A popular song at dances and even weddings, Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours,” tells the tale of a man who left his love and hopes to win her back. In the direct-to-consumer (DTC) world, the words “signed, sealed, delivered” is less about matters of the heart and more about matters of regulation.

In late 2022, Sovos ShipCompliant and the American Craft Spirits Association announced the inaugural Direct-to-Consumer Spirits Shipping Report, which revealed that eight in 10 regular craft spirits drinkers want the ability to buy craft spirits and have them shipped to their home. Although craft spirit consumers might be interested in DTC, the report highlights the limited opportunities they have to do so. 

As of November 2022, the report states that the states that allow distillers to legally ship spirits in and into their borders are Alaska, Arizona, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Rhode Island, as well as the District of Columbia. Vermont does allow interstate DTC shipping of ready-to-drink cocktails with an ABV of 12% or less and packaged in containers 24-ounces or less. The report notes that that is compared with the 47 states as well as D.C., which permit DTC wine shipping.

Conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Sovos ShipCompliant in October 2022, the survey was among 1,958 adults aged 21 and older, of which 618 identified as regular craft spirits drinkers (those of whom drink craft spirits once a month). Among the 1,942 survey-takers adults aged 21 and older, 588 indicated they drink craft spirits/liquor at least once a month.

In addition to the 80% of regular craft spirit consumers noting their interest in being able to legally purchase craft spirits through DTC shipping channels, 79% think the current spirit shipping laws in the United State should be updated to make it legal to ship spirits directly to consumers. This interest comes as many survey-takers note their interest in purchasing craft spirits outside of their local markets. 

Seventy-one percent of regular craft spirit drinkers noted a desire to purchase a craft spirit they tried while traveling, but are unable to because it is not sold near their home. Nearly three-quarters of regular craft spirit drinkers also indicated they would be more likely to try new craft spirits if DTC shipping was available to them.

“With the launch of our Direct-to-Consumer Spirits Shipping Report, the findings of this survey support the growing sense that consumers will continue to desire and demand the convenience of direct shipping to their homes for all kinds of items,” said Larry Cormier, vice president and general manager at Sovos ShipCompliant, in a statement. “And the fact that 47% of regular craft spirits drinkers say they would spend more than $100 a month on craft spirits via DTC shipping highlights a missed opportunity for states that could be collecting tax revenue on every shipment, and also for the spirits industry, which is severely limited by the current regulatory landscape.”

Although the report notes that various legislative bodies are considering DTC shipping for spirits, some have stalled after further discussion. Going forward, it will be important for craft distillers to have active discussions with state legislators as consumer interest in DTC shipping of beverage alcohol remains top of mind.