BREAKING: Kentucky’s House Bill 415 Has Passed, Allowing Distilleries to Ship Bourbon to Your Door

Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon could soon be showing up at your door.

UPDATE 3/26: HOORAY! A version of House Bill 415 has passed, allowing distilleries to ship bourbon directly to consumers. Kentucky Distilleries (and breweries/wineries) will be allowed to ship to reciprocal states through online and telephone orders, much as the wine industry has done for years. The bill will not include retailers.

Jeff McKenzie, Chairman of law firm Dentons Bingham Greenebaum, helped with the bill and had these enthusiastic words,”This is an exciting step for Kentucky, and hopefully for the nation, to provide a fair and well-reasoned framework for the direct online shipment of spirits. The new legislation will provide an open door for consumers in reciprocating states to obtain Kentucky bourbon and other spirits online, directly from the producers, with guidelines similar to those governing the nation’s wineries. This is all a result of extensive cooperation between industry leaders, the KDA and the legislature.”

He noted the following political figures as key players in punching it through: Rep. Adam Koenig, Rep. Chad McCoy, House Speaker David Osborne, Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, Sen. John Schickel, Senate President Robert Stivers and Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey.

First the Coronavirus Relief Bill getting inked, now this?! They say good things happen in threes, I think we’re do another round of good luck. Link here to read more.

Kentuckians will soon have better access to their favorite booze, from both in and outside the state. Last week, the Kentucky House Licensing and Occupations Committee passed House Bill 415, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, which would allow producers (distilleries, breweries, etc.) to ship wine, spirits, and beer directly to your door.

Here’s what it means for shipments coming into the state of Kentucky.

Out of state retailers will be able to purchase a shipping permit for shipping distilled spirits, wine, malted beverages into the state of Kentucky. The following guidelines will be required.

  • Shipments must be marked as alcohol and a 21 years or older signature is required.
  • Shipments must not contain more than 9 liters per person per day for distilled spirits, 4 cases of wine per person per day, or 2 cases of malted beverages per person per day.
  • Shipment details submitted to the Department of Revenue monthly.
  • A 15% tax on the gross receipt must be paid to the Department of Revenue.

Here’s what it means for shipments going out.

In-state holders of permits that allow the sale of alcohol by the package will be able to ship to consumers outside following all state and local laws of consumer. They will also have to abide by any other laws associated with shipping alcohol in that state or local area. In-state holders of alcohol permits will not be charged annually for shipping permits as it is already included in their license fees.

It’s important to note that the bill would only affect shipping bourbon from the top of Kentucky’s three tier system, the producer. In Kentucky, producers (like distilleries) sell to the next tier, distributors, who sell to the final tier – bars, restaurants, and package stores.

Distributors and wholesalers will not be included in this bill, while retailers testified in front of the committee that this could hurt their bottom line should consumers choose to order directly from the producer rather than patronize their local liquor store.

The proposed change comes after several years of legislature helpful to the bourbon industry, such as bills allowing distilleries to sell by the drink and the recent House Bill 100 allowing for the sale of vintage whiskey.

House Bill 415 will head to the full Kentucky House for a vote soon. Link here to read the full bill.

Caroline Paulus
Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.