How To Package Alcohol For Shipping
Within all these carriers alcohol shipping legal guidelines, there are also packaging requirements that need to be considered when shipping alcohol. Since alcohol shipment deals with both liquids and glassware, it makes sense that the packaging restrictions are detailed and extensive. UPS even offers complimentary packaging services to help ensure all alcohol shipments are good to go. To avoid wasted alcohol sales and loss of product, shippers need to avoid breakage within the parcel by filling any voids in packaging appropriately. Different alcohol types will have unique requirements based on their contents, so make sure to consider the little details before arranging for a shipping label. Properly packing and marking boxes as fragile to make sure proper care is taken in handling the package is a necessary step to guarantee that the efforts of shipping the alcohol is worth it.
Shipping Alcohol To The Us
You may not ship alcohol through the U.S. Postal Service. Those seeking to import alcoholic beverages will need to find alternative methods. Other major shipping companies do ship alcohol internationally but with specific guidelines. Working with Your Licensed Customs Broker can make this process streamlined and simple.
Alcohol must be shipped in its original container with the original label. Additionally, the FDA must receive notice of any food product shipped into the U.S. The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 mandates the that FDA receives prior notice of food products shipped into the U.S. This mandate includes alcohol beverages. According to the FDA, this rule is in place to protect the nation against public health emergencies and terrorist acts related to the food supply. The FDA will assign a prior notice number, which must be provided to the shipper.
Alcohol must also only be shipped to individuals 21 years of age or older. Many shippers require a statement and signature from an adult over 21 for delivery.
Forty-four states allow direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments. States that do not allow alcohol shipments directly to consumers include:
- Rhode Island
If you are shipping alcohol for personal use, it might be wise to let your vendor or distributor handle shipping.
How To Import Alcohol
When it comes to importing alcohol, there are steps that need to be taken in order to receive products legally and successfully.
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How To Ship Wine
If you’re still wondering, can you ship wine to California? Here is your answer: if you’ve received the right licensing and know where you’re shipping your wine to, how to ship wine becomes the next question you need to ask. Any fragile or valuable shipment must be packaged carefully, and wine is no different.
Different carriers may require that liquids be double or triple packed, which means shippers need to add one or two waterproof layers inside the final shipping container. Check with your approved shipping carrier for their specific requirements.
There are ways to safely package the wine to make sure it can withstand the shipping process. Experts recommend using foam inserts or other stabilizers to keep the bottles at the center of the shipping container without touching one another or the sides of the box. The bottle or bottles should fit snugly, without being packed too loosely or too tightly. Absorbent material should be used in the layers of packing material in case there is a leak.
Additional waterproof layers should be packaged around the wine to prevent any other damage occurring from a leak. If improperly packaged, a leak could end up damaging other packages along its shipping route.
New York Has Additional Regulations
New York regulations prohibit wine and food from being shipped in the same package. Gifts and Baskets ordered that include both food and wine will be sent in two separate packages. Your gift message will be included in both packages and your Order Confirmation will show two order numbers that will also be given to separate tracking numbers once they are shipped.
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What States Can I Ship Wine To From California
California allows for reciprocal sales from out of state alcohol retailers. Wine can be shipped to any state from California, excepting the ones listed above.
Additionally, the following states allow breweries to ship alcohol to consumers from out of state:
- North Dakota
- Washington, DC
Distilleries may also ship their alcohol from their facility to consumers in North Dakota, New Hampshire, and Nebraska.
Cabrella can help you determine whether you can ship wine or other alcohols to specific states or locations outside of the United States.
Why This Is Happening Now
While it is true that the consumers residing in the states that do not permit out-of-state retailers to sell to their residents will no longer be able to order any alcohol from an out-of-state retailer, they technically have never been legally able to do so, Koral says.
