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Friday, January 22, 2021

Liquor Delivery Bill Passes Both Houses in the Illinois General Assembly

During the recent “lame duck” session, a bill passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly facilitating liquor delivery by retailers. If signed by the Governor, Ill. S.B. 54 would amend the Liquor Control Act to provide that nothing in the Liquor Control Act will “deny, limit, remove, or restrict the ability of a holder of a retailer’s license to deliver alcoholic liquor to the purchaser for use or consumption,” with just a few exceptions. Except for Chicago, home rule and non-home rule units alike may not regulate the delivery of alcoholic liquor inconsistent with the proposed statutory amendments.

“Delivery” means the movement of alcoholic liquor purchased from a licensed retailer to a consumer through:

1. delivery within the licensed retailer’s parking lot, including curbside, for pickup by the consumer;

2. delivery by an owner, officer, director, shareholder, or employee of the licensed retailer; or

3. delivery by a third-party contractor, independent contractor, or agent with whom the licensed retailer has contracted to make deliveries of alcoholic liquors.

Deliveries must be made within 12 hours from the time the alcoholic liquor leaves the retailer’s licensed premises, and “delivery” does not include use of common carriers. While nothing in the Liquor Control Act will limit the authorized deliveries, other laws surely would including the Vehicle Code’s open container law.

With the Governor’s signature, “on-premises only” licensees and other licensed retailers could make the liquor deliveries authorized by the amendments. Of course, many local liquor commissioners are already allowing temporary delivery of alcoholic liquor according to the guidance issued by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, many municipalities allow delivery and carry-out of “cocktails to-go” based on a previous statutory authorization, but that authorization is due to sunset on June 2, 2021. 

Although the liquor delivery landscape is not yet settled since this has not been signed into law yet, municipalities may want to proactively review their ordinances and be ready to address any potential changes once the legislation is enacted, assuming the Governor signs it into law.

Post authored by Daniel J. Bolin, Ancel Glink


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