The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) joined forces with the Distilled Spirits Council of Vermont to launch “Ship My Spirits,” a grassroots coalition with the common goal of modernizing the spirits marketplace by allowing direct-to-consumer shipping of distilled spirits, in Vermont.
“Just as craft spirits and distillery tourism were beginning to gain traction, our industry rapidly changed with the onset of the pandemic,” says Ryan Christiansen, president of Caledonia Spirits and representative of the Distilled Spirits Council of Vermont. “Both distilleries and wineries depend on tourism, but when consumer travel and shopping patterns rapidly shifted, only wineries were allowed to ship to their remote consumers. By simply providing distillers with the same access to consumers and allowing that we utilize the same proven age-verifying delivery methods, we can strengthen our distilling industry – while providing a revenue stream for the state of Vermont and our distilleries.”
The Vermont legislature is currently considering multiple bills that would permanently allow distillers to ship their spirits products directly to adult consumers just as wineries have done for more than a decade in the state.
“Direct shipping is a critical step to secure the future of our industry,” says Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO of the ACSA. “Not only do we know we can do this safely and responsibly, but we have also seen how direct shipping has created an important lifeline for our community of craft producers who are currently facing so many small business challenges, from tourism declines due to COVID, the rising costs of grains, to global glass supply shortages.”
ShipMySpirits.Org, the coalition’s website, has an interactive map where consumers can click on their state to learn about the laws regulating spirits shipments and other data related to the spirit industry’s impact in the state. For example, the site notes that the spirits industry supports 1,500 jobs in Vermont and has an economic impact of about $297 million.
Visitors can Take Action through the site by sending letters to their legislators on the issue in less than three minutes.
“Consumers want distilled spirits shipped straight from the distillery to their doorbell, and that’s the goal of the ‘Ship My Spirits’ campaign,” says Chris Swonger, president and CEO of DISCUS. “Direct-to-consumer laws in Vermont need to be modernized to increase consumer choice, build small businesses and tourism, and create an on-ramp to distribution for new products. Allowing distillers, large and small, to direct ship supports consumers, producers, wholesalers and retailers which continues our support of the three-tier system.”