Dont Be Afraid To Ask Your Carrier
Heres the bottom line: if you dont know something, just ask your carrier! UPS and FedEx have a lot of guidelines for you to follow in order to ship alcohol. However, both UPS and FedEx employ lots of customer service representatives ready to help you out at a moments noticeand that help goes a long way. Just remember to stay away from USPS on this oneat least until the laws change.
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Why Usps Wont Allow You To Ship Alcohol
Believe it or not, USPS doesnt allow for the shipment of alcohol because of laws enacted by Prohibition back in the 1920s! Seriously. However, thats not to say USPS will always prohibit the shipment of alcohol going forward. Back in 2013, former Postmaster General Patrick Donahue pitched the idea of allowing USPS to deliver beer, wine and spirits to consumers doorsteps. He claimed that alcoholic beverage deliveries could generate upwards of $50 million a year for the Postal Service. Thats no small amount! Even so, Donahue proposed the idea years ago, and there doesnt seem to be any movement happening in that direction any time soon. So dont get your hopes up.
WaitWasnt Prohibition a Hundred Years Ago?
Just about! The United States enacted Prohibition in 1920, and didnt repeal it until 1933. Theres been a lot of time since then for our country to revise its laws prohibiting the shipment of alcohol. However, the good people on Capitol Hill still havent gotten around to it, for some reason.
Are There Any Exceptions?
For all you hyper-technical individuals out there, there are some exceptions to this rule. USPS allows for the shipment of products containing VERY low levels of alcohol like cold remedies, cooking wine, and mouthwash. However, any liquid containing 0.5% or more alcoholic content is non-mailable. That means pretty much every alcoholic beverage out there, including shipping beer and wine, is a no-go with USPS.
USPS Judges Boxes by Their Labels
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How To Ship Alcohol Overseas
You’ve fallen in love with a Bordeaux produced at a small French vineyard, and you can’t imagine life without it. Unluckily for you, however, “once you’re changing countries, gets exponentially more difficult,” says Weinberg. First, Weinberg advises, you will have to “make sure the product can be legally shipped into the destination without a permit.” You can check this guide to see your state’s individual regulations. If you don’t, your “product could be seized, quarantined, or destroyed,” warns Weinberg. And no one wants that, do they? Shipping out of the U.S. into another country will require you to brush up on state and federal export rules and the import rules of whichever country you’re sending it to . Good luck. Once again, it’s probably best to go through a retailer or distributor.
Weinberg also recommends that you confirm with the retailer or distributor if any taxes or duties need to be paid on the product you intend to ship. If so, they should be able to advise you on how to pay them, and how much they will cost you. Lastly, “purchase from a reputable dealer who knows the ins and outs of laws, and ideally has experience shipping to your destination of choice,” Weinberg advises.
In short, as much as you might like to personally pick up, wrap and send a bottle of booze as a gift, this is one task better left to professionals.
How To Ship Alcohol Internationally
Importing and exporting alcohol across country borders presents even more challenges. Youll now need to meet state, city, and country laws, as well as be familiar with exporting and importing laws.
Youll need to ensure that the distributor sending the shipment has the correct permits or the US government can seize your shipment. Youll also need to be aware of taxes and duties for international beer, spirit, and wine imports.
We recommend not managing international alcohol shipping yourself instead, work with reliable third-party retailers and compliance companies to ship beer, liquor, and wine orders.
Stay on top of the latest alcohol trends and regulations
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How To Ship Alcohol To Another State
When your booze crosses state borders, “you need to consider the laws for both the shipping state and the receiving state,” says Weinberg. So, for example, if you’d like to send a bottle of wine from a visit along Pennsylvania’s wine trail to a relative in Mississippi, don’t waste your time or your money. While it’s perfectly legal to mail wine from this northern state, it’s also perfectly illegal to receive wine shipments in Mississippi.
In other words, Mississippi is not a reciprocal state, a state in which you can receive alcohol shipments from other states or countries, explains Lekkala. You can read more about reciprocal states and other out-of-state shipment rules here.
