Bill Providing Parity for Craft Distillers Gains House Approval

Legislation sponsored by State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) that would bring regulations for craft distillers in line with rules for craft brewers and wine makers cleared the Illinois House on Thursday.

According to Demmer, the bill is about parity. “This bill would provide craft distillers with many of the same benefits afforded to craft brewers,” said Demmer. “House Bill 2675 eases regulations to help these small businesses get started so they can thrive.”

Specifically, HB 2675 amends the Liquor Control Act and splits the existing craft distiller license into two classes dependent upon the volume of spirits manufactured each year. It also provides a process by which those who produce less than 5,000 gallons of spirits per year can apply for an exemption to self-distribute their product.

“The 90th District is home to Whiskey Acres Distilling Company in DeKalb and Kennay Farms Distilling in Rochelle,” added Demmer. “The revised licensing and exemption processes outlined in this bill would allow these business owners to establish and grow without being subject to overly-burdensome regulations.”

Upon learning of the bill’s passage in the House, Jamie Walter, President and CEO of Whiskey Acres Distilling Company, said the legislation would provide his business a pathway to future growth and success. “Having parity with the wine and craft beer industries creates new opportunities for us to increase sales, generate additional revenue and create more jobs in our community,” said Walter. “Whiskey Acres is excited about the future and is thankful for the help Representative Demmer has offered our business as well as the entire IL craft distilling industry.”

HB 2675 now moves to the Senate for consideration.