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‘Bourbon Without Borders’ Law Allows Kentucky Visitors To Ship Spirits Home

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Kentucky distillers, wineries and liquor retailers can now ship wine and spirits across state lines after the legislature passed the “bourbon without borders” bill earlier this year.

The new law will allow visitors to Kentucky to ship up to 4.5 liters of spirits or 4 cases of wine back home — as long as their home state allows it.

During a ceremonial bill signing on Friday, Gov. Matt Bevin said the new law will help build the state’s signature bourbon industry.

“This is becoming the Napa Valley of distilled spirits, it really is. Right here in the middle of America,” Bevin said. “The upside is far beyond what people would’ve imagined.”

The law will only apply to visitors from seven states that allow interstate shipments of alcohol — Arizona, Hawaii, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Rhode Island.

According to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, bourbon is an $8.5 billion industry that generates 17,500 jobs and $800 million in payroll in the state.

Eric Gregory, president of the KDA, said that visitors to Kentucky have demanded the right to ship bourbon home or to friends.

“This truly is the golden age of Kentucky bourbon,” Gregory said. “The dream that our ancestors had 200 years ago is coming true. It is no longer fantasy, it is reality and the future of Kentucky bourbon is brighter than ever.”

Under the new law, Kentucky distilleries and retailers are also allowed to create “club” programs where they can ship up to 9 liters of spirits over a 12-month period.

It’s still illegal to ship alcohol through the U.S. Postal Service, however UPS and FedEx allow it.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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