UPDATE: IT PASSED (3/23, 5pm)!!! HB 500 passed Senate today and now only awaits the Governor’s signature as this was classified in “emergency” territory, duhhh. That should take place as soon as Friday of this week per our sources. Certainly within the next 2 weeks. Sleep well everyone, KY’s Private Barrel Selection program is safe and sound.
Kentucky’s entire Private Barrel Selection (PBS) program is in jeopardy, but there’s hope – YOU CAN HELP!
The time for action is NOW. As of today, there are only 7 work days remaining for HB 500 to clear the last and final critical step for passage in KY legislation via the KY Senate. This is where YOU come in!
If you live in Kentucky, and you’re a fan of PBS’s (if not, why?), contact your Senator immediately and tell them to “please pass HB 500”. There are other booze related laws within this bill that will enhance the Kentucky Bourbon Experience for everyone.
Below is a rundown on HB 500 and quick easy ways to contact your Senator (please do it!).
Backstory and Main Points of HB 500
During the 2021 Fall Session, state level regulators (ABC) publicly aired that as it currently exists, PBS are NOT technically legal. New legislation would be necessary in order to create the proper legal channels allowing PBS to commence (legally).
The major problem – a distillery visitor is only allowed 1.75 ozs of booze to sample as the law the currently stands. The problem within the problem, there are no laws or jurisdiction solely for PBS participants. As now, Joe Schmo or Susy Q taking a standard tour is the same as a group conducting a PBS in the eyes of the law.
HB 500 addresses this by treating PBS participants as a separate entity with its own rules vs the standard tour going visitor. Special thanks to House Majority Whip, Rep Chad McCoy (Bardstown, of course), and all other law makers for your help and efforts to push this through. Representative McCoy in particular has been a true beacon over the years for the Kentucky Bourbon Industry, our nickname for him as of this moment…”The Real McCoy”.
Here are the main points of HB 500:
- Authorize private barrel selections and allow consumers and non-profits to buy their private-selection bottles at distillery gift shops.
- Allow distilleries to open one satellite tasting room each, bringing new downtown development, tourism and vibrancy to locations with and without distilleries. Currently, breweries and wineries can operate as many satellite tasting rooms as they wish.
- Let consumers buy exclusive, visitor-center-only bottles at distillery gift shops. Beer and wine lovers know this privilege well. It would draw repeat visitors to the Commonwealth and answer the question so many Kentuckians and tourists ask following their distillery tours; “What can I buy here that I can’t back home?”
What’s up with #3?…Legalize “distillery only” sold bottles? Isn’t that already a thing in Kentucky? Kinda. We looked into it.
In essence, by law, a product has to be available for purchase from a distributor at the state wide retail level. Technically, as it stands now, a distillery gift shop can’t have full autonomy of a release.
For example, Distillery X touts “available only at our visitor center”. That’s very very close to being accurate. However, because of current law, somewhere out there in KY, there may be just one case of that product floating around at some liquor store. So, “distillery only” is currently almost entirely accurate;) If passed, HB 500 will allow this to be 100% entirely accurate.
On a lesser note, the new law proposes that for a “distillery only” release, a consumer is limited to 3L of that purchase (four 750ml) vs the standard 9L cap (twelve 750ml) per each visitor.
HOW TO CONTACT YOUR KY SENATOR
- Click THIS LINK, type “Please support HB 500” in an email as it will automatically connect with your district based Senator.
- Call the legislative hotline at 800-372-7181 and leave a message.