• The move by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority authorizes shipments from 45 distilleries
  • A Kentucky bill authorizing such shipments is awaiting Gov. Andy Beshear's signature
  • Only Alabama, Oklahoma and Utah specifically prohibit shipment of alcoholic beverages to consumers

Coronavirus make you long for a stiff drink? You may be in luck. Laws are changing to allow distillers to ship directly to consumers.

While some distillers have turned at least part of their production to hand sanitizers, others are looking to remove the middleman when it comes to providing booze – at least temporarily.

Virginia’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority on Monday moved to relieve economic pressures on distilleries, extending in-state direct-to-consumer shipping to 45 facilities. They will be allowed to ship six 1.75-liter bottles of spirits and two cases of low-alcohol coolers a month directly to consumers by FedEx or UPS. Distillers also must verify the age of the recipient.

“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary support,” said Virginia Distillers Association President Gareth H. Moore. “Enacting temporary in-state direct to consumer shipping privileges for local distilleries is a reasonable lifeline for our industry.”

Scott Harris, co-owner of Catoctin Creek Distilling in Purcellville, told Loudon Now his staff had taken 50 orders before lunch.

“It’s incredible,” he said, adding, “We have been wanting this for a long time.”

Recent changes to Virginia law also allows distilleries to deliver products to consumers seated in their cars on a distillery’s property.

In Kentucky, the bourbon industry, pushed a measure for similar shipping authorization, saying it’s necessary to give producers “the means necessary to grow jobs and investment.” The bill was passed March 26 and awaits Gov. Andy Beshear’s signature.

Michigan is considering a similar measure.

Alabama, Oklahoma and Utah specifically prohibit shipment of alcoholic beverages to consumers.

Five states -- Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Nebraska and New Hampshire – and the District of Columbia already allow direct shipment of spirits to consumers while eight others -- Delaware, Massachusetts, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Virginia – allow shipments of beer and wine. At least 45 states allow for the direct shipping of wine.

Delaware allows shipments from licensed wholesalers. Laws in other states vary, from allowing shipments if the purchases were made onsite to being silent on the issue.