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Moline brewer says new Illinois law makes crafting beer easier

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MOLINE, Illinois-- Allison Vanwert jokingly describes her brewery as the smallest in the world. She's a brewer at Rebellion Brew Haus in downtown Moline.

While she enjoys creating her own, carefully crafted beers, she said she's excited about a new Illinois law that makes it easier for her to create new beers with other breweries.

"Normally, when brewers do these collaborations, you have to figure out where you brew because wherever you're brewing it is where you have to sell it," she explained. "You can't just get together and brew and sell it in both places."

That's all changing with the new law. Governor Rauner signed a bill earlier this week that allows breweries to buy and sell other craft beers directly.

"That's the part I'm the most excited about, and other brewers I've talked to are excited about," Vanwert said.

Before this law, breweries had to buy beer from a distributor, cutting into their profits.

Now, they can go straight to the source. And Vanwert said that could mean more variety in Rebellion's taproom.

The law also makes it easier for some breweries to transport and store their beer.

Breweries with off-site warehouses or taprooms used to have to sell their beer to a distributor, which would pick it up from the brewery. The brewery then had to buy their beer back to get it to the warehouse or taproom.

"We're a tiny brewery," Vanwert said. "And so just in terms of profit margins and everything, it's not really realistic for us to go through these major distributors because it's so expensive."

With the new law, Vanwert said Rebellion might look at off-site warehouses or taprooms. She said that could make it easier to get their beer to consumers.

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