Ruby Tuesday shutters 11 restaurants in Illinois 

Thursday, August 04, 2016 9:07:00 AM


Jonathan Maze

Jul 28, 2016


Chain's largest franchise shuts down operations, closes restaurants


Ruby Tuesday's largest franchisee shuttered all 11 of its restaurants abruptly this week, wiping out in one move all of the chain's locations in Illinois, according to local reports.


The restaurants were closed on Wednesday morning with simple signs on the front door. Restaurant employees were given little notice of the closures, according to reports.


The company that owns the Illinois locations is RT Midwest Holdings. RT filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and sold real estate in a sale-leaseback deal, according to bankruptcy court records. It emerged from bankruptcy a year later.


A statement from Ruby Tuesday said the casual-dining concept "went to great lengths" to help the operator stay open.


"Our Illinois Ruby Tuesday restaurants were owned and operated by an independent franchisee," the company said. "As the franchisor of this concept, we went to great lengths in assisting the franchisee to remain open, but he has made the decision to close his restaurants. We appreciate the patronage of the many residents and guests that have dined at the Illinois Ruby Tuesday restaurants over the years, along with the dedicated employees of the franchisee, and will evaluate opportunities to return to the market in the future."


Ruby Tuesday has struggled to generate positive sales for years, and the Maryville, Tenn.-based chain has simultaneously seen its unit count decline. The number of Ruby Tuesday restaurants has fallen from 705 units to 682 locations over the past two years. But most of those closures have been of company-owned units. The franchisor operated 646 of 682 locations as of May, according to Nation's Restaurant News' Top 100 data.


Systemwide sales, meanwhile, have fallen to $1.15 billion, from $1.22 billion over the same timeframe.


Ruby Tuesday stock is down 1 percent in Thursday morning trading, and is down 26 percent year to date.

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Mr. Boston's bartending guide re-launched online by the Sazerac Company 

Thursday, August 04, 2016 9:03:00 AM

Source: The Times-Picayune

Todd A. Price

July 25th


Mr. Boston used to be the barkeep's best friend. The unmistakable, narrow, cherry-red books were once found behind every bar. The first edition of "Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide" was published in 1935, just as America was again able to properly quench its thirst after Prohibition. More than 65 editions would be published.


Around the time that American bartenders became "mixologists" and cocktails got complicated, Mr. Boston fell from favor.


A few years back, the New Orleans-based Sazerac Co. bought Mr. Boston, which also sells a line of cordials and spirits. Last Thursday (July 21) Sazerac relaunched the Mr. Boston guide as a free, web-only tool.


Sazerac plans to make Mr. Boston bigger than ever.


The website offers more than 10,000 cocktail recipes from the post-Prohibition era.


It took the Sazerac Co. five years to get out of the Mr. Boston publishing contract. While they waited, they found copies of all but 17 editions of the Mr. Boston guide and entered the 10,539 cocktail recipes into a database.


"We've been restoring it like you would a Van Gogh," said Mark Brown, president and CEO of Sazerac.


Now, you can search every one of those recipes at When there is more than one recipe, the site lets you see each version to learn how the cocktail changed over time.


Recipes can be searched by name or main ingredient. A "discovery" page lets you browse by style, era, occasion, city of origin and even color. Create an account, and you can review the recipes and build a personal collection of your favorites.


The site also has a guide to techniques and glassware, a glossary of ingredients and historical information.


The Mr. Boston guide is a record of how America drank for 80 years. And the Sazerac company plans to keep the guide alive for at least another 80 years.


Although they likely won't print another guide, Sazerac has big plans for Mr. Boston. First, they want to find the remaining 17 editions and enter those recipes. They will create videos demonstrating cocktails and techniques. They plan to commission articles on cocktails. And users will be able to add new drinks, which will be considered for inclusion in the guide.


Outside the virtual world, Sazerac is pondering partnerships with bartending schools, awards for bartenders and possibly a public, physical headquarters for Mr. Boston.


To check out the online Mr. Boston guide, visit

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New Illinois law lets universities, community colleges allow alcohol sales 

Thursday, August 04, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Dan Petrella Lee Springfield Bureau Chief

July 19, 2016


SPRINGFIELD — The boards of trustees of Illinois’ public universities and community colleges can now decide whether to allow alcohol sales at campus events under a measure Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law late last week.

