classes of licenses for craft distillers and creating a new class of licensee called a distilling pub back in August when Governor Pritzker signed the bill.

The new license forms for the Class 1 and Class 2 Craft Distiller licenses and the distilling pub licenses are posted on the Illinois Liquor Control Commission’s website.

And the Illinois Liquor Control Commission also recently posted an FAQ-style bulletin regarding the new law that answers some questions about retailing and self-distribution under the new law.

Here is the full text of the bulletin. 

Licensing of Craft Distillers and Distilling Pubs

To:  All Illinois Craft Distillers

Public Act 101-0615, effective December 20, 2019 amends the Liquor Control Act of 1934, 235 ILCS 5/5-1(a) with regard to the licensing of craft distillers; adds 235 ILCS 5/5-1(u) creating distilling pubs; and adds 235 ILCS 5/5-1(v) creating craft distiller warehouse permits.  The law will also allow class 1 craft distillers and class 2 craft distillers to sell their own spirits and vermouth at their licensed premise location.

I am currently licensed as a craft distiller.  What can I do? 

1)    Apply for a Distilling Pub license with full-retail privileges (no self-distribution).

2)    Apply for a Class 1 craft distiller license which allows for self-distribution and manufacturing of no more than 50,000 gallons annually.

3)    Apply for a Class 2 craft distiller license which allows for up to three distilling pub locations, no self distribution, and the manufacturing of more than 50,000 gallons but no more than 100,000 gallons annually.

If you choose to convert your current craft distiller license to a Distilling Pub, you will need to pay $1,500 for the Distilling Pub license.  If you are not converting to a Distilling Pub, you will then need to apply for a Class 1 craft distiller license for $75 or you can apply for a Class 2 craft distiller license for $100. If a Class 1 or Class 2 craft distiller license is issued under your current Craft Distillers license then you will maintain the same expiration date that is referenced on your current Craft Distillers license.  Alternatively, you have the option to apply for a new Craft Distiller license and pay the $2,500 annual fee along with the corresponding Class 1 or Class 2 annual fee and be issued a new expiration date that will cover approximately a 12 month licensing period. Please contact the Licensing Division for further clarification.

 I want to self-distribute and own distiller pubs.  Is that possible?

No.  The law allows you one or the other, but not both.

I’m a licensed distiller.  Can I sell at retail?

No.  Only a Distilling Pub, Class 1 Craft Distiller and Class 2 Craft Distiller may sell at retail from their licensed premises.

If I am a Class 2 Craft Distiller can I sell other manufacturer’s spirits at my licensed premises?

No.  A Class 1 Craft Distiller and Class 2 Craft Distiller may only sell their own spirits, but also may sell vermouth purchased from a distributor.  A Distilling Pub may sell all forms of alcoholic beverages.

 Can I self-distribute as a Class 1 Craft Distiller and have a distribution agreement with a licensed Illinois Importing Distributor or Distributor.

Yes. 

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