Chicago Liquor License Would Prohibit Selling Crappy Beer


This is what every liquor license would look like if beer snobs ran the world.

The Garden Gourmet, a grocery store in Chicago’s East Village, may be granted a liquor license that allows them to sell only craft beer and higher-end wine.  No booze, no malt liquor, no fortified wines, no Budweiser.  In other words, it’ll look like my garage, minus the wine. 

The measure is designed to address concerns in this mostly dry neighborhood that allowing beer, wine and liquor sales would create alcohol-fueled shenanigans.  Members of the East Village Association voted 22-5 in favor of granting Garden Gourmet the restricted license, which should make the young urban professionals (you know, Yuppies) who shop at the store happy that they can get their Goose Island where they buy their Camembert cheese and their organic Belgian leeks.

Or can they?

You see, “craft beers” as defined in the liquor license are based on the Brewers Association’s standards.  Now that Goose Island is owned by megacorp AB-InBev, they no longer qualify as a craft brewer.  It’ll be interesting to see if the measure is upheld to the letter of the law, or if they’ll let this hometown brewery slip onto the shelves regardless of who owns them.

It will also be interesting to see if they can sell bombers, as the license stipulates that only “single servings” of beer can be sold.  For most of us, a bomber is a single serving, or at least a reasonable amount of beer to enjoy while watching Justified and The Americans back-to-back on the DVR.

The license awaits approval by Greg Steadman, Chicago’s liquor control commissioner.

No word yet on if every stadium, airport and hotel bar in America will follow suit, but I kinda wish they would.  🙂



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Categories: Beer, News


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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15 Comments on “Chicago Liquor License Would Prohibit Selling Crappy Beer”

  1. March 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    And here I was firmly convinced that this going to be a bad day… Thanks to news like this, things are looking up. Never mind the fact that I’m 1,500 or so miles away from Chicago and couldn’t possibly take practical advantage of such a shop. There’s hope – hope that the forces of educated craft beer fans in our fair State can muster the focus, determination, and finances (for bribes, you know) necessary to effect the appearance of such licenses here.

    It’s about time Ballast Point Big Eyes on shelves at Canal’s didn’t have to keep one open because they’re constantly getting stared down by Miller punch tops.


    • March 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      Those punch top are indeed malicious, but not in Chicago!

  2. March 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    Speaking of Justified, this season has been really good! Started off slow, but this Drew Thompson thing is heating up nicely. And one more FYI, you really should be drinking American whiskey during Justified, not beer. I’m sure Don would agree.

    • March 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

      I do get a hankering for whiskey watching the show, which makes sense because…Kentucky.

      My recent fave is the New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon which is aged in used Dragons Milk barrels to turn it into liquid man-candy.

      On Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 2:08 PM, Beer & Whiskey Bros.

      • March 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

        Well that certainly sounds delightful! Gonna have to track that down.

        What I want to know is how much the Bourbon makers are paying for the product placements. They are as blatant as the Bond films!

        • March 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

          I think it was funny that Maker Mark ran ads like crazy on Justified, talking about how they are an original and won’t be pressured into doing anything they don’t want to do. Then they dropped the proof of their hooch, everyone complained, they chanced it back, and I haven’t seen the ads since.

          “We don’t care what you think, until we do!”

        • March 7, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

          I thought they ran an ad the other night. Hmmm.

        • March 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

          I’m a an episode and a half behind, so maybe it’s back already. But they certainly laid low for a bit!

        • March 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

          No spoilers from me! Enjoy playing catch up.

    • March 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

      I’m proud to say I paid $5 for a nip of Wild Turkey 101 while watching Justified on my Kindle Fire during a plane ride.

      • March 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

        They should have man merit badges for stuff like that!

  3. March 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    I could say that I would expect nothing less from my old home town. But, having grown up there during the era of Hamms and Old Style, I’d be lying.

    • March 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm #


      On Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 3:12 PM, Beer & Whiskey Bros.

  4. Diss Content
    March 7, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    I guess I’m a fundamental libertarian, or is that li-beer-tarian?

    Restricting such licenses may sound good on paper but what happens in the real world? Has there been a problem with someone ordering Chateaubriand or Seared Scallops with Night Train Express?

    Oops, my mistake; the scallops would be served with Thunderbird since that entrée is complimented by a white. But has this problem ever happened; therefore needs some preemptive cure in the form of license restrictions?

    From Econ-101, “If there is no demand, there will be no supply”. If you are worried about your neighborhood being kept in control from binge drinking, tomfoolery and ass grabber-y via restaurant permits, then your problems run much deeper than you have imagined. This really is nothing more than a burka for beer. As long as you don’t see it, then you will be able to control that beast within.

    Somehow more knots get tied in panties over something which hasn’t happened, while amplifying the message that, if not for these strong laws, the weak willed citizens would run amok. I know there’s Jaeger, Bud Light and some yellow fluid in a long, funky bottle at the local bar; I just don’t order it. I also don’t demand their removal.

  5. Chris Slaby
    March 8, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    I think this is great on both counts. I have a handful of local liquor stores that sell basically only “craft” brews. I also strongly agree with the Brewer’s Association–if you’re owned by a parent company, particularly a Brazilian-Flemish multi-national corporation, and you want to call yourself an American craft brew company, I think you’re in need of a reality check. While the phrase craft brew has connotations of, well, quality brewed beer, to some people, including me, it also means something about the company, it’s size, it’s location, it’s values, who it employs, etc. I’d much rather support an endeavor that does not send its profits overseas. I’d much rather walk into a brewery and be able to shake hands with the person in charge of the whole thing.

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