SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Illinois consumers may soon be able to buy their favorite craft beers from the comfort of their homes.

A new proposed bill would allow brewers to apply for a license to directly sell to consumers online and ship it to a 21-year-old or older customer’s doorstep. The bill was filed Friday and is sponsored by Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago).

Industry experts say allowing breweries to have direct-to-consumer shipping is important for building the brands of their products.

“There’s no denying that existing alcohol regulations have left the state’s 297 craft breweries behind during tremendously challenging times,” Illinois Craft Brewers Guild executive director Ray Stout said. “We’re prepared to work with all legislators and industry stakeholders to ensure parity within the industry and to make sure our brewers have the resources to compete and win in this economy.” 

The current law allows breweries to sell their beers to retail spaces with a third-party distributor, but many brewery owners say their products struggle on the shelf next to bigger beer brands.

“Our product and packaging are unique and labor-intensive, and our commitment to local farmers means a higher cost per bottle.” Marika Josephson, owner of Scratch Brewery in southern Illinois, said. “As a result, we’ve found it hard to find and keep distributor partners, who often prefer mainstream brands that better compete on retail shelves.”

A similar program for Illinois’ wineries has existed since 2007. Illinois passed a law in 2021 that allowed retailers to ship alcohol.