Schlafly Brewing of St. Louis, Missouri had plans to open a brand new taproom in Chicago. However, Illinois craft brewing laws have put a stop to that for the time being. Chicago is certainly a hub of some really great craft beer. But, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission has a law in place that limits craft brewers from also opening brewpubs, if they produce more than thirty-thousand barrels of beer per year: Shlafly produces 56,000.
Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois President Bob Myers says the law exists in order to keep big brewers like Anheuser-Busch from opening multiple brewpubs in Illinois.
However, a possible new law might allow brewers a fifty-thousand barrel per year limit. Chief Legal Counsel Rick Haymaker is behind this possible rule change, and is motivated by several out-of-state craft brewers who would like to open brewpubs in Chicago. After all, craft beer culture can only improve a city.
Schlafly had actually found a location and were ready to put down a deposit, but they were stopped by the Liquor Commission. Because of this law, Schlafly cannot at present obtain an Illinois liquor license. CEO Dan Kopman says: “Right now our project is on hold and the building we were looking at will likely be leased to another tenant.”