Yes, you can buy bourbon online.
The problem is that it’s just not that easy to find reputable sellers at reasonable prices that ALSO deliver to various states.
I’ve personally struggled with the maze of availability and price mismatches trying to get bourbon delivered locally in North Carolina. I created this guide as a reference point to get started.
I’ve prioritized each of my go-to online vendors by the best chance of availability in your area. Each state is different, though! The idea is that at least a handful of my recommendations can work for your location, ideally for a reasonable price that saves you a trip to the liquor store in person.
Drizly: Best Overall for Bourbon Delivery (Widest Distribution)
In a straight shot: Drizly is the fastest growing, best funded, and most widely available liquor distribution platform currently online.
Looking for a whiskey delivery service? We recommend Drizly. Drizly delivers alcohol to your house whenever you need it, and for a very low fee! They have a wide selection and deliver to most states (and Canada too!)
- Widely available in most states where online liquor selling is allowed, among the market leaders
- Top notch customer service, not a fly by night operation
- Good bourbon selection for basically anything you might find at your local area liquor store
- Where they can’t sell directly, they often aggregate local sellers who can fulfill instead (often more expensive)
- Can deliver to the following 15 states where local delivery isn’t permitted: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, or Washington state
- Generally ships within 2-3 days
- Still can be hit more miss depending on where you live, even within states based on local delivery networks
- Prices can vary wildly based on demand cycles
- Some local delivery vendors take longer to ship and charge additional pack & ship fees (only revealed at checkout)
- Since they work with local stores, you are generally limited to LOCAL selection of bourbons (e.g. that hard to find bourbon that isn’t sold at your local store, probably can’t be found on Drizly either)
Nestor Liquors: Best for Hard to Ship to States
In a straight shot: Nestor Liquors is a newer entrant in the market that puts all the onus on the customer to abide by local laws, thereby operating in a “grey area”. Great selection of popular and hard to find bourbons.
Nestor Liquors Advantages
- Everything ships directly from their warehouse in California, no local delivery headaches to deal with
- Carries most premium bourbons and some hard to find ones in many local markets (basically they have whatever California has!)
- Easy to navigate website interface and checkout experience (unlike a lot of online liquor sites)
Nestor Liquors Disadvantages
- The legal language around their shipping policy is a bit nebulous: “Non-California residents accept all responsibility for determining if their state or county laws allow alcohol products to be shipped to their state or county.” The reality is that this is nearly impossible to enforce locally so even if your local state has laws on the books, they aren’t actively enforcing them. However, if a shipment does get caught up, Nestor puts the responsibility back on the customer. Essentially you “own it” as soo as you buy it.
- Shipping can get pricey, particularly for East Coast residents (as the warehouse is in California).
- Hasn’t been shipping nationally as long as some other distributors, still relatively new.
Minibar: Best Quick Ship Delivery
In a straight shot: Minibar is one of the more established players, using local delivery partnerships similar to Drizly, but Minibar offers some of the fastest shipping (same day in some markets), but typically 24-48 hours.
- Among the fastest delivery options, same day or up to 48 hours in most markets
- In some markets I’ve seen delivery times under 1 hour!
- No annual membership fees or long term commitments
- Similar restrictions to Drizly, doesn’t deliver in every state and availability of certain labels can vary
- Doesn’t typically offer as much selection as Drizly, athough very dependent on your local market
- Delivery areas can be more limited (still only about 23 states as of this writing)
Mash&Grape: Best Premium Bourbon Delivery
In a straight shot: Mash&Grape has some hard to find, premium selections that can’t be found in local liquor stores, offers great customer service, and competitive prices.
- Offers a great selection of some commonly hard to find bourbons like Blanton’s, Taconic, Boone County, George Remus, and Blue Run
- Tends to have more interesting selections from small & upcoming distilleries as well
- Offers a compelling Whiskey subscription service (great value) with their Mashbox Club here.
- Newer online selling, less of a proven track record
- They’ve sporadically had shipping delays during times of peak demand and in certain states where laws are more restrictive (orders ship out, but sometimes 1-2 weeks late)
Caskers: Best Rare Bourbons Delivered
In a straight shot: Caskers has been around for a bit, ships to many states, and has an excellent selection of “rare finds” for the bourbon purists out there.
- Excellent selection of hard to find and premium bourbons, including Parker’s, Old Fitzgerald, Blanton’s, Angel’s Envy, Willet, O.F.C, Bemus, and many others (see full section here)
- Shipping is fairly reasonable with $16.99 for the first bottle, then $4 for each additional. A typical order of four bottles is $28.99 shipping. Well worth if for their rare selections, for example, as these generally can’t be found locally in many markets
- Also carries fine champagnes if that’s of interest
- They still deal with the some state by state restrictions, but do work with local vendors to maximize the delivery areas
Saucey: Best for Common Bourbons
In a straight shot: Saucy has an excellent variety of bourbons to choose from at prices (including shipping) that won’t break the bank.
- Wide variety of the most popular bourbons on the market, at competitive prices
- Excellent SIZING options, with almost every variety of bottle from 50ml up to 1L even
- Also carries fine tobacco products, perfect for pairing bourbon with cigars
- Fairly limited delivery capabilities, unless you live in / near major cities (e.g not great for suburbs)
Easiest States for Online Bourbon Delivery
The laws regarding the shipment of alcohol vary by state, so some states are easier to order liquor online than others. Some of the easiest states to order liquor online include California, Florida, Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, and New York, as they have more relaxed regulations regarding alcohol shipments
States like Ohio and New Jersey make it easy as well, but only for producers under 250,000 as a way to support smaller businesses.
Most Difficult States for Online Bourbon Delivery
On the other hand, some of the most difficult states to order liquor online include Utah, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Alabama, as they have stricter laws regarding the shipment and sale of alcohol.
Rhode Island (only craft distillers) and Delaware (only from local “restaurants or stores”) also make it difficult, although they have some loopholes that make it possible to receive liquor shipments.