Prohibition ended almost 90 years ago, but thanks to antiquated shipping laws many breweries and consumers are still stuck in the 1900’s. The time has come to legalize beer shipping, giving consumers like you access to more breweries and a wider selection of beer. The more than 9,500 small and independent craft brewers located in every state make great products, but most have a hard time finding distribution, particularly outside of their immediate home markets, making it difficult to get the beer you want!

Do You Want…

a six pack of the beer you had on vacation?

the holiday seasonal beer from that famous brewery?

the special release beer you saw on social media?

You likely can’t get any of those beers unless you are at the brewery or in the local area where the beer is brewed.

You can ship wine in almost every U.S. state but you cannot ship beer.

Direct-to-consumer shipping changes the equation

Direct-to-consumer shipping gives you access to greater choice and selection. By making direct-to-consumer shipping legal you will get access to 1000s of brands of beer and help breweries connect with the people who are most enthusiastic about their product.

Even in states where beer can be legally shipped breweries have limited choices about who can ship their product. The United States Postal Service (USPS) Shipping Equity Act is federal legislation that would allow the USPS ship beverage alcohol products in states where private carriers can legally ship. It would have a far-reaching effect on your local craft breweries by allowing for increased competition and making it easier for beer lovers in rural areas not served by private mail carriers to enjoy great craft beer!

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Frequently Asked Questions

ANSWER: Opponents to Direct-to-Consumer shipping often point to anecdotal incidents of minors purchasing alcohol online (usually the result of “sting” operations) as evidence that DTC shipping threatens to increase underage drinking. But this claim does not survive factual scrutiny. For starters, anecdotal stories provide no basis for good policy choices. One can find many instances of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers selling to minors, but no one is seeking to ban that sales channel.

Turning to the facts, the most reputable study on youth drinking shows that underage drinking has been on a steady decline for over three decades. During that same time, DTC shipping of alcohol, primarily wine, expanded rapidly and substantially.

More recently, while the Covid-19 pandemic substantially increased home alcohol shipping and delivery from restaurants, bars, and stores within states, data shows steep declines in underage drinking during that same timeframe. Indeed, in states where DtC shipping is legal, underage drinking has declined at a higher rate.

It’s time to modernize our laws to allow for direct-to-consumer shipping of craft beer.

ANSWER: The simple answer is that wine consumers and the wine industry started lobbying for these changes several decades ago. Appreciation and collecting of fine wine has been around longer in the U.S. than appreciating great beer, so wine consumers had a head start in pushing for change. And realizing the difference it would make for small and independent winemakers, particularly in California, wineries pushed for these reforms at the state level and eventually had a great deal of success, gaining the right to ship direct-to-consumer in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Craft brewers simply want the same rights that wine currently enjoys, to reach new customers and build their businesses.  

It’s time to modernize our laws to allow for direct-to-consumer shipping of craft beer.

ANSWER: Many states have long allowed in-state retailers to ship beer, wine, and liquor directly to consumers’ homes, and the number of retailers doing so greatly expanded during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, often to include delivery-on-demand by restaurants and bars. But limiting delivery to what is available locally constrains consumer choice and inherently favors the brands of the largest suppliers, as their products are far more widely distributed. Limiting home delivery to local businesses helps protect entrenched interests at the production, distribution, and retail levels from competition from craft brewers. 

Ironically, the same special interests that oppose the ability of breweries to ship beer to consumers around the country support local retail delivery and e-commerce practices that facilitate such deliveries. But if common carriers (e.g., FedEx and UPS) cannot be trusted to check identification upon delivery, how can opponents responsibly embrace shipping models that rely on local drivers (e.g., UberEats or DoorDash) or on retail employees not trained in alcohol service (e.g., gig economy contractors)?  

The simple fact is that both common carriers and delivery drivers can check I.D.s and safely deliver alcohol products. 

It’s time to modernize our laws to allow for direct-to-consumer shipping of craft beer.

ANSWER: Our country has a long and complicated history with alcohol (how many other issues have TWO constitutional amendments?). Prohibition ended ninety years ago, and it’s time for states to modernize their DTC laws and let craft beer consumers make the decisions about what products they want to purchase. The fact that wine and other sensitive products – like firearms and prescription drugs – are already being shipped proves that it can be done safely and legally. 

It’s time to modernize our laws to allow for direct-to-consumer shipping of craft beer.

ANSWER: Opponents of Direct-to-Consumer shipping – usually the wholesale tier of the three-tier alcohol distribution system – sometimes claim that DTC shipping would put thousands of jobs at risk. But an examination of the facts tells a very different story. Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Earned Wages (BLS-QCEW) data from states that currently allow consumers to receive beer direct from U.S. breweries show there are almost 13% MORE beer distributor jobs per 100,000 18+ residents than in states without direct-to-consumer beer. While this data cannot prove causation, it undermines arguments and shows zero (and in fact slightly positive) correlation between DTC beer shipping and beer wholesaler jobs. BLS-QCEW data also shows that wine and spirit wholesaler jobs and liquor store jobs have INCREASED as a percentage of the population during the period when the U.S. went from 27 states to 47 states allowing consumers to order wine directly from wineries. 

It’s time to modernize our laws to allow for direct-to-consumer shipping of craft beer.