Kentucky Distillers’ Association Toasts Final Passage of Priority Legislation
For Immediate Release – March 5, 2021
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Distillers’ Association today raised a glass to the final passage of three KDA priority measures, including House Bill 415, the update to last year’s historic direct-to-consumer alcohol shipping law that has become a model for the country.
Sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, HB 415 passed the Senate today by a bipartisan vote of 29-5 and now heads to Gov. Andy Beshear’s desk for consideration. It passed the House last month by an overwhelming 82-15 margin.
KDA President Eric Gregory said there are now more than 15 states looking to introduce or expand their direct-to-consumer efforts which will create many new reciprocal markets to ship the Commonwealth’s coveted Kentucky Bourbon, craft beer, small farm wine and other spirits.
“We are extremely thankful to the General Assembly for passing this key update to last year’s bold reforms that will keep Kentucky at the forefront of spirits shipping to meet increasing consumer demand and strengthen our rightful title as the one, true, authentic home for Bourbon,” Gregory said.
HB 415 will allow the use of third-party fulfillment centers to efficiently ship bottles; set a level playing field for state tax collection on distillery gift shop sales; and establish guidelines for shipping alcohol samples to media, business and marketing partners, among other measures.
The General Assembly sent two other KDA legislative priorities to the Governor on Friday.
SB 67, sponsored by Sen. John Schickel, makes permanent the popular “take home cocktails” that have been a lifeline to restaurants and the hospitality industry during the pandemic. It passed the Senate 28-7 and the House 67-27.
“The cocktail movement has been one of the main drivers behind the Bourbon renaissance as bartenders – and even burgeoning home bartenders – have discovered the elegance and complexity of our premium small batch and single barrel whiskies in crafting mixed drinks,” Gregory said.
“Our restaurant, bar and hospitality partners have been decimated by the pandemic and continue to struggle in the recovery. They are tremendously important to our signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry, so we have been thrilled to offer our full support and advocacy to this key bill.”
SB 68, also sponsored by Sen. Schickel, strengthens Kentucky’s workforce development efforts by exempting educational institutions from the state’s 600-gallon production requirement for licensure in their hands-on distilling courses. It passed the Senate 32-2 and the House 78-15.
“Senator Schickel always takes a leading legislative role on behalf of our homegrown industry as he understands the state’s archaic, Prohibition-era laws are in desperate need of updating to keep up with the Bourbon boom and today’s modern, consumer-driven economy,” Gregory said.
“He is a true champion of Kentucky Bourbon and we thank him for his strong, visionary and consistent support.”
Although Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world’s Bourbon, there are now more than 3,500 distilleries in all 50 states, Gregory said. Distilling is the highest taxed industry in Kentucky, and remains the only place in the world that taxes aging barrels of spirits.
“There are a dozen states that now have more distilleries than Kentucky, but none can match our 200-year history and heritage of crafting the world’s finest Bourbon,” he said. “Still, we must remain vigilant and progressive each and every year in order to maintain our historic distilling monopoly.”
Gregory also cheered Rep. Koenig, Chairman of the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee, for his effective leadership and transparency with all interested parties in the passage of HB 415.
“Chairman Koenig is a true statesman who deserves immense credit for his collaboration and continued leadership in modernizing Kentucky’s alcohol laws, which is creating more distilling jobs and investment for the benefit of the entire state. We applaud and toast his 100-proof support.”
For more information, contact: KDA President Eric Gregory at [email protected].
Founded in 1880, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association is the historic voice for Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. Its diverse and growing membership produces 90 percent of the world’s Bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are fostering the next generation of the Commonwealth’s timeless craft and treasured economic engine. Member benefits include media relations, international trade development, private sampling events, technical assistance, economic development support, networking, legal defense, marketing strategies, governmental and regulatory advocacy and innovative tourism experiences through the KDA’s world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® adventures. The KDA maintains an open membership policy, champions a strong commitment to the responsible and moderate consumption of spirits, and fights to curb underage drinking and drunk driving. Learn more at www.kybourbon.com and www.kybourbontrail.com. Enjoy Bourbon like a true Kentuckian — Responsibly. KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL®, KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL CRAFT TOUR®, KENTUCKY BOURBON AFFAIR™, KBT®, BOURBON TRAIL™, KENTUCKY BOURBON HALL OF FAME® and BOURBON WITHOUT BORDERS® are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.