Kentucky Lawmakers Pass Bill to Allow Direct to Consumer Shipments of Bourbon
Six states and the District of Columbia allow the direct shipment of distilled spirits. With the addition of one more signature, we can soon add one more state to that list, Kentucky. Ironically, the state that produces 95% of the world’s bourbon and is home to the city known as the “Bourbon Capital of the World” cannot ship distilled spirits outside of its borders until now.
The Kentucky Distillers’ Association in partnership with state legislatures just passed House Bill 400 that will soon change all that.
Kentucky Senator Damon Thayer had this to say about the bill. “House Bill 400 is another important step on removing artificial barriers to free enterprise that I strongly support whenever possible in this body. It is another step in unraveling the overly obtrusive, post-Prohibition alcohol laws that have been in place in Kentucky for over half a century. This bill moves the ball way down the field Mr. President and truly allows our bourbon distilleries an opportunity for Kentucky to become the Napa Valley of the bourbon business.”
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A Statement from the Kentucky Distillers’ Association
Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association said, “House Bill 400 is a bold, historic step in modernizing our signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. The number one question from Bourbon tourists is, “Why can’t I ship my bottles home?” Now, with the passage of HB 400, they can very soon.”
“More than 1.2 million stops were made at Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® distilleries last year, with 70 percent coming from outside Kentucky. More than 85 percent purchased a souvenir bottle during their trip.”
“With the ability to ship bottles home, we’re confident that number will increase with visitors purchasing more bottles, which will boost tourism and add valuable tax dollars to local and state coffers. It’s a win-win for Bourbon and our beloved Commonwealth.”
More importantly, it’s a win-win for consumers that make the trip to bourbon mecca. According to an economic impact study conducted by the University of Louisville the average bourbon tourist spends $1,000 on their trip. That number will surely increase now that consumers that visit a distillery and ship a few bottles of their favorite distilled spirit home.
Gregory added, “It’s only a matter of time before more and more states allow reciprocity with Kentucky and embrace the shipping of spirits, just like they have wine.”
The States that Allow DTC Alcohol Shipments
- Kentucky (Pending Governor’s signature.)
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- Washington, DC
Gregory’s statement goes on to say, “Bourbon brings people together, and HB 400 has been a bipartisan effort with passage by historic margins for an alcohol bill. We’d like to specifically thank Rep. Chad McCoy (hometown, Bardstown, Ky), the primary sponsor, and Sen. John Schickel, the Senate sponsor, for their tremendous work and leadership.”
“We’d also like to applaud Republican and Democratic leadership in both chambers, our partners at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Greater Louisville, Inc., CommerceLex, the Kentucky League of Cities, and most of all, our 39 member distilleries who are working in unison to promote, protect and elevate our timeless craft.”
We’ll let you know when HB400 is signed by the state’s Governor Matt Bevin.
Resources: Video excerpts courtesy of KET.