A few state universities already had that ability under previous law, but the option is now available to all public institutions of higher learning. The law applies only to public events that university officials determine are not “student-related activities,” and it requires each board of trustees to develop its own policy within six months.

Southern Illinois University is one of the most likely candidates to take advantage of the change. SIU pushed a separate bill, which was also approved in the General Assembly this spring, that would specifically give its board of trustees permission to allow alcohol sales.

John Charles, executive director for governmental and public affairs, said the school’s bill was drafted that way because other universities didn’t express interest in the idea when SIU approached them.

Charles said the idea of allowing alcohol sales at football and basketball games and other events arose during the state’s historically long budget impasse.

“As we were entering into the fourth or fifth month of not having a budget last year, we talked to different lawmakers and staff, and they certainly suggested that we find creative ways to help increase revenue around campus,” he said. “And this was one of them.”

SIU President Randy Dunn told trustees at their meeting last week at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield that it’s unlikely alcohol sales will begin during the upcoming football season because the board still needs to develop its policy.

“I think we’re probably going to be very hard-pressed to get that done for fall of ’16,” Dunn said.

Other universities don’t appear poised to quickly follow SIU’s lead on alcohol sales.

Jay Groves, Illinois State University chief of staff, said trustees haven’t taken up the issue, and it’s not on the agenda for their Friday meeting.

Eastern Illinois University spokeswoman Vicki Woodard wrote in an email, “While Eastern welcomes having the discretion to exercise such an option if we ever felt so inclined, we have no plans or desire to do so at this time.

"Charles said SIU still hopes Rauner signs its bill because the legislation also includes a provision that would allow underage students in the school’s fermentation science program to taste but not consume the beverages they make.

Anita Bedell, executive director of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol & Addiction Problems, said allowing alcohol sales at campus events is a move in the wrong direction.

“There’s enough problems with alcohol on college campuses,” Bedell said. “The colleges have worked very hard to try to prevent problems. … This is not a good way to get money when the students or the community are harmed.”

Rauner also signed a bill into law Friday that gives public library boards the option of allowing alcohol sales at educational, cultural or fundraising events.

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Mixing alcohol with energy drinks may make you want to drink even more 

Thursday, August 04, 2016 8:51:00 AM

    Cocktails such as Jägerbombs are hugely popular among younger drinks

    Mixing energy drinks and alcohol together may increase drinking levels

    Caffeine hides the effects of alcohol and can lead to riskier behaviours

    Bomb drinks can be as high as 5:1 in energy drink to alcohol ratio


By Colin Fernandez, Science Correspondent For The Daily Mail

18 July 2016

Mixing energy drinks with alcohol leads to revellers wanting to consume even more booze, scientists claim.

Cocktails such as Jägerbombs - Red Bull mixed with Jägermeister liqueur - have become a huge craze among younger drinkers.

But mixing caffeinated drinks and alcohol together may lead to an increase in binge drinking.

This is because the caffeine makes the drinker crave even more booze, researchers warned.

Drinking vodka mixed with soft drinks - rather than caffeine - did not have the same effect, the study found.

Previous research has warned caffeine masks the intoxicating effects of alcohol - and can lead to riskier behaviours as people don't realise how drunk they are.

In the new study, researchers at Northern Kentucky University gave 26 adult social drinkers - 13 men and 13 women - one of six possible drinks over six sessions.

These were:

* Vodka mixed with a decaffeinated soft drink

* Vodka and a medium energy drink,

* Vodka and a large energy drink

* A decaffeinated soft drink

* A medium energy drink and a large energy drink.

After each session the drinkers were asked to rate their desire for alcohol and breathalysed.

Results showed drinking alcohol led to an increased desire for more booze - but drinking a mixer made participants crave it even more.

The authors said the study provides evidence that mixing the two together leads to a greater desire for more booze - as opposed to drinking the same amount of alcohol on its own.

They said their results 'are consistent with animal studies showing that caffeine increases the rewarding and reinforcing properties of alcohol'.

Pre-mixed drinks have been banned in the US, but the authors write that 'the popularity of combining energy drinks with alcohol has continued to increase'.

Mixed drinks may contain 2:1 or 3:1 ratios of energy drink compared to alcohol.

