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Craft Brewing and Distilling News for March 28, 2017

March 28, 2017

•A bill that would permit craft distilleries to bypass wholesalers and distribute their own products directly has been proposed in Illinois by a Republican state senator, Dan McConchie, who represents a district north of Chicago. The bill, which McConchie says has bipartisan support, would allow distilleries producing 100,000 gallons a year or less of spirits to distribute up to 25,000 gallons directly. A similar law was passed in 2011 allowing craft brewers limited self-distribution. Thus far, the proposal hasn’t gained support from all the state’s 31 craft distillers. Paul Hletko, founder of Few Spirits, has spoken out against it, while Fred Robinson, co-owner of Copper Fiddle Distillery, has been a vocal proponent.

•Chicago’s Glunz Imports will distribute Stiegl’s Lemon Radler throughout the South and Midwest, beginning on May 1. The 2%-abv Austrian import is a mix of Stiegl’s Goldbrau lager with lemon juice and weighs in at 175 calories a 16-oz. can. Stiegl’s “Zitrone” Radler does not contain any artificial sweeteners and is sweetened only by fruit sugar. Radler means cyclist in German and is the drink of choice for many who bike through the Alps.

•Sonoma Springs Brewing Co. will release three beers from its portfolio in cans for the first time. The company’s Kolsch (5.2%-abv), Subliminal Gold IPA (7%-abv) and Hazy-Cali North East inspired IPA (7.5%-abv) will be available in 16-ounce cans starting tomorrow at the brewery’s taproom and at locations throughout Northern California. Though Sonoma Springs initially is only canning three beers, it plans to expand its canned offerings in the future.

•Humboldt Distillery is expanding beyond its home market of California. The craft distiller has linked with a network of wholesalers including Southern Glazer’s, RNDC, Breakthru and others to launch in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. Humboldt Distillery produces a series of eponymously-branded, certified organic spirits. They include a vodka ($20), Original and Spiced rums (both $24) and a cannabis-infused vodka that is recommended to be used in place of gin ($30). (The cannabis-infused vodka is THC-free and legal in all 50 states.)

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