In March 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration allowed California distilleries and breweries to ship directly to customers (DTC) as a measure to help craft producers survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the lifeline stops at the end of 2021.
Senate Bill (SB) 620, by Senator Ben Allen, (D – Santa Monica) will permanently allow the practice of direct shipping of spirits and beer to consumers, just as it has been for wineries since 1986. In the meantime, lawmakers are requesting that Newsom extend the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s exception through 2022 to allow time for the legislation to pass.
A letter was sent to Governor Newsom’s office signed by 15 state lawmakers consisting of both Republicans and Democrats, senators and assemblymembers—emphasizing the negative impacts of allowing the temporary authorization to expire prior to going through the lengthy legislative process for SB 620.
“Allowing the order to lapse would be a grave threat to the California craft distilling industry. The loss of (direct to consumer) shipping would mean a likelihood of confusion among consumers, who have become accustomed to this new norm, the risk of losing newly created jobs, and a fundamental threat to the viability of small California producers,” says the letter.