Is Expanded DtC Beer, Wine & Spirits Shipping on the Way?

Lizzy Connolly | March 9, 2023

Craft beer drinkers want expanded direct-to-consumer (DtC) beer shipping options, and if recent pieces of legislation are any indication, they may soon start to get that wish. Currently, several states have introduced bills that could expand the DtC alcohol shipping landscape for breweries and wineries alike. We’ve highlighted the details below.

Hawaii DtC beer shipping, DtC spirits shipping

Is Hawaii ready to say “aloha” to beer and spirits being shipped right to consumers’ doors? Companion Senate and House bills support the expansion of direct-to-consumer beer shipping and DtC spirits shipping. SB 1571 and HB 1259 would allow “direct shipment of beer and distilled spirits by” producers under rules similar to what already control how wine is shipped within the state.

The two bills also note that the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted certain beverage alcohol manufacturers in Hawaii. The closure of bars and clubs, as well as prohibiting in-person dining “has caused these manufacturers to struggle to find alternative methods of serving their customers, resulting in drastic revenue losses.”

“Direct business-to consumer shipping will allow these manufacturers to serve existing customers while also pursuing additional markets and new customer bases,” according to the bills. “Direct business-to-consumer shipping will also assist smaller manufacturers that are struggling to find wholesalers willing to sell and represent the manufacturer’s small brands by giving those manufacturers direct access to customers.”

Minnesota DtC wine shipping

A Minnesota bill (HF 417) would expand the amount of wine that a winery could ship directly to a consumer to 12 cases per person per calendar year. This would replace the current limit of two cases per person per year, while also establishing new licensing and tax requirements on wineries shipping into the state. This would bring Minnesota into alignment with other states that permit DtC shipping, rather than the more informal arrangement that currently governs DtC shipping in the state. In addition, common carriers servicing DtC shipments will be required to file a regular report on their activity in the state.

New Jersey DtC wine shipping

A New Jersey bill (NJ S549) would remove the production cap on what wineries are permitted to DtC ship in the state.

“Wineries that produce more than the 250,000 gallon capacity cap are currently prohibited from directly shipping wine,” according to the NJ S549 summary. “This bill establishes a license to allow the holder of a New Jersey winery license or an out-of-State winery that exceeds the 250,000 gallon capacity cap to directly ship up to 12 cases of wine annually to any person over the age of 21.”

Currently, only New Jersey still has a production cap after Ohio removed its restrictions on wineries producing more than 250,000 gallons last year.

Washington DtC wine shipping

Two Washington state bills (H 1016 and SB 5007) would allow in-state and out-of-state retailers to ship wine directly to consumers. Retailers would need to be licensed to sell wine in Washington or “obtain a wine retailer shipper’s permit under procedures prescribed by the board by rule and pay an annual fee of $100 to the board,” according to the bills. While almost every state permits domestic producers to ship DtC, only about 14 grant access to that market to out-of-state retailers, severely limiting consumer access to imports and other wines that are only distributed in one or two major markets.

Stay tuned to Sovos ShipCompliant for the latest on how these pieces of legislation—and others—are decided.

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