Why You Can’t Get New Glarus Beer in Illinois
It's a sad reality for many Illinois residents who love the taste of Wisconsin-made New Glarus beers like Spotted Cow and Wisconsin Belgian Red - they can't buy them in the Land of Lincoln. So, why is this the case? Let's take a closer look.
The History of New Glarus Brewing
Founded in 1993 by Dan and Deborah Carey, New Glarus Brewing is located in the small town of New Glarus, Wisconsin. With a focus on using local ingredients and traditional brewing techniques, the brewery quickly gained a cult following among Wisconsin locals.
At one point, New Glarus even distributed to neighboring states like Illinois, but in 2003, the Careys made the decision to pull distribution from outside of Wisconsin, making their beers exclusively for Wisconsinites.
Why Wisconsin Only?
The reason for this decision is simple - the Careys wanted to focus on their home state and ensure that Wisconsin locals had plenty of stock. With a small production capacity, the brewery couldn't keep up with demand in multiple states. By limiting distribution to Wisconsin only, New Glarus could ensure that their fans in the Badger State wouldn't have to go without.
Of course, this hasn't stopped Illinois residents from trying to get their hands on New Glarus brews. In 2021, Chicago Cubs fans were caught smuggling kegs of Spotted Cow across state lines, sparking a media frenzy. While some fans saw it as a harmless act of devotion, others criticized the smuggling as a breach of Wisconsin's liquor laws.
New Glarus Brewing responded to the controversy by stating that they "don't condone or support the illegal transport of our beer". While the brewery understands the demand for their beers outside of Wisconsin, they have no plans to change their distribution policies.
Why Illinoisans Love New Glarus Beer
So, what is it about New Glarus beer that has Illinois residents risking the consequences of smuggling kegs across state lines?
First and foremost, the taste is unparalleled. With unique flavor profiles and high-quality ingredients, New Glarus beers are a cut above the rest. From the tart cherry notes in Wisconsin Belgian Red to the creamy finish of Spotted Cow, there's a New Glarus beer for every type of beer drinker.
And of course, there's the exclusivity factor. With New Glarus beers only available in Wisconsin, there's a sense of pride and bragging rights that comes with being able to enjoy a beer that most others can't.
While it's a bummer that Illinois residents can't buy New Glarus beers in their home state, it's understandable why the brewery made the decision to limit distribution to Wisconsin. With high demand and a limited production capacity, the Careys wanted to ensure that their home state wouldn't have to go without.
So, for now, Illinoisans will have to make do with smuggling kegs across state lines or making the trip to Wisconsin to stock up on their favorite New Glarus brews.