Of course, there’s an easy way around these convoluted laws, too. Mostthough not allalcohol that can be purchased in one state can be found somewhere in another, so if you’re dying to ship your brother a new brew, hit the web first to see if you can find a retailer in his state that carries the beverage, recommends Lekkala. It will be much easier to provide a credit card number over the phone than try to send that brew between states. “Even state-controlled stores realize they’re losing business to other states and improving the range of inventories they’re carrying,” Lekkala says.
The Purpose Of This Guide
This is meant to serve as an outline for teaching beginner traders how to properly package and ship beer to their trading partner. Keep in mind, there are lots of ways to safety and securely prep beer for shipping, and this is in no way meant to be a final word on that process. Its simply one method that I, among others in the trading community, have successfully used for some time.
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Fedex Alcohol Shipping Best Practices
Similarly to UPS, FedEx makes specific packaging requests of businesses shipping alcohol. Hereâs what to keep in mind:
- Use polystyrene on the inside and cardboard on the outside. FedEx asks that spirits be shipped with these materials to be transported and delivered safely. It also mitigates temperature fluctuations, minimizes package shifting, and prevents spillage.
- Avoid packing peanuts, packing paper, and cardboard partitions. Alcoholic beverages need specific kinds of packaging to prevent box damage. Cardboard partitions and packing peanuts donât keep beverage containers firmly situated enough, and packing paper can easily become unfurled.
- Use directional arrows wisely. Directional arrow stickers are often added to fragile or directionally sensitive packages, but they canât always be honored by shipping carriers and 3PL companies. Instead, itâs best to put your shipping label on the top of the box, so truck drivers know which way is up if theyâre unable to find other stickers.
- Reinforce your package with tape. Since a damaged beverage box can get messy fast, it never hurts to have extra layers of tape. After your box is sealed, put another layer on the bottom and top flaps, and double-check that the tape holds well.
A Brief History Lesson
Once upon a time, the federal government thought it would be a brilliant idea to constitutionally ban all production, importation, transportation, and distribution of alcohol within the U.S. Thankfully, the concept didnt last too long, and prohibition was overturned in 1933, thanks to the 21st Amendment. However, its passage also gave states absolute power to create their own legislation pertaining to the regulation of alcohol .
To this day, there still isnt one overarching set of rules that clearly explains the dos and donts when it comes to shipping beer. Instead, every state is essentially left to its own devices. And in some cases, the laws can vary from one county to another within the same state. Because of this, the major players in the shipping space are very specific about outlining their own policies and who they choose to work with. In fact, according to the Postal Services shipping restrictions, alcohol is listed as a restricted domestic item, along with cigarettes, firearms, poison, and live animals.
It all comes down to whats known in the industry as the three-tier system. You have the suppliers , the wholesalers or distributors , and the retailers that sell to the masses . Only retailers can sell directly to consumersand in order for them to be permitted to ship beer, they need a special license. They also typically need to have an alcohol shippers contract with a company like FedEx, which comes with its own set of strict policies.
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Beer Shipping Laws Deconstructed
Beer shipping laws are inscrutable at best and completely opaque at worst. Why are they so confusing? We hope to clear up some misconceptions in this piece.
With the passage of the 21st Amendment in 1933 ending Prohibition, states were given absolute power to enact their own laws regarding the production, distribution and sale of alcohol. Its common knowledge that alcohol is highly regulated through every phase of its production, and its marketing and distribution must comply with a host of rules and regulations regarding how businesses can distribute their products including how they are shipped.
Shipping Beer Between StatesWhile all states allow the production of beer, the laws surrounding the shipment of alcohol vary from state-to-state. A handful of states allow shipments into and out of the state, while some only permit shipments from breweries within the state. Others restrict sending beer from breweries in-state but allow beers to be sent out of state, and still more only allow shipments sent out of state. There is little to no consistency on these states decisions, and requirements are often vague, convoluted and unclear.
Looking for a breakage-proof way to send your precious cargo? The gentlemen over at thirstybastards.com have developed a method for shipping beer that can survive a ten-foot drop.
United States Post Office
Unfortunately, if USPS is your preferred shipping courier, you wont be shipping alcohol through them. Beer, wine, and liquor are restrictive substances and are not able to be mailed through USPS. Since alcohol shipments are so often determined by the specific state laws and regulations, USPS abides by all federal laws and regulations, making alcohol shipments prohibited. Even if you want to mail an item in a box that was once used for alcohol, those labels must be completely removed.
