SB 620 passes California Senate Committee on Appropriations
Yesterday, the California Senate Committee on Appropriations passed SB 620, which would permanently allow distillers to ship their spirits products directly to California consumers just as wineries have done for more than three decades in the state. The bill now heads to the California Senate for a vote and must be passed by January 31 to remain active.
“I have spent the last 29 years shipping wine to my consumers, but California law prohibits me from doing the same with my spirits products,” said Alex Villicana, owner of Re:Find Distillery and Villicana Winery, and member of the CADG. “When California allowed wine DTC shipping for producers large and small, we saw an increase in the number of wineries. We anticipate the same thing happening for spirits. With more access, comes more interest, and that helps my business. I am grateful to the advocates of this bill and hope the Senate will act in support of all distilleries and consumers by passing SB 620.”
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), along with the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) and the American Distilling Institute (ADI) have been active in supporting this legislation.
“Allowing direct-to-consumer shipping for spirits in California is a step in the right direction towards enhancing consumer convenience and supporting distilleries,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO of DISCUS. “Spirits DTC will help make the three-tier system stronger by driving consumer interest, increasing jobs across California and growing revenue for the state, while permitting adult consumers to responsibly enjoy their favorite products. We urge the Senate to pass SB 620 to give California distillers and spirits consumers the same opportunities that have been afforded to vintners and wine drinkers for the past three decades.”
“For small businesses, being able to sell directly to passionate consumers is the path to organic growth,” said Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO of the ACSA. “For distillers, direct-to-consumer sales are a lifeline they only recently got to experience. The passage of SB620 will make direct-to-consumer sales for spirits permanent and give distillers in California the critical tool to be able to grow their businesses, grow the market for fine spirits and grow jobs in California.”
“There has been tremendous growth in distilleries across California and the U.S., but unfortunately, many outdated laws remain in place that prohibit them from reaching consumers where they are,” said Erik Owens, president of ADI. “Passing SB 620 would give California distillers the same direct-to-consumer shipping ability that wineries have enjoyed for decades. We are pleased to see this bill pass out of committee and encourage the Senate to act quickly in passing this measure.”
In March 2020, the California ABC granted craft distilleries temporary direct shipping authority to support them as they faced the harsh economic impacts of COVID-19. This measure was recently extended to March 31, 2022, at which point, distillers and consumers will no longer be able to enjoy DTC shipping for distilled spirits products.