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.

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