States where breweries, distilleries, retailers, and wineries can ship DTC
- Aug 5, 2020 | Gail Cole
Though most states permit wineries to ship directly to consumers (DTC), few states allow breweries, distilleries, and retailers to make DTC shipments. That’s slowly changing, and the change may be accelerated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Before examining the impact of COVID-19 on direct shipments of beer, wine, and spirits, a summary of existing policies is in order.
States where breweries can ship directly to consumers
As of August 2020, 10 states and Washington, D.C. permit breweries to ship DTC:
States where distilleries can ship directly to consumers
As of August 2020, seven states and Washington, D.C. generally permit distilleries to make DTC shipments:
States where retailers can ship directly to consumers
Retailers are authorized to make DTC sales in the following 15 states and Washington, D.C.:
- Alaska (except in dry communities)
- California (for retailers from states with reciprocal laws)
- Florida (except in dry communities)
- Idaho (for retailers from states with reciprocal laws)
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico (for retailers from states with reciprocal laws)
- North Dakota
- Washington, D.C.
- West Virginia
States where wineries can ship directly to consumers
Since Kentucky authorized the direct shipment of wine with the enactment of House Bill 415 (expected to take effect in September 2020), DTC wine shipments are fully prohibited in only three states: Alabama, Mississippi, and Utah. All are taking baby steps toward allowing DTC wine shipments (see next section for details).
That said, many states that allow DTC wine shipments do so with caveats. For example:
Arkansas, Delaware, and Rhode Island allow the direct shipment of wine purchased in person from an out-of-state winery (Arkansas requires a license; Delaware and Rhode Island do not)
New Jersey and Ohio limit the size of wineries that are eligible for permits (commonly referred to as 250,000-gallon “capacity caps”)
Some states (e.g., Alaska and Florida) have dry communities where alcohol shipments are prohibited
Multiple bills seeking to further authorize DTC wine shipments in Alabama and Delaware have been introduced but not enacted.
Moving the needle in Mississippi and Utah
Mississippi and Utah are loosening restrictions for wine purchased from a winery.
Mississippi House Bill 1088, which takes effect January 1, 2021, allows individuals to purchase wine from a winery and have it shipped to a licensed package retailer in the state.
Utah House Bill 157 (enacted March 2020) requires the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to establish and administer a wine subscription program through which the department can purchase a wine subscription on behalf of an individual. Instead of being shipped directly to consumers, the wine must be shipped to a state store or package agency for collection by the consumer.
Alabama already allows wine ordered in person from an out-of-state winery to be shipped to an ABC store for pickup.
Selling alcohol in the time of COVID-19
To help struggling businesses stay solvent at a time when in-person sales at tasting rooms, breweries, and distilleries are severely limited or restricted, numerous states have temporarily relaxed restrictions on alcohol sales.
Bars and restaurants from California to New York can now sell beer, wine, and cocktails for takeout (with the purchase of food). Colorado and Massachusetts are allowing in-state breweries to deliver directly to consumers during the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic (certain restrictions may apply). Virginia is permitting in-state distilleries to do the same.
However, states have not relaxed restrictions on interstate DTC shipments of beer, wine, or spirits during the pandemic. As of this writing, there’s no indication they will.
Need help with DTC compliance challenges? Avalara for Beverage Alcohol can help with licensing, product registrations, returns, and tax calculation. Contact us for more information.