Battle brewing in Kentucky over proposal to allow direct shipmen - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Battle brewing in Kentucky over proposal to allow direct shipment of alcohol to customers

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Rep. Phil Moffett (R-Louisville) Rep. Phil Moffett (R-Louisville)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- There is battle brewing at the Kentucky Capitol to change state law, and allow the shipment of alcoholic beverages directly to customers.

Rep. Phil Moffett (R-Louisville) said allowing customers to also get their favorite brew on their doorstep would help uncap even more growth in the city’s booming craft brew industry.

“The local breweries, the small wineries, the craft distillers are all trying to get their feet under them and make a profit.," Moffett said. "This will open up the market of every state that allows direct ship."

The founder of Against the Grain Brewery in downtown Louisville agreed.

“Anything that allows greater market access and allows us to meet customers' needs is a good thing,” Adam Watson said.

But distributors and some retailers are fighting direct shipping. They told members of the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations on Friday that it would undermine the state's effort to regulate alcohol.

“With the stroke of a pen, this legislation can easily turn the entire state wet, making alcoholic beverages more easily accessible to minors,” said Jennifer Doering, General Manager of Chas Seligman Distributing in Walton, Kentucky.

Opponents also testified that direct shipping could cost local jobs.

“We do think this would have a negative impact on Kentucky sales,” said Jason Baird of the Kentucky Malt Beverage Council, which represents Anheuser-Busch wholesale beer distributors.

Moffett said the big players in the industry are just trying to protect their monopoly

“Direct ship of all products to the doorstep is happening, and we can't ignore that,” Moffett said. “We need consumers to be able to have that freedom.”

While Watson said direct shipping is not his primary regulatory issue, he does hope for a compromise everyone can live with.

“It’s a lot of collaboration with the General Assembly, working on just making things more friendly and making sure we can go to work and do our job,” he said.

Moffett said he'll work to address industry concerns, but plans to file a direct shipment bill for the 2018 General Assembly.

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