Monday, June 4, 2018

Kentucky Launches Mail Order Bourbon Business

Governor Matt Bevin signs the 'Bourbon Without Borders Act' at the Frazier History Museum in Louisville.
The bill Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed into law on Friday allows alcoholic beverage producers in Kentucky--distilleries but also small farm wineries--to ship their products out-of-state. Nicknamed the 'Bourbon Without Borders Act,' it was introduced by Chad McCoy, who represents Bardstown in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

"HB 400 is an important step in eliminating red tape and modernizing one of Kentucky's signature industries," said Gov. Bevin in a tweet. "This new law will promote economic development and increase tourism opportunities, ensuring that visitors can take a little piece of Kentucky home with them when they leave."

Some visitors, anyway. Currently, the privilege is limited to states that also allow direct shipment, of which there are seven (Arizona, Hawaii, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Rhode Island), plus Washington, D.C. The hope is that more states will join the club, leading eventually to a national direct sales marketplace.

Kentucky bourbon distillers and other producers celebrated the new law, as did UPS, which has its Worldport hub at Louisville's airport. UPS's largest air facility, Worldport processes an average of 1.6 million packages a day.

The direct shipment law takes on more significance when considered in conjunction with Kentucky's new 'Vintage Spirits Law,' which took effect on January 1. Now collectors in participating states can buy and sell legally without traveling to Kentucky, as long as they sell to and buy from a licensed Kentucky alcohol retailer. (Unlicensed individuals may not ship alcohol, but if you can get it there, everything else is legal and aboveboard.)

Full normalization of the secondary market in alcoholic beverages still has a long way to go, but it is nice to see Kentucky exhibiting this kind of leadership.


Harry in WashDC said...

Subject to a close reading of the law and of any rules and regs issued thereunder, it appears that persons like me who reside in one of the named reciprocal jurisdictions (like Wash DC) may be able to establish an arm's length commercial relationship with a retailer in Kentucky and order, for example, a six bottle case of HH 6yr BIB which will be delivered to my porch. No longer will one be forced to drive ten hours on I-64 through Bristol VA, Charleston WV to, say, Cannonsburg KY and HOPE that some store has them so I don't have to drive all the way to Lexington. Not that I've ever done this.

In other words, I never thought I'd live long enough to see this. Thanks. I may have to unretire and renew my "active" bar membership so I can advise others on how to take advantage of this.

Richard Turner said...

"...The hope is that more sates will join the club..."
From your lips (keystrokes?) to God's ears, Chuck!

Harry said...

Please excuse my previous post - its over-exuberance was understandable but unwarranted.

A quick reading of HB 400 has disclosed that, in order for shipments to be made interstate, the customer must arrange for shipment and for payment IN PERSON. This applies to distillery gift shop sales (KRS 243.0305(3)) as well as to "quota retail package license" sellers - Kentucky's official word for licensed retail stores I'm guessing (KRS 243.241(b)). It also applies to "subscription" or "club" programs which allow for shipments to be spread out over a calendar year; apparently, the customer also must set this up in person. While those of us unable to travel to Kentucky cannot take advantage of this change, some of us still see it as a good first step and are happy that distillery visitors (and border crossers) no longer have to pack second suitcases or rent U-Hauls (smile).

Off point - I think I owe you money for the BCR for this year. Unless you tell me otherwise, the check will be in the mail by July 1st.

Chuck Cowdery said...

Subscribers to the Bourbon Country Reader receive two renewal notices, one with their second-to-last issue and one with their last issue, so if you haven't received a renewal notice, you're paid-up.