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New Illinois Law Toughens Stance Against Direct Shipping

August 29, 2016

Under a new Illinois law, retailers shipping wine into the state could face felony charges. Illinois governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2989 into law on Friday. The legislation bolsters oversight and enforcement of shipping wine into the state and transporting beverage alcohol across state lines, while also raising licensing fees for suppliers, distributors and retailers alike.

While retailers were already prohibited from shipping wine into Illinois (unlike wineries, who are permitted to do so if licensed with the state), the new law toughens penalties against those who do. Illinois’ two biggest spirits and wine distributors—Breakthru Beverage and Southern Wine & Spirits—were proponents of the new law. Together they funded a trade group—Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois—to push for its passage. Opponents of the law—including the National Association of Wine Retailers—say it will end up costing the state millions of dollars in lost tax revenue and licensing fees. —Peter Zwiebach

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