RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Authority will permit distilleries to directly ship spirits to in-state customers to mitigate some of the economic pressure caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a release Monday, ABC said it has extended privileges for the more than 45 distillers in Virginia with ABC distillery store agreements.
“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,” Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill said in a statement.
Virginia distillers with store agreements can ship their spirits, along with any low alcohol beverage coolers made or blended on a licensed premise, directly to consumers and Virginia restaurants with ABC licenses with the addendum announced Monday. There are a few caveats, which ABC provided:
- 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.”
The addendum will continue “as long as Virginia ABC stories are recognized as essential businesses” under Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order. David Wojnar, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States’ vice president of state government relations, applauded Virginia ABC’s decision in a Monday statement.
“The Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control continues to think outside of the box and offer creative solutions to combat the spread of COVID-19 while still supporting the state’s hospitality industry. Allowing Virginia’s distillers to deliver their spirits products to consumers will help alleviate some of the economic turmoil these small businesses now face,” Wojnar said. “These innovative ideas will allow distilleries to remain operational while protecting public health – a move that is critical for the local economy and those in the hospitality industry. We look forward to the day when the ABC stores can provide the same service to adult consumers across the Commonwealth.”
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