Many retailers and wine clubs have been shipping wine across state lines for years, a practice that Koral noted has technically always been illegal. Recently increased pressure from state regulators is casting a spotlight on offenders.For instance, for years both FedEx and UPS have held policies stating that they only ship wine from licensed entities. Only in the past year have both have begun putting more effort into enforcing these policies. Now, carriers like FedEx and UPS will refuse to ship the wine, leaving many retailers no way to fulfill interstate orders.
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Ship To A Ups Access Point Location
Approved wine shippers may use the Ship to a UPS Access Point® location service in conjunction with Adult Signature Required for consumers who prefer to pick up shipments from UPS Access Point locations.
To ship wine to a UPS Access Point location:
- Shippers must use a UPS Locator tool and the “Accepts Restricted Articles” filter to select an approved destination UPS Access Point location.
- Shippers must also use approved UPS Access Point “Contains Alcohol Beverage Adult Signature Required” labels for wine shipments sent to UPS Access Point locations.
- Wine shipments can be redirected to UPS Access Point locations with the ability to accept restricted goods.
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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How To Ship Alcohol In
Shipping alcohol in-state is the simplest alcohol shipping method but is still convoluted and confusing.
Since you wont be crossing state lines, youll only need to meet the alcohol shipping requirements of the state youre located in. However, you will need to be familiar with the local city laws for the different towns and municipalities in your state. Luckily, alcohol distributors should already be familiar with their local laws regarding alcohol production, distribution, and sales.
Consumers can also use one of the many alcohol e-commerce and delivery app companies such as Drizly or WineDirect to order alcohol directly to their home or to send beer, wine, or spirits to a friend.
Can I Still Order Wine From An Out
In short, yes. In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that states allowing in-state wineries to ship bottles DTC cannot prohibit out-of-state wineries from DTC shipping. Thus, states allowing in-state shipping from wineries must also allow interstate shipping from wineries, making DTC shipping much easier for wineries.
Retailers, on the other hand, have a much steeper hill to climb. Although 42 states currently allow wineries to obtain DTC shipping licenses, only 10 of these states allow retailers to apply for these licenses. Three additional states California, New Mexico, and Idaho allow retailers to ship on a reciprocal agreement, meaning that if another state allows this states retailers to ship DTC, they will do the same. That leaves just 13 states that permit retailers to ship out of state.
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Can You Ship Wine To California
For retailers and non-retailers alike, making sense of shipping regulations when it comes to shipping alcohol in the United States can be challenging. Each state not only creates its own regulations regarding alcohol shipments, but individual counties within that state may also have fashioned their own rules. So, the question of the day is: can you ship wine to California?
The short answer is, yes, you can. Individuals or retailers with the proper licensing can ship alcohol to California, or from California to different states. Where you live, where and who you are sending to, and how much wine you want to ship are all questions that should be asked before you take your package to the nearest post office.
Can I ship wine to California? Individuals without the proper licenses are not allowed to send alcohol. USPS prohibits the shipping of alcohol by individuals. People who want to ship wine through FedEx or UPS can do so, but have to have the right license and sign an agreement with their chosen shipping carrier. This typically means you must be a commercial entity. At the other end of the shipment, an adult over the age of 21 must sign for the package to obtain it legally.
States that have banned the shipping of alcohol are:
- Rhode Island
Get To The Bottom Of Wine Shipping
The red states do not allow wine shipments. Image from freethegrapes.org
There 10 states that flat out dont allow wine to be shipped directly to you . What this image doesnt show you is that there are several states with additional rules and fees, making it hard for small wineries to deliver their wines to you. Lets look at some of the details on the archaic laws of wine shipping:
- If you live in Alabama you have to get special prior written approval from the Alcohol Beverage Control Board and prepay for deliveries.
- If you live in Utah youre a criminal if you bring more than 2 bottles of wine home from your travels.
- If you live in Arizona or New Mexico you can only receive 2 cases of wine annually thats only one bottle every two weeks!
- If you live in Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming, wineries must buy a yearly permit just to ship to you.
