Illinois Craft Distillers Association

Illinois Craft Distillers Association

Until the 1700s, over 70 distilleries functioned in Illinois before prohibition. Post-prohibition, the landscape looks a little different. Like other US states, Illinois has had to work hard to rebuild its distilling industry, but it has fast become a popular industry for locals, and spirit lovers out of state. Part of Illinois craft distillers success is because of the promotion from the Illinois Craft Distillers Association.

The Illinois Craft Distillers Association is the voice for Illinois’ local distillers, and in this article, we’ll be learning more about their aims, membership requirements, and what the distillery landscape looks like in the state.

What Is The Illinois Craft Distillers Association?

The Illinois Craft Distillers Association is a non-profit organization that was created by local craft distilleries in Illinois.

The main aims of the craft distillers association are to increase awareness of local distilleries, educate the local community, and maintain relationships with local lawmakers to help push through, and lobby for, legislation that will benefit the industry and its consumers.

The Illinois Craft Distillers Association was founded in 2013, and it also helps facilitate education and research into the craft distilling industry.

The Illinois Craft Distillers Association also has several committees that are spearheading new initiatives in the state, with plenty more initiatives still in the pipeline.

Which Distilleries Are Members Of The Illinois Craft Distillers Association?

The number of distillers in Illinois is gradually increasing, and the industry (and consumers) outside of the state are beginning to recognize Illinois craft spirits as real competitors in the industry.

Membership is continuing to grow, but here are the current members of the association, including those in the Chicago area:

Additional member associations include Illinois Grape Growers & Vintners Association, and Illinois Craft Brewers Guild.

How Do I Join The Illinois Craft Distillers Association?

Membership to the Illinois Craft Distillers Association is open to enthusiasts licensed distillers, industry tradespeople and suppliers, and more.

As long as you share the mission of the distillers association or you work in the industry, you’ll be able to apply for a membership! There are several membership levels on offer, including:

Enthusiast Membership

If you’re a big fan of local spirits (especially those from Illinois), you’re welcome to apply for an enthusiast membership.

Although you won’t be able to vote, you’ll get plenty of newsletter updates, and access to exclusive events. Plus, your membership fee will be supporting the association, and in turn, benefit local distilleries!

Associate Members

If you’re a supplier, do business within the distilling industry or you’re a tradesperson in the industry, you can apply for an associate membership.

Associate members will have access to advertised slots in the monthly newsletter, access to exclusive events, regular newsletter updates, and more. However, associate members will not be able to vote.

Illinois Craft Distillers Association (1)

Provisional Distillery Members

If you’re setting up a distillery but it’s not yet functional, you can still apply to be a member of the association with a provisional distillery membership.

Provisional distillery members will receive most of the same benefits above, however, they will not have a right to vote until they become fully licensed.

Distillery Members

Once your distillery is fully-licensed, you can graduate to a distillery member’s license, or apply for one already if your distillery is already functional.

Distillery members will need a federal Distilled Spirits Plants license and hold a Class 9 permit to be members.

With this membership, you’ll have access to monthly newsletters, invitations to exclusive events, access to marketing materials, and voting rights so you can have your say in legal matters that affect the industry.

Note: membership fees may vary.

For more information on membership fees and how to apply, contact the Illinois Craft Distillers Association directly.

State Fees

To become a licensed distillery in Illinois, you may require several licenses. The exact licenses you require will depend on the type of distillery you’re running.

Fees vary between licenses, but you can expect to pay anything from $600 for a Class 3 Brewer license, to $3,600 for a Class 1 Distiller or Class 2 Rectifier License.

We’ll take a closer look at exactly what licenses are on offer below.

Licensing Requirements

Here are the manufacturing licenses available in Illinois:

  • Class 1 Distiller: $3,600
  • Class 2 Rectifier $3,600
  • Class 3 Brewer $900
  • Class 4 First-Class Wine Manufacturer $600
  • Class 5 Second-Class Wine Manufacturer $1,200
  • Class 6 First-Class Winer Maker $600
  • Class 7 Second-Class Wine Maker $1,200
  • Class 8 Limited Wine Manufacturer $120
  • Class 9 Craft Distiller $1,800

In addition to state licenses, you may also need to request the following federal licenses:

  • TTB 5110.41 basic permit
  • TTB 5100.24 distilled spirit plant
  • TTB 5110.74 federal license
  • Distillery Restrictions

With some licenses, you cannot:

  • Produce more than 50,000 gallons of alcohol
  • Have anyone under the age of 21 on your premises
  • Be subject to a restriction on the number of gallons you can have in your tasting rooms
  • You may not be able to ship out-of-state without the appropriate licenses
  • It is illegal to produce moonshine at any distillery

The Bottom Line

The Illinois Craft Distillers Association is the voice of the Illinois distilling industry.

As the number of budding distillers grows and business booms in the state, the association keeps working to increase distillery exposure, work with lawmakers to implement beneficial legislation, and much more.

If you’re an Illinois resident, don’t forget to head down to one of your local distilleries and try their impressive selection of spirits – or, you can apply for an enthusiast membership at the association and give your local distilleries even more support!

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