Multi-faceted legislation dealing with licensing and shipping of alcoholic beverages passed the Kentucky Senate Thursday. Bill Sponsor Adam Koenig said it’s a producer only measure that establishes a direct shippers’ license.
Senate Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations Committee Chair John Schickel noted current economic conditions tied to coronavirus activity demonstrate the need for additional revenue. “It’s important to remember that money for relief, money for stimulus packages, all comes from taxpayer money. And so, to keep industries going, especially huge industries like this going efficiently, is very important,” said Schickel.
Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Kentucky Director Charles George testified saying, under the bill, distilleries or wineries could ship product into Kentucky, but it would not necessarily open up new markets for wholesale businesses to ship out of.
Speaking in opposition to the bill in committee was Lois Windhorst of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. She worries that increased direct shipping of alcohol will also increase access to these beverages to those under age 21. “It is important for you as our state senators to access public health and safety risks over these alcohol regulations,” explained Windhorst.
Koenig told the committee the bill requires packages to be conspicuously labeled “alcohol” and requires a signature of someone over 21. Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said the bourbon tourism industry is currently, quote, “flat on its back, shut down.” The Scott County lawmaker asked why not allow a new revenue stream during a time when future monies coming into Kentucky are expected to be much lower than projected.
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