But the authors warned the ratio in drinks such as Jägerbombs can be as high as 5:1.

Previous research found caffeine masks the intoxicating effects of alcohol - and can lead to riskier behaviours as people often don't realise how drunk they are

A Brazilian study in 2006 found the use of energy drinks might make people abuse alcohol when its effects are masked by caffeine.

Professor Roseli Boergnen de Lacerda, who conducted the study, warned of a higher risk of car accidents due to drinking mixers 'because people who drank energy drinks with alcohol felt less intoxicated than they were'.

Jägermeister has become hugely popular in recent years - despite being closely associated with the Nazi Party after it was launched in 1934 - and later known in some circles as Goering-Schnapps.


The drink's manufacturer, Curt Mast, was close friends with Hermann Goering, who as well as being head of the Luftwaffe and Hitler's number two, was official huntmaster, or 'Reichsjägermeister', of the Nazi regime. 

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Craft distilleries law may change  

Friday, July 15, 2016 10:59:00 AM

Bill on governor's desk would increase the limit from 35,000 to 100,000 gallons of spirits a year

By Greg TrotterChicago Tribune

Soon, makers of craft spirits in Illinois might be able to produce significantly more booze with a single state license, but not all craft distillers are raising a glass to honor the occasion. Senate Bill 2797, passed by both the House and the Senate last month but not yet sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner, would allow those licensed as craft distillers in Illinois to make up to 100,000 gallons of spirits a year, up from the 35,000 gallons a year per license that's currently allowed. But it also would close a loophole in the existing law that doesn't explicitly prohibit distilleries from holding multiple licenses at different locations as a way to produce more spirits.

This bill — sponsored by state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago — would cap total production at a threshold that's still well beyond what many Illinois craft distillers are making. The increase would directly benefit the Ravenswood-based Koval Distillery, one of the state's largest craft distillers, which is looking for a larger facility in Chicago to consolidate and grow its operations.

But it would “cramp” the business plans for Few Spirits in Evanston, a Koval competitor that's currently producing about 70,000 gallons under two craft licenses, said Paul Hletko, Few Spirits founder.

“I think it's going to stink when one of the largest craft distillers in Illinois has to close its doors to the public,” said Hletko, referring to his own business.

Hletko's said the bill's cap on total gallonage likely would force him to eschew the craft license in favor of a noncraft distiller's license, which doesn't permit tasting rooms or tours. Ultimately, the growth of the business is what's most important, Hletko said.

Sonat Birnecker Hart, Koval president, also is trying to grow her business, which is why she advocated for the production increase. Like Few, Koval makes about 70,000 gallons a year under two craft licenses, she said. But Hart is hoping to bring those operations under one roof, while retaining a tasting room to attract tourists, and wanted her investment to be protected by law.

Hart maintains that other distilleries, and not just her own, will eventually benefit from the increase.

“This is a fast-growing industry. A distillery can grow very fast in a short amount of time. ... This is a significant win for all the (craft) distilleries in Illinois,” Hart said.

In Illinois, there are 28 craft distiller licenses currently issued, said Terry Horstman, spokesman for the state Department of Revenue. The tax revenue generated from these businesses is still relatively small but is growing quickly. In 2011, craft distillers generated about $7,420 in state sales taxes and liquor revenue taxes, according to state data. By last year, that number had grown to almost $154,400.

Those running these businesses are also quick to point out that, like craft breweries, distilleries also produce jobs and tourism dollars.

Nationally, there are 1,280 producers of craft spirits, the most since Prohibition, according to a study conducted by the American Craft Spirits Association, International Wine and Spirits Research and import company Park Street.

From 2011 to 2015, launches of spirits marketed as “craft” increased 265 percent globally, a craze driven by the U.S. market and, in particular, millennial consumers, according to a recent report from market research firm Mintel.

But what does it even mean to be a craft distiller? Depends on whom you ask and where you do business. In contrast to the craft beer industry, which has one generally agreed-upon definition of what it means to be a craft brewer, the definition of craft distilling is more fluid, varying state by state depending on the regulations.

“Craft” has become a meaningless term, said Brenton Engel, owner of Letherbee Distillers, which is based in the Ravenswood industrial corridor.

But Engel nonetheless had strong opinions on what craft isn't.

