shipping-wine-directly-to-consumers

Is Idaho a reciprocal state for DTC wine shipping?

There’s a law on the books in Idaho that for years has been interpreted to allow a retailer licensed in another state to ship wine directly to consumers in Idaho, if the other state allows Idaho residents to receive wine from that state without payment of additional state tax. This suggests Idaho is what’s known as a “reciprocal state” for wine retailers.

However, in a request for validation of this rule, Idaho Alcohol Beverage Control Bureau (ABC) representatives state that Idaho has no reciprocity agreements with other states at this time. As a result, out-of-state retailers may not be allowed to sell wine directly to consumers in Idaho after all.

A reciprocity law seems to still be on the books in Idaho, though we now know it isn’t interpreted that way. Idaho recently stated that its reciprocity agreements mostly expired in 2006, when 23-1309 was amended to allow out-of-state manufacturers (wineries) to ship directly to consumers in Idaho.

A bit of background: Idaho 23-1309A, created in 1992, allowed a business with a license for the retail sale of wine for consumption off premises to ship not more than two cases per shipment for personal use directly to a resident of another state if the state to which the wine is sent allows residents of Idaho to receive wine sent from that state without payment of additional state tax, fees, or charges. Such a sale is considered to occur in Idaho. (See Ch. 236, Sec 1 in the 1992 Session Laws.)

When 23-1309A was amended in 2006 to change winery shipping to a permit system, the retail shipping language described above was left the same. Although this doesn’t mean there are reciprocal arrangements in place, amended 23-1309A(7) doesn’t clearly state that out-of-state retailers cannot ship to consumers in the state. The actual language is a bit confusing: “A licensee who holds a license for the retail sale of wine for consumption off the licensed premises may ship not more than two (2) cases of wine, containing not more than nine (9) liters per case, per shipment, for personal use and not for resale, directly to a resident of another state if the state to which the wine is sent allows residents of this state to receive wine sent from that state without payment of additional state tax, fees or charges” (emphasis mine).

The Idaho ABC maintains that subsection (7) does not speak to nor permit out-of-state retailers to direct ship to consumers in Idaho. Therefore, according to the Idaho ABC, only wine manufacturers can ship to consumers (with a license), and out-of-state retailers may not ship into Idaho from any other state.

Learn more about the three-tier system and other issues facing direct-to-consumer shippers.

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