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Jim J

Illinois Law Questions

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These are excellent questions, I wish someone had answered. We are trying to open a DSP in Belleville, Illinois and I was a little taken back at the amount of "Spirits" on the state application for a "Class 9 Micro-Distiller". With the equipment we have in place, running at full production we would end up with 14,836 "Proof Gallons" per year, leaving us with no room for expansion unless we pay for the "Clas 1 Distiller's" permit.

Where did you locate the law specifying 30,000 gallon limit for craft distillery? This is only one hurdle for us, the primary being that our building is no sprinkled and we are working with the county to come up with something. Our stills are electric direct submersion heated, no open flame anywhere, but rightfully so they are concerned with storage of combustible liquids.

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Contact me at info@illinoisdistillers.org, I am the president of the Illinois Craft Distillers Association, and I would both encourage you to join the Association and try to give you some assistance to start.

1) It is 30,000 gal going up to 35,000 gal. The stuff on the ILCC website and forms is out of date, check the legislation itself. Also, there are members that are currently working toward lobbying for an increase to 60,000 or more. And yes, the state goes by WINE GALLONS and not proof gallons.

2) Not quite sure what you mean by not needing bond for two years. You need bond as soon as you start to produce alcohol, and to get your permit. There should be little difference between the amounts for state and federal, since you pay the tax at almost the same time, except you won't pay the state tax when going to a distributor. But you still have to bond it for that amount.

3) Yes, you need at least one COLA for your application. You need your local license approved. You need your federal permit approved. You need a distributor, or a statement filed that you are not supplying retailers and you are the distributor (on their form). You need to be inspected by the state after submitting your application.

By the way, a Class 9 license is a "Craft Distiller", not a "Micro-Distiller" in Illinois.

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These are excellent questions, I wish someone had answered. We are trying to open a DSP in Belleville, Illinois and I was a little taken back at the amount of "Spirits" on the state application for a "Class 9 Micro-Distiller". With the equipment we have in place, running at full production we would end up with 14,836 "Proof Gallons" per year, leaving us with no room for expansion unless we pay for the "Clas 1 Distiller's" permit.

Where did you locate the law specifying 30,000 gallon limit for craft distillery? This is only one hurdle for us, the primary being that our building is no sprinkled and we are working with the county to come up with something. Our stills are electric direct submersion heated, no open flame anywhere, but rightfully so they are concerned with storage of combustible liquids.

Your local fire marshall can often be your biggest challenge. And for the quantities you are talking about, you will have to be a high hazard location, H1, with sufficient fire suppression and other fire protection engineering, UNLESS almost all of it is in wooden barrels. Then, oddly, it does not count in the limits.

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Does Illinois allow craft distillers to self distribute like craft breweries?

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There is not self distribution of spirits in Illinois. The ILCC seemed to indicate this might be an area to work on with regulators but even if something happens on that, I would think it is a couple years down the road.

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If we have our federal permit, can we purchase grain alcohol while we wait for our rectifiers license in Illinois?

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If we have our federal permit, can we purchase grain alcohol while we wait for our rectifiers license in Illinois?

No, you need your Illinois license before you can purchase or sell beverage alcohol. You decided to get a rectifiers license instead of a craft license? That seems odd, unless you plan to produce more than 35,000 gallons/year. Actually, likely the limit will become 100,000 gallons/year, the ICDA has propose legislation that has passed the IL House that increases the limit to 100,000 gallons. By the way, since you have your DSP, you can become a provisional member of the ICDA and will automatically become a regular member when you receive your IL craft distiller's permit.

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There is not self distribution of spirits in Illinois. The ILCC seemed to indicate this might be an area to work on with regulators but even if something happens on that, I would think it is a couple years down the road.

Self distribution seems off the table for now. The IL wine and spirits distributor lobby is pushing hard against any expansion of privileges of the craft distillers permit that can be seen in any way to weaken the 3-tier system, including any kind of self distribution. The ILCC thought it would be reasonable to ask for, to get parity with the wine and beer makers, and because they like consistency across the industries to make enforcement simpler. But the distributor lobbies are even looking to push back on current privileges for wineries and breweries.

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