“I think 100,000 gallons (a year) is an absurd amount to produce and still call yourself a craft distiller,” said Engel, whose distillery produces about 7,000 gallons a year.

Engel noted that the proposed increase to production in Illinois is happening while the American Craft Spirits Association is lobbying for the federal excise tax on distilleries to be lowered for the first 100,000 gallons produced and bottled each year. Engel called that lobbying effort “greedy” and “distasteful.”

Hletko, who's also president of the board of directors for the national craft spirits group, said it's all about establishing “parity” with wine and beer, which are taxed at lower rates.

The Illinois Craft Distillers Association, a fledgling trade group with 22 members created in 2013, had hoped to secure state legislative victories that would more directly help the smaller distilleries, said Matthew Blaum, president of the board of directors for the association.

In a first-time lobbying effort, the group pushed two separate bills this session. Both bills sought to raise the amount of product that can be sold on-site at distilleries and permit distillers to sell their spirits at events like farmers markets, among other provisions.

But those proposals ran into a “buzz saw” of opposition from the more established wholesalers' lobbying groups, Blaum said.

So the craft distillers group instead merged its support with the Steans bill, which does establish tasting permits for distilleries to give samples at farmers markets and other events.

“The biggest thing we accomplished was just being heard and recognized for the first time,” said Blaum, co-founder of Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. in Galena.

Under the so-called three-tier system for alcohol in Illinois, each tier — manufacturers, distributors and retailers — maintains its independence. Manufacturers sell to distributors, who sell to retailers, who sell to consumers.

Changing liquor laws often requires reaching compromise with the Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois, a powerful, long-standing trade association funded by the two largest wholesalers in the state — the Wirtz family's Breakthru Beverage and Southern Wine & Spirits.

Suffice to say that self-distribution for small distilleries, which is also on the wish list for the Illinois Craft Distillers Association, will be an uphill battle.

Karin Matura, executive director of Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois, said her organization's excited about the growth in craft distilleries — and willing to review and change antiquated laws as needed — so long as that growth includes working with wholesalers to distribute product. Matura said her association supported Steans' bill because it did just that.

“The three-tier system works and it allows for craft distilleries to grow,” Matura said.

Noelle DiPrizio, co-founder of Chicago Distilling Co., had her first taste of how Springfield works, which she described as “eye-opening.”

In addition to her job as vice president at the distillery and raising two small children, DiPrizio served as the de facto lobbyist for the craft distillers group this legislative session.

“What I learned is things can change in a matter of seconds down there (in Springfield),” she said.

DiPrizio said she's excited about the proposed change in law, which she believes will eventually benefit more distilleries than just Koval.

And with one legislative session under her belt, she's optimistic about future changes to state law that will benefit smaller distilleries. Next time around, though, the craft distillers group hopes to hire a full-time lobbyist.

“The growth of craft distilleries (in Illinois) has been exponential,” DiPrizio said. “We have an organization now. We have needs.”

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Businesses Serving Alcohol In Several Illinois Counties Must Complete New Server, Seller Training  

Thursday, July 14, 2016 11:54:00 AM

By Katie Finlon Jun 23, 2016

Restaurants within a few northern Illinois counties will have to complete a new alcohol training program by July 1.

That deadline is mandated by the state in a law that was created about a year ago. It says businesses that sell alcohol in counties with more than 200-thousand residents must complete Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training – or BASSET – by the beginning of next month.

That includes Winnebago, McHenry, Kane, DuPage and Will counties. Champaign, Lake, Madison and St. Clair counties are also on the list.

Chris Weinbrenner – a BASSET instructor in DuPage County – says the training is meant to teach employees how to not overserve and to protect patrons, surrounding residents and businesses.

“Essentially, when it comes to civil or criminal lawsuits, anybody can be named a party as part of liability because of negligence of not making reasonable efforts to be a responsible server or seller,” Weinbrenner said.

Weinbrenner says the possible consequences for businesses whose employees do not complete BASSET training are fines and losing liquor licenses. He says there is also an insurance incentive for those businesses whose entire staff is BASSET certified.

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Experts Say Nightclubs Need More Security in Wake of Orlando Shooting 

Monday, July 11, 2016 11:17:00 AM

Crowded clubs and bars can make attractive targets for terrorists, law-enforcement officials say

Source: WSJ

By Jim Carlton and Jon Kamp

June 13, 2016

The attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., highlights what law-enforcement officials call security lapses at many of the nation's clubs and entertainment venues.

