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The newly implemented law allows shipments to seven states.

Mike Pomranz
June 05, 2018

Traveling for a bit of booze tasting—whether to breweries, wineries or distilleries—always makes for a great vacation… that is, until you face the inevitable question: How do I get all this amazing stuff I’ve tried home? You can always pack bottles in your luggage, but airport security and baggage fees have made traveling with liquids more difficult. And let’s be honest: Regardless, sometimes you simply want to bring back more booze than you can sensibly carry. For these situations, lots of brands offer their own shipping services, allowing customers to conveniently meet their bottles back at their doorstep. But for years, this solution wasn’t available to whisky tourists in Kentucky—until last week, that is.

This past Friday, the world’s bourbon capital, was finally able to toast a new law in the state allowing distilleries (and wineries, if Kentucky wine is your thing) to ship bottles home to consumers. Governor Matt Bevin, who officially signed the law in April, and other state officials were reportedly on hand to preside over the ceremonial first shipments of commemorative bourbon bottles.

But though allowing distilleries to ship booze is seen as a big step forward for the state, plenty of caveats still apply. First, all purchases must be made in person. Second, only 4.5 liters—or six standard 750-milliliter bottles worth—of spirits can be shipped per person per day. Notably, the law does make an exception for “Clubs of the Month,” allowing customers to receive regular shipments. But most importantly, bottles can only be sent to states that allow for the spirit shipments. As of right now, that list only includes seven other states—Arizona, Hawaii, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Rhode Island—and the District of Columbia.

Still, despite these continued restrictions, the hope is that Kentucky will serve as a trendsetter to expand the legalization of shipping spirits. Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, pointed out that over 70 percent of distillery visitors are from outside of Kentucky, and 86 percent of those visitors purchase souvenir bottles. “Ever since the KDA created the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour, visitors have demanded the right to ship bottles home and to friends around the world,” Gregory stated. “It’s only a matter of time before more states allow reciprocity with Kentucky and embrace the shipping of spirits, just like they have wine.”

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