When it comes to distilled spirits the devil is in the details whether you are fine tuning your fermentation process, distillation process or barreling process. Many of those processes are well kept company secrets but when it comes to shipping bottles of bourbon intrastate or interstate the same devilish rules apply to all distillers. Though the rules are standard across the state the laws vary widely by state.
In 2020 Kentucky approved House Bill 415 that made it legal to sell beer, wine and spirits by phone or online and ship in state and to 10 reciprocal states plus D.C. Now distillers led by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association are working on fine tuning last year’s historic law with this year’s House Bill 415. Ironically both bills landed with the same number something you don’t often see.
The new bill passed the Kentucky House of Representatives and now goes on the Senate and assuming they pass it the final step would be the Governor’s signature. The latest bill will allow distillers to outsource the fulfillment of their Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) shipping to a third party. For the smaller craft spirits makers this may not have a huge impact but for the larger heritage distillers that sell throughout the world this will really help with logistics. The current bill, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, passed 82-15.
Kentucky Distillers Association President Eric Gregory said there are now more than 15 states looking to introduce or expand their direct-to-consumer efforts which will create many new reciprocal markets to ship the Commonwealth’s coveted Kentucky Bourbon, craft beer, small farm wine and other spirits.
“This key update to last year’s bold direct-to-consumer reforms will keep Kentucky at the forefront of spirits shipping to meet increasing consumer demand and strengthen our rightful title as the one, true and authentic home for Bourbon,” Gregory said.
HB 415 will allow the use of third-party fulfillment centers to efficiently ship bottles; set a level playing field for state tax collection on distillery gift shop sales; and establish guidelines for shipping alcohol samples to media, business and marketing partners, among other measures.
The Kentucky Distillers Association applauded Rep. Koenig, Chairman of the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee, for his steadfast leadership in working for months with all interested parties to address issues of concern.
“Chairman Koenig continues to demonstrate collaborative and effective leadership in modernizing Kentucky’s archaic alcohol laws, which in turn is creating more distilling jobs and investment for the benefit of the entire state,” Gregory said.
HB 415 now goes to the Kentucky Senate for consideration.