According to the software company ShipCompliant, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) announced at their board meeting last week that they have sent more than 100 cease and desist letters to retailers, wineries, and fulfillment houses. The letters state that the ILCC "has evidence that your business is transferring alcoholic liquor into Illinois from a point outside of Illinois without a license."
Letter recipients have five business days to respond if they believe they received the letter in error or would like to apply for the required license. The ILCC is threatening to notify the common carrier making the shipment about the non-compliance, which will result in a violation of the carrier agreement and potentially put shipments to all states at risk for that seller.
ShipCompliant reports that Iowa and Michigan are taking similar steps to compel compliance with state law regarding direct shipping.
Forty-three states now permit their citizens to receive shipments directly from producers, but only 14 permit direct shipment from out-of-state retailers.
Each state, of course, makes producers and retailers jump through different hoops, and that's why ShipCompliant puts out these reports. They want to attract attention to their product, an integrated software platform that handles all of the legal stuff on a state-by-state basis for producers and anyone else who wants to do booze business across state lines.
At this point direct shipping is mostly about wine, but every kind of beverage alcohol producer faces the same frustrations dealing with 50 very different jurisdictions. Probably the biggest shock for new producers -- whether they make wine, beer, or spirits -- is how much time they are forced to spend on regulatory compliance matters.
All of this regulation, over-regulation to some, is based on the premise that alcoholic beverages are a uniquely dangerous consumer product, evidently the most dangerous consumer product in existence, since it is the most highly regulated one. There is a good case to be made for 'normalizing' alcohol regulation, improving efficiency by making it better fit the need, but the first thing you would need to do is eliminate the 50-states solution, which probably would require a constitutional amendment since it was created by one, the 21st.
In addition to abiding all sorts of vested interests, alcohol regulation is politically charged. That's why virtually nothing has changed since 1933.