For a state that’s responsible for 95 percent of the world’s bourbon, it may surprise you that, by law, anyone traveling through the state cannot ship bottles home. That, of course, goes for any distillery on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, from Louisville to Knoxville.
That all changed last week when the Kentucky General Assembly passed House Bill 400, a new law that allows visitors to the state’s distilleries and wineries to purchase bottles and ship them home, as well as join Kentucky-based subscription bottle clubs. The bill — nicknamed “Bourbon Without Borders” — is expected to be signed into effect by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin this week.
Long story short: this is the first gigantic step in cementing the region’s financial stake in bourbon tourism, or as Kentucky Senator Damon Thayer put it, the bill will help distilleries become “the Napa Valley of the bourbon business.”
Under HB 400, bourbon lovers will be able to purchase up to six 750 ML bottles per person per day for shipment, as well as receive shipments of up to one nine-liter case of spirits annually as part of a club membership. The bill also impacts the state’s wineries, which will be able to sell up to four cases of wine per person for shipment.
The fine print? Shipments of liquor and wine can only be shipped to Arizona, Hawaii, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. — all states that have reciprocal laws.
Like we said, gigantic step, but a first step nonetheless. In a press release, Kentucky Distillers’ Association President Eric Gregory says “it’s only a matter of time before more and more states allow reciprocity with Kentucky and embrace the shipping of spirits, just like they have wine.”
Here’s to hoping that comes soon.