FILE - NH Liquor store

The interior of a New Hampshire liquor store under the authority of the New Hampshire Liquor Commission.

(The Center Square) – The New Hampshire State Senate will vote soon on a bill allowing the New Hampshire Liquor Commission to operate as a direct shipper of liquor and wine to customers.

Known as Senate Bill 14, the legislation was introduced by state Sens. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, and Chuck Morse, R-Salem, and is expected to pass. At the Senate Commerce Committee hearing, no one opposed the bill, according to the hearing report.

The bill would allow the New Hampshire Liquor Commission to register trade names with the Secretary of State, and in two phases, begin shipping liquor directly to consumers within New Hampshire; and then eventually to other states as well.

As one of 17 controlled states in the U.S., New Hampshire takes an active role in the sale of liquor and is the only purveyor of spirits in the state, said E.J. Powers, spokesman for the Liquor Commission.

For fiscal 2020, the state has seen $761 million in wine and spirits sales, and the state relies heavily on that income, Powers said.

“At the end of the day, it would help support sales and ultimately more revenue that would go back to the state to support essential state services,” Powers told The Center Square.

Those services include education, natural resource protection, transportation, health and human service and substance misuse support services, according to Powers.

Introducing direct-to-consumer shipping is a natural progression for the commission, Powers said.

New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet stores used to be unexciting and out of the way. Over the past eight to 10 years, the commission overhauled its brand, building new stores and creating a better consumer experience, he said.

“We are undergoing a number of other major upgrades in terms of our infrastructure and technology,” Powers said. “We just launched a brand-new website, which is liquorandwineoutlets.com. We’ve now allow for the ability to place orders online and pick up either curbside or in store, which has proved extremely popular for customers during the pandemic. The next evolution in our sales is direct shipping, and that’s where Senate Bill 14 comes into play.”

Almost half of the state’s sales are from out-of-state customers, he said. With direct-to-customer shipping, the state hopes to build on their strong brand and ultimately generate more revenue for the state, said Powers.