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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Ohio Updates Some Liquor Laws with House Bill 674

Recently, Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 674 into law that updates some of the liquor laws in Ohio. The bill is 29 pages and has a lot of crazy stuff in it not related to liquor (e.g. You are exempt from being a licensed retail food establishment if you are a  person who annually maintains five hundred or fewer birds, on the condition that the person offers the eggs from those birds directly to the consumer from the location where the eggs are produced or at a farm product auction). 

The highlights we care about include:

  • Allows the Ohio Division of Liquor Control to implement rules permitting home delivery of distilled spirits in original containers
  • A new liquor license to be created  allowing the Division of Liquor to issue permits to charitable organizations, labor unions or employers of 10 or more people to sell beer or wine at a special function
  • Allows spiritous liquor pods to be sold as a mixed beverage by retail permit holders (a liquor pod is defined as a sealed capsule with a flavorful liquid having an ABV range between 17% and 48%. When the pod is mixed with water it produces an alcoholic beverage that contains an ABV of 21% or less)

The new laws will take effect April 7th. 

My Take

While this is a good start updating the liquor laws in Ohio to the 21st century. It will be interesting to see how the rules for home delivery of liquor turn out. Gov. DeWine already eased some of those rules to allow restaurants to delivery liquor so if this is simply an extension of that, then it's kind of stupid. If it's an extension of the DeWine rule and allows liquor bottles to be delivered, than this could be a game changer in terms of having access to an expanded selection of bourbons while also generating lots of tax revenue for Ohio. 

The other thing to know is there were some key provisions that did not make it into the signed bill... for instance, there was talk of removing the ridiculous restrictions on selling liquor after a certain time in the evening and on Sundays as well as allowing bars to stay open until 4am. It also does nothing changing the antiquated notion that all liquor needs to be sold from the State and they control supply instead of letting the market determine which liquors should be sold in the State.

What do you think? Drop a note in the comment box below. 

1 comment:

  1. Mark, regarding your comment, "It also does nothing changing the antiquated notion that all liquor needs to be sold from the State and they control supply instead of letting the market determine which liquors should be sold in the State."

    If Ohio won't 'open' the market to additional bottles/brands/etc., then they need to either 1) set up a system where consumers like us can order through the state (with a state employee doing the leg work to acquire a bottle then delivering it to our local liquor store for pick up - like how the lottery is handled) or, 2) remove the ridiculous but legal restriction on bringing liquor into Ohio.

    FRom the Dept of Liquor Control's section on 'Direct Shipping'we read: "Any resident of this state or any member of the armed forces of the United States, who has attained the age of 21 years, may bring into this state, for personal use and not for resale, not more than one liter of spirituous liquor, four and one-half liters of wine, or 288 ounces of beer in any 30 day period, and the same is free of any tax when the resident or member of the armed forces physically possesses and accompanies the spirituous liquor, wine, or beer on returning from a foreign country, another state, or an insular possession of the United States."

    My feeling is that if the state limits what we can acquire within Ohio, then there should not be a limit on what we can acquire in neighboring states and bring home for personal consumption. I understand making commercial establishments buy within Ohio, or at least pay Ohio tax like buyers of full barrels do, but I don't like the potential legal peril when purchasing for home use.

    Further, I understand the state's language is a 'catch all' provision and seldom enforced - i've never known anyone who has actually been charged with this provision - but it's antiquated and needs to go.

    Thanks for the opportunity to spew!