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Wine Retailers Statement on Critical Legislative Reform to Illinois Alcohol Distribution

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National Association of Wine Retailers Thank Senator Rachelle Crowe for Sponsoring Senate Bill 2976

NAWRMarch 3rd (Springfield, ILLINOIS)—The National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR) issued the following statement concerning the introduction of Senate Bill 2976, legislation that would increase the number of wineries that could self-distribute wine in Illinois as well as increase the amount of wine in-state and out-of-state wineries may self distribute in the state without using a wholesaler.

“The National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR) would like to thank Senator Rachelle Crowe for her introduction of Senate Bill 2976, legislation that NAWR urges all Illinois lawmakers to support.

“The bill, increasing the number of wineries that may sell directly to Illinois retailers without using a wholesaler and how much wine wineries may self distribute, will bring considerable relief to Illinois wineries, provide Illinois retailers with much more choice in the products they offer consumers, and give Illinois consumers access to a greater array of products.

Benefits of Winery Self Distribution

“Winery self-distribution is a system of wine sales whereby wineries both inside and outside Illinois sell products directly to retailers and restaurants without the necessity and added expense of using an Illinois wholesaler to distribute their wines. Too often wineries inside Illinois and across the country are unable to find a wholesaler to represent them in the state, leaving them only the self-distribution option for getting their products on the shelves of Illinois wine retailers and on the wine lists of restaurants.

“Unfortunately, the current law limits self-distribution rights to wineries inside and outside Illinois that produce no more than 25,000 gallons of wine annually. This cap excludes too many wineries. Moreover, the current law limits wineries to self-distributing no more than 5,000 gallons of wine annually to restaurants and retailers in the state. 

Retailers and Consumers Benefit from Passage of SB 2976

“Retailers benefit tremendously by being able to purchase inventory directly from wineries instead of wholesalers. When forced to procure their inventory primarily from the relatively small selection of wines offered by wholesalers, retailers are unable to compete on selection and instead are forced to compete on price, which results in a ‘race to the bottom’ and far lower margins for retailers.

“Illinois wine consumers also benefit from self-distribution by having access to a greater diversity of wines at retailers and restaurants.

“NAWR strongly urges Illinois lawmakers to support SB 2976. The bill is a commonsense and much-needed reform to a system of alcohol distribution that was born in a different world under different circumstances almost a century ago.”

About NAWR

The National Association of Wine Retailers is a nationwide alliance of fine wine retailers with members in Illinois and across the country. Its mission is to represent and promote the unique interests of wine sellers nationwide through advocacy, education, research, and litigation.

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