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US. A battle is brewing over a bill that would allow microbrewers in the state to continue distributing their own beer.

Since the end of Prohibition Illinois has had a three-tier alcohol system: manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
Microbreweries, which are manufacturers, are aloud to distribute their own beer.
But, when Anheuser-Busch wanted to buy an Illinois based distributor they were denied.
Anheuser-Busch then challenged the decision saying it was discrimination and a federal judge agreed.
17th District Senator Donne Trotter says, "The judge stayed the resolution so hopefully we could resolve the situation legislatively before he acted."
Now a bill is making its way through the Illinois legislature that would establish a cap for microbreweries while still enforcing the three-tier system for distributors like Anheuser-Busch. The goal is to help keep microbreweries in the state afloat.
Trotter says, "What this legislation will do it caps the amount of barrels that they would be able to make to 15,000 and of that 15,000 they can self-distribute 7,500."
Supporters say microbreweries should still be aloud to distribute otherwise they can't compete with giants like Anheuser-Busch.
Virgil Grider, a beer buyer for Radio Maria in downtown Champaign, says, "This bill will be awesome because it will allow the smaller breweries to get their beer outside their general area."
Opponents argue the bill's cap for microbreweries is too high.....and that the smaller businesses could still succeed with a lower ceiling.
Senator Trotter says he expects they will pass the bill sometime after Easter break.

18 Apr. 2011

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