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Ohio is on the cusp of a Distillation Revolution! There are presently 12 licenses issued to “Manufacture Distilled Spirits” in Ohio. Beyond these 12, there are an additional 9 “pending” licenses, meaning that if/when these permits are issued, Ohio may have 21 distilleries!

Now, this is not to say we have 12 different brands to choose from. Right now there are 6 distilleries with products “listed” in Ohio for sale. This means that only 6 are allowed to sell their products in this state.

Ohio is known as a “Control State”. All high proof spirits with an ABV above 21% must be registered (listed) with the state to legally be available for sale. There are now 2 ways a legal spirit can make its way to your personal cabinet.

The first is through Ohio’s Bailment System. This is a government-run distribution system that all spirits must maneuver through to make their way to a Liquor Store near you. The manufacturer or a licensed broker delivers listed products to one of four privately run bailment warehouses. The spirit then is delivered to a privately run liquor agency. This agency then sells the product retail for personal consumption and, if they have the proper license, wholesale to bars and restaurants for sale to consumers by the glass.

The second method is for an Ohio producer to purchase an additional license which allows for retail sales from the distillery itself. This method is only for retail sales to the end consumer and is not a legal method for bars and restaurants to purchase spirits for resale. This sales method is limited to 1.5 liters per person per day for off-premise consumption. It also allows the distillery to sell up to 4, quarter-ounce samples, per person per day. Spirits are never allowed to be sampled or consumed for free from an Ohio permit holder.

Soon, I believe, you will be able to find some very interesting spirits from all over the US. Ohio will be at the forefront, due to our agricultural capabilities, our Appalachian heritage, and our love of exciting libations! Supporting your local distillery supports your local farmers!

Note: This blog post originally appeared on the website of Dancing Tree Distillery, which became Fifth Element Spirits, and has now become West End Ciderworks & Distillery.

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