The Virginia ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) Authority has confirmed that it is temporarily allowing distilleries to ship directly to consumers.
The change in rules is an effort to help distilleries suffering from a fall off in sales as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.
The change is applicable to distilleries that have existing distribution agreements with ABC to produce and sell their products at their site. Around 45 distilleries currently have such agreements in the state.
This addendum to the Distillery Store Agreement shall continue as long as Virginia ABC stores are recognized as essential businesses.
“Virginia distilleries contribute to the economic vitality of the commonwealth and it’s important that they have some flexibility in how they are able to provide their products to consumers while their tasting rooms are closed,” said Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill. “The Virginia Distillers Association is a key partner in working with our distillery store agents to craft responsible policy solutions to address the unprecedented circumstances of this crisis. This temporary addendum to distillery store agreements is one example of many since this crisis where we have provided our licensees with relief from regulatory challenges in areas where we have the authority to do so.”
Virginia distillers are authorized to ship their spirits (and any low alcohol beverage coolers manufactured or blended on the licensed premises) directly to consumers and ABC licensed restaurants in Virginia with the following caveats:
No distiller may sell more than six bottles of spirits or two cases of low alcohol beverage coolers to any one consumer or licensee per month
Bottles of spirits shipped may be no larger than 1.75 liters
The distiller must ensure the recipient is at least 21 years of age
Direct shipment must be made by an approved common carrier (currently FedEx or UPS)
Signature of an individual 21 years of age or older is required for delivery
“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary support,” said Virginia Distillers Association President Gareth H. Moore. “Enacting temporary in-state direct to consumer shipping privileges for local distilleries is a reasonable lifeline for our industry, which employs almost 1,500 Virginians. This new form of market access will provide industry members both small and large with a mechanism to get product to consumers, easing distillers’ angst for how they will pay wages and sustain business in light of market access restrictions.”
A full list of distillery stores can be found at https://www.abc.virginia.gov/stores/distillery-stores.