Senate OKs bill for some online alcohol sales
If legislation is signed, Virginia ABC will monitor and enforce the provisions of the legislation.
Virginians will be able to purchase spirits and low alcoholic beverage coolers from the comfort of their homes under a bill that passed the Senate 40-0 Wednesday.
SB 824, introduced by Sen. Frank M. Ruff, R-Clarksville, would permit the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority to include provisions in agency agreements with licensed distillers, allowing certain alcoholic beverages to be purchased on the Internet. The specified beverages would be shipped to consumers for personal consumption.
“Senator Ruff is one of our most technologically advanced members, so he wanted to allow internet ordering and sales from distilleries,” Sen. T. Montgomery Mason, D-Williamsburg said during the Rehabilitation and Social Services committee Jan. 31. “The committee agreed favorably on a 4-0 vote that we should allow this to be done, just like wine is done today.”
Currently, any winery, brewery or retailer who holds a Virginia ABC shipper’s license can sell and ship up to two cases of wine or two cases of beer to a consumer’s home per month, according to Virginia ABC.
Under SB 824, licensed distillers would be able to sell no more than six bottles of spirits or two cases of low alcoholic beverage coolers to any one consumer or licensee per month.
“The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) worked with the patrons of SB 824 and the Virginia Distillery Association to forge a solution that allows internet sales and delivery of spirts by our partner distilleries in reasonable volumes,” Dawn Eischen, Public Relations Manager of Virginia ABC, said in an email.
Virginia distilleries are generally regional and, as a result, are limited to only some ABC stores. This puts them at a disadvantage compared to national companies that are sold in all stores, Ruff said.
SB 824 would allow distilleries to go to new market areas in Virginia and introduce their products to restaurants.
“If their customers like the product, they can buy directly from the distillery,” Ruff said in an email. “Once established, the public might start requesting their product at the ABC stores.”
If the legislation passes both houses and is signed by the governor, Virginia ABC will monitor and enforce the provisions of the legislation, Eischen said.
“The legislation is being well received and I expect that it will become a law,” Ruff said.