While Illinois residents aren’t much closer to finally being able to receive direct shipments from Kermit Lynch (except to the extent that wonderful man sells anything from U.S. wineries).  The provisions of new amendments to Illinois Wine Shipper’s license have made it easier for wineries to have third-parties appointed to ship on their behalf.

Public Act 99-904, effective January 1, 2017, amends Illinois’ Liquor Control Act (235 ILCS 5/5-1 et seq.)  As part of the amendments it effects, it grants third-party agents the ability to ship wine directly to residents provided the wineries hold an Illinois Wine Shipper’s license to third-party providers and have been appointed as agents shipping on behalf of the Illinois winery shipper’s license holders (out-of-state wineries that have been granted the license) (in-state wineries as well).

Direct from the new amendments:

Any third party, except for a common carrier, authorized to ship wine on behalf of a first-class or second-class wine manufacturer’s licensee, a first-class or second-class wine-maker’s licensee, a limited wine manufacturer’s licensee, or a person who is licensed to make wine under the laws of another state shall also be disclosed by the winery shipper’s licensee, and a copy of the written appointment of the third-party wine provider, except for a common carrier, to the wine manufacturer shall be filed with the State Commission as a supplement to the winery shipper’s license application or any renewal thereof. The winery shipper’s license holder shall affirm under penalty of perjury, as part of the winery shipper’s license application or renewal, that he or she only ships wine, either directly or indirectly through a third-party provider, from the licensee’s own production.

In a December Informational Bulletin, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission summarized the new law as follows:

The new law requires that a winery shipper’s license holder submit the name and address of all third party providers authorized to ship wine on behalf of the license holder. A third party provider is any party, except a common carrier, which is authorized to ship wine on behalf of a first-class or second-class wine manufacturer’s licensee, a first-class or second-class wine-maker’s licensee, a limited wine manufacturer’s licensee, or a person who is licensed to make wine under the laws of another state.

Third party providers must report by February 1st of each calendar year to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission a statement detailing each shipment made to Illinois residents. The first statement is due on February 1, 2018, for calendar year 2017. Third party providers acting on behalf of the license holders consent to the jurisdiction of the Commission and the State of Illinois.

PA 99-904 also creates an agency relationship between the third party provider and the winery shipper’s license holder, whereby the third party provider acts as the agent of the license holder and the license holder is responsible for acts and omissions of the third party provider.

The law still prohibits beer and liquor from being directly shipped by out of state distilleries, breweries (or in-state for that matter), but just as Granholm was the long fought realization of domestic wineries looking for more rational treatment amongst the states in the 21st century and led to many states reconsidering direct shipment.  Perhaps someday, breweries and distilleries will achieve similar national consensus and craft enthusiasts in Illinois will be able to open the mailbox to find Pliny the Elder shipped fresh and direct from Russian River Brewery at a cost that doesn’t include a mark-up for a middle-man in excess of what it actually costs to ship something.

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