Can a Special Use Retailer return unused, untapped beer after an event?

There are two classifications of events:  1) those sponsored by a not-for-profit organization (special event licensee) and, 2) those sponsored by a licensed retailer (special use).  The Commission has no objection if a distributor accepts a return of product for credit if the product is sold to a Special Event license holder OR a Special Use license holder.   In order to accept a return, the product must have been originally invoiced to the Special Event or Special Use license numbers.  These license numbers begin with the designation of “4A”, “4B” or “4C”.  The product cannot be returned if invoiced to a Retailer license number designated “1A”.  Special Event and Special Use retail licenses are issued to temporary and limited events and thus are considered “Seasonal Dealers” for the purposes of permitting returns.    

For clarification purposes this would include but is not limited to the following types of events:

  • Community festivals put on by groups such as the Jaycees
  • Music festivals
  • Church socials
  • Motorcycle Club Festivals, etc.

The Commission has determined that the return of product for special events/special use events (retailer sponsored events) does not constitute a consignment sale and is not in violation of the Cash Beer Law found in Section 6-5 of the Liquor Control Act. 

For events such as a wedding, graduation party, neighborhood block party, etc. where purchases of alcoholic liquor are made from a licensed retailer (“1A” licensee) credit may not be given to a retailer for the unused, untapped products.  The only time a distributor may give credit for these types of events is if the retailer holds a Caterer’s license and the purchase was originally invoiced to the Caterer.  A caterer’s license number begins with the designation of “1B.”  Again, at no time may a distributor credit a retailer “1A” for unused, untapped products.

Matt Tanaka

Matt Tanaka is a digital marketer who lives in Chicago with his beautiful wife Laura and their incredibly lazy French Bulldog, Bento. He is an experienced writer, obsessive planner and firm believer in the ability of digital tools to connect brands with their audiences.