Kentucky Bourbon Distilleries May Soon Offer Online Whiskey Shopping - The Whiskey Wash

Kentucky Bourbon Distilleries May Soon Offer Online Whiskey Shopping

By Nino Marchetti / March 26, 2020

The Kentucky bourbon industry, looking to “modernize the spirits industry and end Prohibition-era policies” in way that would help perhaps gain legions of new bottle buyers, have a new piece of legislation just passed in that state’s legislature to crow about. Known as House Bill (HB) 415, it would allow for producer-only direct-to-consumer shipping.

The legislation, which now must be signed by Kentucky’s governor, would allow Kentucky distilleries “to ship spirits directly to consumers in reciprocal states through online and telephone orders.” This is similar to how the winery industry is set up across much of the United States, subject, of course, to state and local liquor laws.

“During these trying and uncertain times,” said Kentucky Distillers’ Association president Eric Gregory in a prepared statement, “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.

Soon Woodford Reserve may be able to sell and ship this bourbon to you directly (image via Woodford Reserve)

“This is truly a historic and game changing day for our signature industry.”

HB 415 builds upon a law passed in Kentucky a few years back that allowed consumers the right to legally ship home up to 4.5 liters of spirits per person when they visit an in-state distillery. While that now on the books law and this new pending legal move are great for consumers, two major caveats still exist:

  • the United States Postal Service does not allow the legal shipment of alcohol, so it must go through a third party carrier such as UPS or Fedex.
  • the state the whiskey shipment is going to must be a reciprocal state, basically meaning they must legally allow for spirits coming from Kentucky to be shipped to their residents. As it stands now only a handful of states and the District of Columbia allow for this. (Editor’s Note – we’ve requested a list of the most current states in this regard and will post it as soon as said information is provided)

It is believed that HB 415 will serve as “the model for direct-to-consumer spirits shipping in the country and provides a sound regulatory framework that ensures responsibility, the proper collection of taxes and provides enforcement tools necessary for compliance with all laws.”