In 2018 Kentucky Distillers’ Association in working with state legislators passed HB 400 that among other things allowed Kentucky distillers to ship distilled spirits Direct-to-Consumers or DTC. There were a couple ‘buts’ in the bill from a couple of years ago. The consumer had to live in one of eight reciprocal states or Washington, D.C. (full list below) and they had to have visited the distillery in person to place the order. Now granted the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour saw well over 1.7 million visitors in 2019 but that number is relatively small compared to the entire population of the reciprocal states. That ‘but’ is about to be removed.
Kentucky Distillers Inch Closer to DTC Sales via Phone or Online
This year’s House Bill 415 is about to remove one of those ‘buts’. House Bill 415 was just approved by state legislators and is headed to Gov. Andy Beshear’s desk for signing. Reality check: Gov. Beshear who has gained national attention for his steady and thoughtful handling of the Coronavirus has his hands full these days. During his daily press conferences he’s made it clear on many occasions that liquor stores are to remain open as they are deemed essential services. Not to mention distilleries are making headlines of their own for shifting gears and making hand sanitizer for first responders – that really helps the case that distillers are here and part of the community.
The new HB 415 will help Kentucky to take a bold step forward in its continued leadership to modernize the spirits industry and end Prohibition-era policies with the final passage of the bill. The bill will also provide parity with the wine industry which has enjoyed the same rules for decades.
The new law, once passed will include the same guidance and sound regulatory framework that ensures responsibility, the proper collection of taxes and provides enforcement tools necessary for compliance with all laws. The law requires recipients of spirits to show ID to verify they are of legal drinking age.
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In a statement from the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and its members, they applaud the visionary and tireless leadership of Rep. Adam Koenig, Rep. Chad McCoy, House Speaker David Osborne, Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, Sen. John Schickel, Senate President Robert Stivers and Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey.
Kentucky Distillers’ Association President Eric Gregory said, “During these trying and uncertain times, the passage of HB 415 will provide spirits, beer and wine producers with the means necessary to grow jobs and investment in our beloved Commonwealth.”
We’ll keep you posted as House Bill 415 becomes law.