Kentucky’s New Law Allowing Online Sales Of Spirits Goes Into Effect

By Robert Ham / December 27, 2020

A little bit of history for the Kentucky whiskey industry was made in mid-December with the state’s first-ever online order for a bottle of bourbon.

Doing the honors was Kentucky State Representative Adam Koenig, a co-sponsor for HB 415, the legislative act that allows Kentucky retailers to ship beer, wine, and spirits to customers within their home state and to other states that have similar laws. Koenig made his purchase directly after these new regulations went into effect.

Old Forester 150th Anniversary Bourbon

Bourbons such as this one have a new retail channel in Kentucky (Image via Brown-Forman)

“I am honored to be able to place the first order,” Representative Koenig said, in a prepared statement. “Hitting ‘complete purchase’ symbolized so much more than buying a great bottle of bourbon. For Kentucky citizens, it means both convenience and expanded options to choose from. It is an extraordinary day for the men and women who work at our distilleries, wineries, and breweries as well as Kentuckians who want a bourbon or glass of wine with dinner.”

Prior to the passing of HB 415, some shipping was possible but it still required an in-person transaction to start the ball rolling. With that restriction removed, distilleries and retailers can now take online orders and get their bottles in the mail. As well, other states with the same law on the books can ship their wares to customers in Kentucky.

“This is bigger than Kentucky. We are now a national model for how to expand opportunities,” Koenig continued. “These changes have been a long time coming but I think it is particularly meaningful that it is implemented now, after so many of these companies have stepped up to manufacture hand sanitizer and other products to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. They answered the call in a powerful way.”

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Along with that, the new law also ensures that alcohol isn’t being sold to “dry” communities and puts ID checks at both the point of sale and delivery to keep these bottles out of the hands of minors. The boxes must clearly state there is alcohol inside and acceptance of these packages requires a signature and a valid ID.

The law comes at an ideal time, as, without needing to make in-person purchases and visit indoor retailers and distilleries, it will help to limit the exposure of customers to the coronavirus.

Said Koenig, “Now that I have placed the order, I am definitely looking forward to raising a glass and toasting this new chapter in our state’s alcoholic beverage control laws.”

Koenig was joined in the sponsorship of this bill by the Speaker of the House David Osborne, and House Majority Whip Chad McCoy, as well as fellow representatives Mark Hart, Thomas Huff, and Kevin Bratcher.


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