The Hawaii Senate passed SB No. 65, a measure allowing direct-to-consumer shipping of distilled spirits in original containers. This will create a more convenient marketplace for adult consumers and provide much-needed support to craft distillers facing financial hardship from the closure of tasting rooms and tours due to COVID-19.
“We are absolutely thrilled the Hawaii State Senate has passed SB No. 65 and look forward with anticipation for the State House decision,” said Bob Gunter, President & CEO of Kaua’i’s Kōloa Rum Company. “Facing substantial losses in revenue due to the pandemic’s impact on Hawaii tourism, we initially approached our lawmakers in July 2020 with a request to amend the current law and allow liquor and beer producers to ship directly to consumers. We receive inquiries about our products daily, both from within the state and across the Continental U.S., and allowing us to fulfill those requests via DTC shipments will provide a much-needed financial lifeline, allow us to bring furloughed employees back to work sooner and result in additional tax revenues for the state.”
Direct-to-consumer shipping has, will and should continue to serve as an additional market access channel to the traditional three-tier system of alcohol beverage distribution. The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) believes that by working with distributor and retail partners, the distilled spirits industry can expand consumer convenience, build upon the important role the three-tier system plays, and responsibly implement direct-to-consumer shipping.
“Hawaii consumers are one step closer to enjoying the convenience of direct-to-consumer shipping of distilled spirits products – something wine consumers have enjoyed in the state for more than 15 years,” said Adam Smith, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Vice President of State Government Relations. “The world of commerce is rapidly changing – especially in light of the pandemic – and the market must adapt to meet consumer demand. We are grateful the Hawaii Senate has recognized this need and taken action to increase consumer convenience. We encourage the House to act swiftly in taking up and passing this measure.”
The spirits industry is committed to responsibility and supports measures in the legislation to ensure products are delivered to adults of legal purchase age. Just as IDs are required for those seeking entrance into a bar or to purchase beverage alcohol at a restaurant or store, ID checks are required in order for the recipient to accept the delivery. There are well established and appropriate responsibility measures in place to restrict minors from illegally accessing beverage alcohol through direct shipment.