In a major policy change, the Virginia ABC today began allowing distilleries to ship products directly to consumers. The program is another element of the commonwealth’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Catoctin Creek Distilling in Purcellville, the change is having a big impact.
“It’s incredible,” co-owner Scott Harris said early Monday afternoon, just hours after starting to take orders for direct-to-home sales. Before lunchtime, his staff had taken more than 50 orders—already surpassing sales on a normal Saturday, typically the busiest day at the tasting room.
Harris said that rush is likely a combination of residents wanting to support the local craft beverage operation and those stocking up on provisions as they hunker down at home during the coronavirus isolation efforts.
“We have been wanting this for a long time,” Harris said, adding that it could represent a modernization of the distribution system in Virginia, which limits sales to ABC stores. To sell bottles from their tasting rooms, distilleries like Catoctin Creek already function as ABC agent locations.
A key element in the program is that carriers, like FedEx, will require an adult signature to complete deliveries.
While he expects the delivery business will level out after the initial rush, Harris urges customers to be patient. “This is new for us and it will take time to get the orders packaged up,” he said.
The distillery also is continuing to create hand sanitizer. This week, the company is shipping out to first responders and hopes to have some inventory available to the general public soon. For updates on that project—and to contribute to the effort—go to catoctincreekdistilling.com.