Burdensome regulations that have made it difficult for some craft distillers to keep their doors open have been eased, thanks to legislation sponsored by State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) that was signed into law on Friday.
HB 2675 puts craft distillers on equal footing with craft brewers, a change Demmer says will help small local distilleries thrive. “Small craft distillers, like Whiskey Acres Distilling Company in DeKalb and Kennay Farms Distilling in Rochelle, are growing in popularity” added Demmer. “The new licensing and exemption processes included in this new law will help these business owners establish and grow their small businesses without being subject to overly-burdensome state regulations.”
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.
Upon learning of the bill’s passage in the House and Senate earlier this year, 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.”
The provisions of HB 2675 took effect immediately upon its signing.