Kentucky, Tennessee Slowly Advance Whiskey Legislative Agendas - The Whiskey Wash

Kentucky, Tennessee Slowly Advance Whiskey Legislative Agendas

It could easily be argued Kentucky and Tennessee are the heart of American whiskey, given the overwhelming presence of distilleries and related whiskey tourism experiences available in these neighboring states. Some of the laws of these two lands, however, are still a bit Prohibition-like in nature, which is something one is slowly seeing change through the efforts of trade groups and their affiliated legislative representatives.

In Kentucky recently the state legislature passed House Bill 400, making it legal under certain conditions for distilleries and the like to ship bottles of bourbon to the homes of consumers. Given that each state in the United States regulates the distribution and sales of alcohol in their own ways, it is currently only a small number of places this shipping can legally happen to, at least for now anyhow.

Kentucky bourbon

Lots of good old Kentucky bourbon (image copyright The Whiskey Wash)

“House Bill 400 is a bold, historic step in modernizing our signature bourbon and distilled spirits industry,” said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, in a prepared statement. “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 85 percent [of distillery visitors last year] purchased a souvenir bottle during their trip [to Kentucky]. 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.”

Meanwhile, in Tennessee, state legislative officials there have just finally legalized seven day alcohol sales. According to an economic analysis, seven-day sales of spirits and wine in Tennessee would generate between $20 and $28 million per year for retail stores, which could produce as much as $5.4 million in new state and local taxes.

“The Tennessee legislature has voted in favor of consumers and small business owners,” said Distilled Spirits Council Vice President Dale Szyndrowski. “Tennesseans want a convenient and modern marketplace that allows alcohol sales seven days a week – just like in neighboring states.”