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State beverage convention coming to Utica

Hospitality and bar owners will discuss issues, tour area’s newer hot spots

Local leaders in the food and beverage industry will host the state convention of the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association, with speakers and programs Sunday, Sept. 15, through Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Grand Bear Resort. A trade show, geared to the hospitality industry and business owners, will be open to the public noon to 3 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16.

Kevin Steder and Dan Burke, convention co-chairmen, are president and vice president, respectively, of ILBA chapter 176, which spans from Morris on the east to Princeton on the west and from Arlington on the north to Streator on the south.

Burke said at last check 184 ILBA members were coming to the convention and staying at Grand Bear and local hotels, and they will be treated to a bus tour Tuesday to some of the newer establishments in the area, including Star Union Spirits in the Westclox building in Peru.

From Illinois’ changing gambling laws and insurance to the Jan. 1 legalization of marijuana and how to recognize impairment, the ILBA members have plenty of concerns, said Burke.

Burke said he anticipates area legislators to show up along with state ILBA Executive Director Dan Clausner and state ILBA president Jeff Voigt, and state officials have been invited,

Programs and seminars are open to ILBA members for all three days or just one day for a fee, Burke said.

ILBA chapter treasurer Kathy Potthoff said an exact schedule of speakers has not been nailed down, but one of the themes is “An ’80s Bar in a 2.0 World.”

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