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About the ILBA

Who We Are

Organized in 1880, the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association (ILBA) is the oldest business trade association in the country dedicated to promoting and protecting the retail businesses that sell or serve beverage alcohol. Over 2,500 Illinois retail liquor businesses (on and off-premise) belong to the ILBA, a not-for-profit corporation. Members include: taverns, restaurants, fraternal clubs, package stores, bowling centers, golf courses, hotels, gas stations, convenience stores and grocery stores.

The ILBA aggressively lobbies the Illinois General Assembly, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, the Governor, Secretary of State and all statewide elected officials to promote and protect the retail liquor industry. In coordination with the American Beverage Licensees (National Trade Association) the ILBA lobbies the Illinois Congressional Delegation. Sam Panayotovich is the ILBA’s current contract lobbyist and is the former Executive Director of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and a former State Representative.

Our Mission

The Illinois Licensed Beverage Association is a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to maximize the business climate for retail businesses engaged in the sale and service of beverage alcohol products in Illinois; and to educate these businesses on better business practices.

Our Goals

  • Inspire (lobby) lawmakers to create an optimum business climate for the retail liquor industry. This includes working to defeat legislation that is contrary to this goal, and working to pass legislation that achieves this goal.
  • Inspire the executive branch of Illinois government to conduct its regulatory responsibilities with minimal disruption to the functioning of the industry, while upholding the tenets of responsibility in the sale and service of beverage alcohol products.
  • Educate businesses on better business practices, responsible server-seller practices, fiscal propriety, and general responsibility.
  • Serve as ombudsman for member businesses to assist them with questions regarding licensing, questions on dealing with distributors and regulators, improving profit margins, etc. This activity accounts for the bulk of time spent by organization staff.
  • Establish volume-buying agreements for ILBA members to allow proprietors to effectively reduce their cost of doing business. This to be achieved through economies of scale—using the combined purchasing power of ILBA members to negotiate discounts on commonly used services and commodities.
  • Enact regular communication with ILBA members through establishment of the following:
    • Website
    • Direct mail pieces/e-mails to board members and industry partners to further the mission and goals of the ILBA
    • Executive Director reports at regular ILBA Executive Board meetings
  • Increase membership in the ILBA.
  • Conduct the business of the ILBA in a fashion that maximizes goal achievement, while concurrently maintaining the fiscal propriety of the organization.