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  The ILCC Legal Division

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Special Event Retailers (Not-For-Profit) License

I. Purpose

To set the policy of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and establish the procedures whereby Special Event Retailers (Not-For-Profit) shall be licensed and operate within the State.

II. Policy

It is the policy of this Commission that Special Event Retailers shall be licensed and allowed to purchase alcoholic beverages at “special events” in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Illinois Liquor Control Act and Rules and Regulations of this Commission.

III. Statutory And Regulatory Bases

Sec. 1-3.17.1 of the Liquor Control Act (235 ILCS 5/1-3.17.1) defines the “Special Event Retailer” as “an educational, fraternal, political, civic, religious or non-profit organization which sells or offers for sale beer or wine, or both, only for consumption at the location and on the dates designated by a special event retail license.”

Sec. 5-1(e) of the Liquor Control Act [235 ILCS 5/5-1(e)] delineates the permission granted by the “Special Event Retailer’s (Not-For-Profit) license” to“permit the licensee to purchase alcoholic liquors from an Illinois licensed distributor (unless the licensee purchases less than $500 of alcoholic liquors for the special event, in which case the licensee may purchase the alcoholic liquors from a licensed retailer) and shall allow the licensee to sell and offer for sale, at retail, alcoholic liquors for use or consumption, but not for resale in any form and only at the location and on the specific dates designated for the special event in the license. An applicant for a Special Event Retailer license must also submit with the application proof satisfactory to the State Commission that the applicant will provide dram shop liability insurance in the maximum limits and have local authority approval.”

Regulation 100.330, designated “Advertising” provides:

  1. Pursuant to Sections 6-4, 6-5, and 6-5 of the Act (235 ILCS 5/6-4, 6-5, and 6-6), no retail licensee or entity having more than a 5% interest in a retail licensee shall have any, direct or indirect, interest in or control of any advertising or promotional company which receives funds, directly or indirectly from, or for the account of, any manufacturer, non-resident dealer, broker, distributor, importing distributor or foreign importer of alcoholic beverages; nor shall any manufacturer, non-resident dealer, broker, distributor, importing distributor or foreign importer make any payment, direct or indirect, to any retailer or any other entity which provides advertising, promotional or display services for retailers in consideration of any advertising or promotional efforts of any kind not allowed under the Illinois Liquor Control Act or the rules and regulations of the Commission.
  2. Nothing herein shall prohibit any manufacturer, non-resident dealer, distributor, importing distributor, or foreign importer from sponsoring an event at a venue which sole purpose is to host live entertainment, provided that no indirect or direct payment is made to the retailer and that any reference to the retailer in any advertising is incidental to the event itself.
  3. Subsections (a) and (b) above do not apply to a person holding a Special Event Retailer’s license.

IV. Additional Terms And Definitions

The following additional terms and definitions shall be applicable to “Special Event Retailers (Not-For-Profit)”:

“Special event” shall mean “an occurrence having the same theme, the duration of which shall not exceed fifteen (15) consecutive calendar days.”

“Theme” shall mean “a recurring, unifying subject or idea,” such as is embodied in the concept of “Friday Night Fish Fry,” “Thursday Night Spaghetti Dinner,” or the like.

V. Procedures For Licensure

  1. Secure State of Illinois Special Event Retailer’s Liquor License Application and Application Instructions.
  2. If the locality in which the special event is to be held issues a “Local Special Event License,” documents necessary to secure the issuance of such a license prior to presenting the State Application to this Commission must be completed. If the locality does not issue an actual license, determine what method of approval it utilizes and secure such approval; i.e., letter from Local Liquor Commissioner or Commission indicating approval of the event. In the City of Chicago, the completed State Application must be presented to the Mayor’s License Commission which will review same and stamp the State Application with its approval.
  3. Secure Dram Shop insurance coverage for the special event, which coverage must be in amounts sufficient to satisfy the Local Liquor Commissioner, and must underwrite the premises upon which the event is to be held and all periods of time encompassing the event.
  4. Secure and bring either the documents of incorporation of the applicant, or the letter of exemption from the Illinois Department of Revenue.
  5. Bring all items referred to in A. through D. above to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, with appropriate application fee check(s).

VI. Procedures To Be Followed At The “Special Event”

  1. License Posted
    All licensees must post the Special Event Retailer (Not-For-Profit) license in plain view at the event.

  2. Beer Taps must be Clean and Sanitary
    Beer taps must be clean and sanitary. The taps must be inspected to ensure they are clean and sanitary. In cases where the distributor provides the beer taps, the distributor will be responsible for providing clean beer taps.

  3. Proper Display of the “Alcohol Pregnancy Warning” Sign
    An Alcohol Pregnancy Warning Sign is provided to each licensee. This sign must be posted at all sites where the alcoholic beverages are sold and must be visible to all patrons. It is the duty of the licensee to request more signs as needed.
  4. Pre-Mix Alcoholic Beverage Requirements
    If the licensee is selling any pre-mixed alcoholic beverages, all containers of the pre-mixed alcoholic beverages must be cleaned weekly and pre-mix destroyed weekly. Containers should be covered to prevent outside contaminates from entering. Note: All alcoholic beverages, except pre-mix, must be kept in their original containers (i.e. bottles).

  5. Requirements Prohibiting “Happy Hours” Must Be Followed
    The Happy Hour provisions of the Illinois Liquor Control Act (235 ILCS 5/6-28) apply to Special Event Retailers.

  6. Schedule of Drink Prices
    A schedule of drink prices must be available at the site of the event.

  7. Liquor Invoices Available at the Event Premises
    The invoices for liquor purchased must be available for inspection at the site of the event, not at the office or any other location. All purchases of alcoholic liquor may be made from a licensed distributor, except that purchases of up to $500 can be made from licensed retailers.

  8. Uphold Minimum Age Law
    It is a criminal offense to serve or sell alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of 21 years. It is also against the law for a person under 21 years of age to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages. The licensee must take steps to prevent the illegal sale of alcohol to persons under 21 years of age. Preventative measures include, but are not limited to, the checking of all identification for age, identity and authenticity, and the posting of warning signs for minors (included in the information package given to each approved Special Event license. Please note that local laws may establish a minimum age to sell or serve alcoholic beverages. The licensee may find out about local restriction by contacting the local authorities where the event is to be held.

  9. Prohibited service or sale to an intoxicated person
    It is against the law to serve or sell an intoxicated person alcoholic beverages.

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