Virginia distilleries now able to ship directly to consumers

For Virginia residents, alcohol runs could be made with a quick trip to the front door.

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority announced it would allow certain distilleries to ship directly to in-state customers to alleviate potential financial hardships during the coronavirus pandemic.

The rule change only affects distilleries with an existing agreement with ABC, news outlets reported. There are about 45 distilleries throughout the state with existing agreements.

The change allows distilleries to ship spirits and “low-alcohol beverage coolers” directly to residents and ABC-licensed restaurants in Virginia.

ABC Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill said distilleries are essential to the “economic vitality” of the state. Hill said the temporary step gives the distilleries flexibility in how they provide products for customers, which may help lessen potential financial difficulties.

Some restrictions apply. Distilleries can’t ship more than six bottles of spirits or two cases of coolers to any one consumer per month. Distilleries also have to ensure recipients are 21 years old.

Last month, Gov. Ralph Northam said Virginia ABC stores would be recognized as essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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These caveats apply to the new rules:

- 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 Federal Express or UPS).

- Signature of an individual 21 years of age or older is required for delivery.

Regulators said this addendum to the Distillery Store Agreement will continue as long as Virginia ABC stores are recognized as essential businesses under Governor Northam’s executive order or until further amended, modified or rescinded by the governor.