Unless you pay attention to such things, you may be unaware that 2018 marks 200 years since Illinois became a state. If you were around in 1976 for our nation's bicentennial, then you know that there will be plenty of products clamoring to be the official _________ of Illinois' bicentennial.

Let's take for example...oh, I don't know...beer. According to a press release from Governor Bruce Rauner's office, Hand of Fate Brewing Company will create the recipe and brew the Official Illinois Bicentennial Craft Beer, which will be available across the state during the Bicentennial Celebration in 2018.

“We are so proud of the booming Illinois Craft Brew Industry and thrilled to have the Hand of Fate Brewing Company brew the Bicentennial Beer,” Gov. Rauner said. “There are currently 180 craft brewers in the state, more than double the number since 2013. We will continue to be supportive of these 'Illinois Made' brands.”

“It is so exciting to have been chosen to brew the Official Bicentennial Craft Beer,” said Mike Allison, Brewer/Owner of Hand of Fate. “To be a part of Illinois history and represent our industry is truly an honor."

The winning craft beer was chosen by a panel of three expert judges in a blind taste test and by State Fair attendees who sampled the 19 different beers during the weekend competition. The craft beer competition was hosted by the Governor’s Office of the Illinois Bicentennial in partnership with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild and the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois.

The governor also announced that he recently signed legislation allowing Illinois craft brewers to use an innovative can called the "360 pull tabs," which has become popular with craft brew lovers across the country. This legislation which was introduced by State Representative Peter Breen following requests by Illinois brewers, led by Noon Whistle Brewing of Lombard.

The bill will allow packaged cans to use 360 pull tabs where you pull off the entire top of the can. This allows for a more aromatic experience for the craft beer consumer, which is great for IPAs.

Back to the bicentennial for a moment. Illinois was recognized as a State on December 3, 1818, and the official Illinois Bicentennial will be celebrated in 2018 with events planned statewide on Constitution Day, August 26, 2018, and a grand 200th birthday party at the United Center on December 3, 2018.

Municipalities and organizations across the state who are planning Bicentennial events and activities between December 3, 2017, and December 3, 2018, can apply for endorsement by the Illinois Bicentennial. Visit the PARTICIPATE page at www.illinois200.com for more information and to submit an Application for Endorsement.

Here's more on Hand of Fate Brewing Company: