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Richmond-based Reservoir Distillery, founded in 2008 by childhood friends Dave Cuttino and Jay Carpenter, produces high-end whiskeys and is a key player in Richmond’s exploding drinks scene.

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority is now allowing distilleries to ship spirits directly to in-state consumers.

The temporary change is an effort to help distilleries suffering from financial hardship during the coronavirus pandemic.

This change applies only the distilleries that have existing agreements with ABC to produce and sell their products at their site. There are about 45 distilleries throughout the state with existing agreements.

A full list of distillery stores — which includes Richmond’s James River Distillery, Parched Group, Reservoir Distillery, and Virago Spirits — can be found at https://www.abc.virginia.gov/stores/distillery-stores.

“Virginia distilleries contribute to the economic vitality of the commonwealth, and it’s important that they have some flexibility in how they are able to provide their products to consumers while their tasting rooms are closed,” said ABC Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill. “The Virginia Distillers Association is a key partner in working with our distillery store agents to craft responsible policy solutions to address the unprecedented circumstances of this crisis.”

The change allows distilleries to ship spirits and “low-alcohol beverage coolers” directly to consumers and ABC-licensed restaurants in Virginia. But there are some additional restrictions. According to ABC:

  • No distiller may sell more than six bottles of spirits or two cases of low alcohol beverage coolers to any one consumer or licensee per month.
  • Bottles of spirits shipped may be no larger than 1.75 liters.
  • The distiller must ensure the recipient is at least 21 years of age.
  • Direct shipment must be made by an approved common carrier (currently FedEx or UPS).
  • Signature of an individual 21 years of age or older is required for delivery.

In response to the news, David Wojnar, vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council, said, “The Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control continues to think outside of the box and offer creative solutions to combat the spread of COVID-19 while still supporting the state’s hospitality industry. Allowing Virginia’s distillers to deliver their spirits products to consumers will help alleviate some of the economic turmoil these small businesses now face.”

The distillery industry employs about 1,500 Virginia, said Virginia Distillers Association President Gareth H. Moore.

“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary support,” he said in the ABC news release. Last month, Gov. Ralph Northam said Virginia ABC stores would be recognized as essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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