With crowded dance floors and often minimal security, nightclubs make attractive targets for terrorists, experts said. And unlike their European counterparts, U.S. nightclubs have had little experience with terror-inspired violence and have been more concerned about unruly drunks or gang brawls.

Authorities say Omar S. Mateen exchanged gunfire outside the Pulse nightclub early Sunday with an off-duty police officer working for the bar, then continued shooting inside, leaving 49 dead victims. The owners of Pulse referred inquiries to a public-relations firm, which didn't return calls.

J.C. Diaz, executive director of the Nightlife Association, a trade group for the nation's 50,000 clubs and bars, said security varies widely, ranging from a club in Atlanta that is patrolled by a guard toting a semiautomatic rifle to ones that simply have a doorman.

But even with few resources, he said, clubs can better prepare for an attack by teaching bartenders and other staff to fight back with beer bottles, fire extinguishers or anything else they can grab. The key, he said, is to confront a shooter rather than wait to be possibly shot.

"What it comes down to is doing something versus doing nothing," Mr. Diaz said.

Islamic State-backed attacks on bars and entertainment venues in Paris last November, which left 130 dead, should have been a wake-up call to managers in the U.S. that similar attacks were headed here, said Robert C. Smith, president and chief executive officer of Nightclub Security Consultants, a San Diego-based provider of bouncer training.

"If I want to be an active shooter and I want to make a name for myself, I am going to go to a club that is unprepared," Mr. Smith said.

Clubs can also serve as symbols of Western lifestyles and mores. Pulse, the location of Sunday's massacre, catered mostly to the gay community; the shooter's father has said he was angered by gay men expressing affection in public.

Only California requires club security workers to undergo terrorism training, and even there it is only two hours' worth. Security consultants say the best defense starts at the door, where doormen and other security should be trained to intercept people who seem bent on doing harm.

"There will be a different look in the eyes-troublemakers who are just angry, or someone who will have the intense, determined look," said Brian Allen, director of Gilbert, Ariz.-based International Security Training LLC.

Some venues, like Echostage in Washington, D.C., have extensive front-door security. In addition to doormen, who frisk and wave metal-detector wands, the large club employs off-duty police officers to stay in front with uniforms and marked vehicles, said Corey Primus, urban marketing coordinator for an owner of the establishment. "I'm not going to say it couldn't happen, but the likelihood of that happening is a lot less," Mr. Primus said.

Meanwhile, mosques around the country, already on high alert for retaliation since the San Bernardino, Calif., terror attack, are strengthening security as the community is in the midst of the Ramadan holiday.

Nezar Hamze, regional operations director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida, sent an "action alert" to mosques in the state Sunday advising precautions including keeping the lights on, reaching out to law enforcement and stationing a door greeter who can call 911 if needed.

"No walking alone, walk in groups," his alert memo says.

Mr. Hamze,  who is also a deputy sheriff in Broward County, Fla., said he has been roaming the state teaching security at mosques since last September.

He said the Muslim community is routinely targeted by "vigilantes" or violent extremists after international or domestic terror attacks.

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New chip-card rules expected to reduce ATMs in retail spots 

Monday, July 11, 2016 11:14:00 AM

Chicago Tribune

6 Jul 2016

By Olga Kharif and Brooke Fox

That ATM in the dark corner of the bar could be on its way out.

By October of this year, ATM owners in the United States have to replace or upgrade their machines to accept chip cards or face liability for certain types of fraud. But the upgrade and related ongoing maintenance are so expensive that cash machine operators like Abe Ayesh, who helps manage about 8,000 ATMs mostly on the East Coast, plans to shut down some of them.

“Do I want to go spend $3,000 right now for a new machine that’s going to take me three to four years to get my money?” said Ayesh, chief operating officer of FAM ATM. “It’s not worth it.”

Costs to upgrade an ATM’s hardware and software range from $300 to $3,000. About 410,000 ATMs have to be upgraded, according to researcher Aite Group. Owners have to clean the new chip-card reader every couple of weeks — and that cleaning kit costs another $1.50 a pop.

