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This policy defines the procedures which must be followed in order for a retailer to manufacture and sell its own beer.
It is the policy of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission to allow retailers to
brew their own beer on their retail premises for sale to the public.
The alcoholic industry operates on a three tier system: manufacturers, distributors and retailers. In order to prevent the prohibited practice of a“tied house,” members of one tier are prohibited from owning any interest in
another tier. Thus, the holder of a manufacturer’s license is not generally
allowed to hold a retailer’s license.
However, in response to the growing development of micro-breweries, the Illinois
Legislature, in 1993, amended the Statute to provide for a Brew Pub license. The
Brew Pub license essentially carves out a narrow exception to the general rule
that a manufacturer cannot also be a retailer.
A.235 ILCS 5/1-3.08. Manufacturer
“Manufacturer” means every brewer, fermenter, distiller, rectifier, wine maker,
blender, processor, bottler or person who fills or refills an original package,
whether for himself or for another, and others engaged in brewing, fermenting,
distilling, rectifying or bottling alcoholic liquors.
B.235 ILCS 5/1-3.17. Retailer
“Retailer” means a person who sells, or offers for sale, alcoholic liquor for
use or consumption and not for resale in any form.
C.235 ILCS 5/5-1(n) Brew Pub
A brew pub license shall allow the licensee to manufacturer beer only on the
premises specified on the license, to make sales of the beer manufactured on the
premises to importing distributors, distributors and to non-licensees for use
and consumption, to store the beer upon the premises, and to sell and offer for
sale at retail.
D.235 ILCS 5/1-3.13. Manufacture
“Manufacture” means to distill, rectify, ferment, brew, make, mix, concoct,
process, blend, bottle or fill an original package with an alcoholic liquor,
whether for oneself or for another, and includes blending but does not include
the mixing or other preparation of drinks for serving by those persons
authorized and permitted in this Act to serve drinks for consumption on the
premises where sold. All containers or packages of blended alcoholic liquors
shall have affixed thereto a label setting forth and stating clearly the names
of all ingredients which the blended alcoholic liquors offered for sale shall
A. Brewing on Premises for Sale at Retail. Pursuant to 235 ILCS 5/5-1(n), a brew pub license requires and permits the
- the licensee must manufacture the beer on the licensed premises;
- the licensee must store and sell the beer from the licensed premises;
- the licensee may sell the beer to distributors and importing distributors for resale;
- the licensee may sell and offer for sale the beer at retail for consumption only on the licensed premises, and
- the licensee may sell and offer for sale other alcoholic beverages at retail.
B. The ILCC views a Brew Pub as a retailer which manufactures its own beer. All
retailer statutes and regulations apply. A Brew Pub licensee may not obtain a
C. The Commission has received recent inquiries about activities which may be
taking place upon the premises of “brew pubs.” Prior to the enactment of the “Brew Pub” statute [235 ILCS 5/1-3.33; 5/5-1(n)] entities seeking to conduct
business under the umbrella of a “brew pub” were required to secure both a
retailer and a brewer license. Local approval/licensing was also required of
the “retailer” aspects of such a business. When the General Assembly enacted the amendments to the Illinois Liquor Control
Act, referenced above, the “brew pub” was as defined as follows:
5/1-3.33. “Brew Pub’ means a person who manufactures beer only at a designated
premises to make sales to importing distributors, distributors, and to
non-licensees for use and consumption only, who stores beer at the designated
premises, and who is allowed to sell at retail. (Source: P.A. 88-91)” The
licensing description of a “brew pub” is as follows: “A brew pub license shall
allow the licensee to manufacture beer only on the premises specified in the
license, to make sales of the beer manufactured on the premises to importing
distributors, distributors, and to non-licensees for use and consumption, to
store the beer upon the premises, and to sell and offer for sale at retail.”
Some confusion may have arisen from a reading of the portion of the statute
which dealt with the right of a manufacturer to secure one retailer license,
which predated the foregoing “brew pub” legislation. Section 5/6-4(e) provided
that the manufacturer which had received a retailer’s license was permitted to
sell “beer only.”
The omission of a similar limitation on the brew pub license was intended to not
restrict the brew pub licensee to such “sale of beer only” upon the licensed
premises. It was the intent of the legislation, and it is the position of this Commission, that a brew pub licensee may sell wine and distilled spirits, in
addition to, beer only for consumption upon its licensed premises. This
therefore allows brew pub licensees to purchase for resale whatever alcoholic
liquors all other retail liquor licensees can, subject only to the type of
license the entity has secured from the local liquor control commissioner.
Further, the question has been posed whether a brew pub can bottle its product
for sale to retail consumers for “off-premises” consumption. Notwithstanding
the nature of the local license issued the business, i.e., combination, on- and
off-premises, the Illinois Liquor Control Act does allow sales for“off-premises” consumption. A brew pub which wants its product to be able to be
sold for such “off-premises” consumption, would have to act as any other brewer
and register a distributor, which will handle the product for retail purchase.
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