The alcohol industry in Kentucky is experiencing a boom right now. From distillers to microbreweries, more and more local businesses are popping up throughout the state.
Kentucky’s signature spirit, bourbon has generated millions for the commonwealth and as craft beer is becoming more popular that industry is beginning to bring in big bucks as well.
Throughout the past couple of years, Kentucky lawmakers have been passing legislation to help the distillers and brewers thrive in the state by allowing more freedom in selling their product. This past session was no different. Specifically, two pieces of legislation have been passed allowing alcohol makers to get their products to more people.
To begin with, House Bill 136 increases the amount of packaged beer craft breweries are able to sell to individual customers at the brewery. Currently customers are only allowed to take home about 24 12-ounce beers, or a little over two gallons of beer. The new legislation, increases that amount to three cases or the equivalent of 2 kegs of beer.
The second part of the bill allows brewers to have more people access their product, by allowing breweries to sell one case per customer at festivals or fairs. Finally, the bill allows craft brewers to save money by sending their wholesale tax payments directly to the Kentucky Department of Revenue, cutting out the middle man, who takes one percent before sending the payment in.
Gov.Matt Bevin, R-Kentucky, along side Democrats and Republicans held a signing ceremony for House Bill 400 —which allows customers to ship bottles of alcohol purchased at a distillery or winery. Previously, customers were unable to mail home bottles enjoyed while visiting distilleries within the state. The new law allows visitors to ship up to four and a half liters of spirits and four cases of wine per person when visiting a distillery or winery. Visitors are only able to send bottles to states that allow alcohol shipments—and must be bought at the distillery or in person.
Gov. Bevin sees this as a step forward in cementing Kentucky as the bourbon capitol of the world.
“We will continue to cut red tape, imagine the fact you used to be able to come here, tour here, and fall in love with a product and not be able to buy it and ship it home?” Bevin said. “Can you imagine if that was the case in Napa Valley? This is becoming the Napa Valley of distilled spirits.”
While these bills were not passed unanimously—the vast majority of members in the General Assembly did support them.
House Bill 400 is already in effect, while House Bill 136 will go into effect July 1.
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