Business · Food

Calif. eyes breaking down barrier for direct-to-consumer booze shipping

Since early this year, California distilleries have been locked in on legislative attempts to equalize the shipping options for small, local brewers and distilleries.

Starting in mid-2020 due to the pandemic, California had allowed craft distilleries to ship products to of-age customers across the state. The emergency provision – viewed by many in the industry as a test run – ended in March of this year, preventing local distilleries and brewers from shipping their products to California residents.

Senate Bill 620, written by Senators Bill Dodd and Ben Allen, is currently in committee and aims to allow craft distilleries and breweries to ship to California customers, as well as increasing the limits on amounts that are allowed to be shipped from 2.5 liters per day to customer, to 4.5 liters.

With e-commerce playing an ever-increasing role these days, many brewers believe that this bill will help even the playing field when it comes to shipping products.

“Since the pandemic there has been massive consolidation in liquor store distribution, so I love 95% of my business that I will never see again. This bill is essential to our survival,” said Aaron Bergh, President and Founder of Calwise Spirits Co. in Templeton, Calif. “Craft distilleries like mine are family owned and operated so we aren’t just small businesses, we’re active members of our communities.”

Many in support of the bill point to California wineries, which saw exponential growth from 1986 to 2021.

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Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.