Up to 10 percent of retail ATMs — those not owned by banks — may be thrown out, said James Phillips, a vice president at retail ATM maker Triton Systems of Delaware. Other old machines may stay operational but not be upgraded — and eventually stop working, he said.

“There are many ATMs out there that simply cannot be upgraded,” Phillips said. “They end up in landfills. It could have an impact for some cardholders in rural areas where there’s only one to two ATMs that they have access to.”

On Oct. 1, ATMs that don’t move to accept the chip technology will become liable for any counterfeit fraud perpetrated on the machines using MasterCards. In October 2017, Visa will start enforcing a similar rule.

Only about 20 percent of U.S. ATMs have been adapted to accept the chip cards, according to MasterCard estimates.

U.S. merchants have been changing their point-of-sale equipment to use chip cards — a process that’s been bumpy. Gas stations’ switch-over is also coming up.

The technology is designed to cut down on use of counterfeit cards and skimming, a practice where crooks modify an ATM to collect customers’ PIN codes and card numbers.

Last year, ATM compromises in the U.S. jumped sixfold, according to FICO Card Alert Service, as the move by merchants to accept chip cards left many criminals looking for a new target. Criminal activity was highest at nonbank ATMs, such as those in convenience stores, hotels and bars, where 10 times as many machines were compromised as in 2014, FICO said.

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MasterCard, Visa Settlement Rejected 

Tuesday, July 05, 2016 12:47:00 PM

U.S. court overturns 2012 class-action decision regarding interchange fees

Angel Abcede

June 30, 2016

NEW YORK -- In a decision that could lead to more litigation against the nation’s largest credit-card companies, a federal court of appeals overturned the class-action settlement involving retailers who sued Visa and MasterCard over high interchange fees.

As reporteb in a McLane/CSP Daily News Flash, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York overturned the class-action settlement in the case titled, “In Re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation.” That case led to a proposed settlement valued at $7.25 billion in 2012. Yesterday’s ruling called the settlement “unreasonable and inadequate.”

Though the settlement was the largest in U.S. history in 2012, Alexandria, Va.-based NACS led efforts to oppose it because officials said the relief it offered was inadequate and the statements absolving the credit-card companies were overly broad.

In a press release, NACS officials said the association both opted out and objected to the proposed settlement because it offered class members money damages of only about two months’ worth of interchange fees and, among other things, limited modifications to Visa’s and MasterCard’s surcharging rules. The proposed settlement also required class members to release Foster City, Calif.-based Visa and Purchase, N.Y.-based MasterCard from liability for any anticompetitive rules currently in place, including the interchange or swipe-fee rules, and any “substantially similar rules” instituted at any time in the future.

In addition to NACS, the majority of named plaintiffs and approximately 1,200 additional merchants and retailer groups filed papers objecting to preliminary approval of the proposed settlement, according to the release.

A spokesperson for Visa said they still are reviewing the verdict and declined to comment. MasterCard officials did not respond by press time.

The convenience-store industry pays $10 billion annually in credit-card fees, according to the NACS State of the Industry Report of 2015 Data.

“We are pleased that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has thoughtfully addressed the problems we have long identified with this proposed settlement,” said Henry Armour, president and CEO of NACS. “We will work to help ensure that this moves forward in a way that recognizes the best interests of merchants and the consumers they serve.”

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Tuesday, July 05, 2016 12:40:00 PM

Just a heads up while you're out enjoying the summer and visiting BYOB establishments... the City of Chicago does not regulate the practice of BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) in any restaurant or commercial business, except for sidewalk cafes.


BYOB at BYOB establishments means just that, a customer could purchase their own alcohol, bring it in to the business, serve themselves, keep the alcohol in their possession and leave the business with the empty alcohol container.  The business is allowed to provide a glass and ice for customers.


Businesses can charge a corkage fee. It is permitted and is not, by itself, a violation for selling alcohol without a license.  But, a business that allows BYOB should be careful to not charge the customer any direct fees for allowing BYOB on the premises. Fees tied directly to alcohol service might be considered selling alcohol without a license.   


By the way, the City of Chicago does advise businesses that choose to allow BYOB on their premises, to take steps to ensure that the consumption of alcohol is conducted in a safe and legal manner. 


If you want to read up on Liquor Licensing in the City of Chicago visit the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection's (BACP) website.

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