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Can You Ship Alcohol
Lets get the most obvious question out of the way: as a consumer, are you able to ship alcohol to yourself? Unfortunately not. Shipping alcohol is illegal for consumers unless for some reason they have the proper permits and licensing that allow them to distribute alcohol. But why? These federal regulations were put in place after the 21st amendment was finalized when the US decided that people were allowed to drink again, but with some state-by-state guidance. One of the requirements for shipping alcohol would be that for consumers, it was a no go.
Now, licensed sellers of alcohol are a different story, whether that be a vineyard or a tequila start-up. Licensed sellers and retailers of alcohol will prioritize having the proper permits to ship alcohol, whether that be nationally or globally, so that they dont have to deal with too many road bumps along the way. They must be aware of state laws and local regulations on shipping alcohol and keep up with other state requirements for delivery. So unless youre a licensed seller of spirits, youre unlikely to be able to ship someone your favorite cocktail fixings or bottle of red anytime soon.
Can You Ship Alcohol With Fedex
Yes, you can ship alcohol with FedEx. As long as youâre a pre-approved alcoholic beverage seller and comply with their regulations, youâre good to go.
FedEx requests that alcohol shippers use certain types of packaging, which they outline on their website. They also offer specific guidelines for wine in their Wine Packaging Guide.
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How To Ship Alcohol Legally In All 50 States
We live in a world of e-commerce, where we have everything from groceries to furniture to medicine and everything in-between delivered directly to our homes. However, this doesnt apply to the alcohol industry and selling alcohol online.
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Thats because shipping beer, spirit, or wine to consumers comes with its own set of rules and regulations that presents a bigger challenge than simply boxing up a bottle and dropping it in a mailbox.
How To Ship Alcohol To A Friend
Are you curious about how to ship alcohol to a friend? Itâs doable as long as you follow all spirits shipping regulations. Here are the basics of sending a drink to your friend:
- Familiarize yourself with state laws. Because alcohol is an age-restricted substance, itâs more heavily regulated than most products. Your shipmentâs packaging, delivery, and destination details should conform to the laws of your state and that of your recipient.
- Choose a carrier from popular eCommerce shipping companies. FedEx and UPS both offer different advantages depending on your needs. UPS is great for ground shipping and FedEx has advantages for overnight air or international shipping. You canât ship alcohol via USPS because they expressly prohibit it in their policies.
- Package it well. Any box containing an alcoholic beverage should be packaged and sealed tightly. After putting the beverage in a polystyrene foam container, you can line your cardboard box with plastic film. This prevents the cardboard from liquid damage in the unlikely event of spillage. Double check that everything fits well and that the box doesnât have too much empty space. Double seal the box with tape and you can ship with confidence.
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Are There Different Regulations For Each State
As we mentioned earlier, 44 states allow the delivery of alcohol. Each state has slightly different rules and regulations in regards to delivery service and sales. While we wont waste time by going through all 44, we will discuss ten states with varying rules to highlight their differences and similarities.
Which States Allow Alcohol Delivery
Weve become a country that likes to have things on-demand and delivered to us, meaning many companies have had to adjust and adapt to delivery services. From two day shipping with Amazon to having your food arrive in 45 minutes, you can pretty much have anything you want to be delivered with the push of a button.
Alcohol is no exception. 44 of the 50 states allow for delivery of alcohol, though the specific laws differ from state to state, affecting delivery services in various ways. Four states prohibit it and a few others with some serious restrictions and a few exceptions.
Thankfully, in most states, there are not many laws controlling and restricting the delivery of alcohol. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, many states and counties have loosened their restrictions on the sales, distribution, and delivery of alcohol in order to keep small businesses afloat. Read on to learn more about which states allow delivery and which states dont.
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Faq On Sending Alcohol In Europe And Internationally
Can I ship alcohol internationally with every courier company?
Can I send alcohol in the mail internationally as a gift?
What is the best way to ship alcohol in Europe by courier?
What is the cheapest way to ship alcohol in Europe?
Can I ship alcohol from the UK to Europe?
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Is international alcohol shipping covered by insurance?
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