Kentucky legislature passes bill that would allow alcoholic beverages to be shipped by mail

More than 1 million visitors pour into Kentucky each year to tour the Bourbon Trail, according to state lawmakers, and many of those visitors say they run into the same problem.

It’s hard to bring bottles home. 

“Getting alcohol through an airport now is challenging,” said Joe Heron, Founder of Copper and Kings. “Probably the No. 1 question we get is ‘Why don't you ship?’”

However, that may soon change. A bill that will allow alcoholic beverages to be shipped through the mail in Kentucky received final passage in the state Senate and is on its way to Gov. Matt Bevin’s desk. House Bill 400 would allow bourbon distillery visitors, wineries and liquor stores to ship limited amounts of spirits.

Distillers say it’s a game-changer in the industry. Heron said this it could increase his sales more than 40 percent.

“I'm 1,000 percent in support of this bill,” Heron said. “For the whole state, millions of people coming in, imagine if all of them just bought two more bottles. You can have bourbon, or a brandy or a gin-of-the-month club.”

Although it's still early, Kentucky distillers are already making plans. Welcome centers could soon see shipping kiosks for visitors to ship bottles home.

UPS spokesperson Jim Mayer released a statement Tuesday:

“UPS supports HB400, which improves the free flow of commerce, and benefits the citizens of the Commonwealth and one of its signature products. We are still looking at the potential impact of the legislation, as the laws for shipment of alcoholic beverages are complex and vary widely by state.  It’s important to note that:  Currently, UPS ships alcoholic beverages on a contract basis only. For shipments containing bourbon or other liquor, shippers must have a contract with UPS, be licensed and authorized under applicable law to ship alcohol, and may ship only to licensed consignees in selected states.  At this time, UPS does not accept shipments of alcohol or beer for delivery to consumers, but does allow direct-to-customer wine shipments from and to specific states.  Any wine shipments require the signature of an adult 21 years of age or older upon delivery."

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