Updated: Bourbon Private Barrel Select Bill Passes House

Seeking to increase tourism for a signature Kentucky industry, the House passed House Bill 500 Friday, a measure to provide clarity in the process of selecting private barrels of bourbon at Kentucky distilleries.

Sponsored by House Majority Whip Chad McCoy, House Bill 500 would establish and legitimize the private barrel selection process with no sample sizes or bottle limits, creating privilege parity with other entities offering private barrel selections.

“The current economic opportunities for our signature bourbon industry are plentiful, so we have to do everything we can in this climate to nurture, develop, and grow this industry,” Representative McCoy said in committee last week. “The idea of barrel picks has really become a huge draw for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and this bill helps capitalize on this process.”

Representative McCoy went on to explain how the recently, the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) advised the bourbon industry that it did not believe private barrel selections were legal under the permissive nature of the state’s alcohol laws. “The backbone of this legislation codifies this practice,” McCoy said.

The bill passed with a floor amendment in the House, with highlights summarized below:

  • Allows a distiller to sell 30 percent of its annual allotment of private barrel selections to consumers or other unlicensed entities directly from the gift shop.
  • A distiller can sell more than 30 percent of its annual allotment to consumers. But anything above 30 percent sold through the gift shop must be sold through the three-tier system.
  • Allows distillers to sell exclusive bottles on-site in their distillery gift shop at a limit of three liters per person, per day.
  • Any gift shop exclusive bottle must be sold in-person at the distillery.
  • Permits distillers to sample and sell their brands by-the-bottle at fairs and festivals.

House Bill 500 now advances to the Senate for further consideration.

Stay tuned to the Bottom Line for more updates.

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Manager of Public Affairs, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

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