Buying Craft Spirits in Some States Is Hard, So This Company Found a Loophole

How BOTLD is getting excellent out-of-state spirits into Pennsylvania legally

A customer in the BOTLD store in Philadelphia looking at a craft spirit. The store uses a loophole to get difficult-to-find spirits into the state.
BOTLD gets out-of-state craft spirits into Pennsylvania.

How and where you get your alcohol depends on the state you live in. It’s 50 states and 50 different sets of laws. And Pennsylvania has particularly onerous liquor rules, thanks to its state liquor control board.

One company is trying to change this level of control utilizing a clever (and legal) loophole. BOTLD, recently launched in Philadelphia, partners with interesting craft spirits from outside the state’s borders to bring their bottles into Pennsylvania without the restrictions placed on consumers by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB).

The PLCB describes itself as follows: “Seventeen states (including Pennsylvania) and jurisdictions in Alaska, Maryland, Minnesota, and South Dakota control the sale of distilled spirits and, in some cases, wine and beer through government agencies at the wholesale level. Thirteen of those jurisdictions (including Pennsylvania) also exercise control over retail sales for off-premises consumption.” Meaning: It’s hard to get artisanal stuff in PA if it’s not already in a state liquor store.

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Founded by Andrew Auwerda (of Bluecoat Gin and Philadelphia Distilling), BOTLD works with craft distillers around the country to bottle and package their products in PA as a workaround to the long-standing Pennsylvania liquor laws. In-state craft distilleries have been able to sell their stuff direct-to-consumer since 2016. The loophole? The craft exception extends to any spirit bottled in the state. So BOTLD can take outside spirits housed in intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) and then proof and bottle them, in their own packaging and labels, at the company’s in-state facility. This unique system also eliminates some packaging waste and shipping costs.

So what can you get? We’re huge fans of Santa Fe Spirits, so it’s nice to see them on the small but growing (and diverse) list of BOTLD’s partners. As Fast Company notes, the company also prioritizes female-owned distilleries like Stephanie Jordan’s Avallen Spirits and Black-owned distilleries like Delta Dirt. And the site offers an array of craft whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, brandy and liqueurs.

For those in the state, BOTLD has a store in Philadelphia’s Center City and offers free statewide shipping.


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