- If you live in New Jersey large wineries cant ship you wine. No
- If you live in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska or Maryland you can pretty much get whatever you want, as long as they can get it to you.
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Is It Legal To Mail Alcohol
There isnt a universal answer to this question, as it depends on the laws and regulations in each state, city, and county that both the seller and buyer are located in.
Why is that? When Prohibition ended with the 21st Amendment, it gave states the power to regulate and set their own laws on the sale of alcoholic beverages in their states.
There are some universal rules for shipping alcohol that include:
- Alerting the carrier that a shipment contains alcohol
- Paying a special alcohol package fee
- An adult that is 21 or older must sign for the package
Which Carriers Can I Use To Ship Beer And Wine
Since USPS prohibits it, youll be limited to either shipping with UPS or FedEx if you want to ship alcohol. However, just because UPS and FedEx allow you to ship booze doesnt mean they make it easy. On top of obtaining a valid alcohol shipping license, youll need to sign agreements with both carriers and use specific labeling on your package.
You can read about all the proper steps youll need to take in our comprehensive guide on how to ship alcohol.
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Wine Manufacturers In New York State
New York State wineries may ship up to 36 cases of wine per year directly to a New York resident for personal use. The winery must require the purchaser to provide proof they are 21 or over, and that the wine is for personal use and not for resale.
Shipping containers used to deliver wine must be conspicuously labeled with the following:
For Personal Use and Not For Resale
Signature of Person Age 21 or Older Required for Delivery
Delivery to an Intoxicated Person is Forbidden by Law”
New York State wineries must require the common carrier delivering the wine to verify the identity and age of the recipient by means of photographic identification, obtain the signature of the recipient on an “acknowledgement of receipt” form provided by the Authority and refuse delivery to recipients who refuse to present proof of age.
New York State wineries must maintain records of all direct wine shipments and produce them at the request of the Liquor Authority or the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.
How To Package Spirits For Shipping
Same with beer and wine, the packaging requirements for spirits will depend mostly on the way the liquor is being stored. Liquor is an especially unique liquid to ship, as the slightest interference within the transit could compromise the curated taste or worse, waste the product all together. While the glass bottles used for storing liquor are much thicker than wine or beer bottles, theyre still subject to breakage without proper preparation. Some of the general rules for shipping spirits include:
- Prevent Glass from Touching Glass: The easiest way liquor bottles are able to shatter during the delivery is against one another. Choosing to package bottles with cardboard dividers and proper padding to eliminate shuffling is a must when shipping liquor bottles. Boxes going on top of boxes are inevitable during shipping, so make sure to shrink wrap pallets to prevent boxes from shifting.
- Consider Insurance: Liquor is priced at a much higher value than beer or wine, so making sure your shipment is insured is crucial for guaranteeing youre prepared for any issues that come up down the line. Its always better to be safe than sorry, especially when sending spirits.
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State And Local Requirements
Depending on which U.S. State youâre importing into, you may have to deal with additional requirements or restrictions. These State laws are often forgotten or overlooked, but they can get you in trouble if you donât comply! The TTB has a directory that lists all the websites and contact information for the various alcohol regulation authorities, which makes it easy to find any Stateâs specific regulations.
Can I Mail Wine As A Gift
It is illegal in the US for non-licensed individuals to ship wine through the mail. If you would like to send someone wine, you will need to buy wine through a licensed company. Fortunately, there are many companies that can send fine vintages, bottles, gift baskets, and club memberships to your recipient.
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How To Pay For Imported Alcohol
Buying alcohol from an international supplier isnât like purchasing from a domestic supplier. In some cases, different payment methods are required. There are several common payment methods to consider when importing alcohol. Four common methods of payment when working with foreign suppliers include:
- Open account: This method of payment involves the seller extending a line of credit until the products are received.
- International wire transfer: This is a very common method of payment for small to medium transactions. In most cases, international wire transfer payments are made in to the supplier advance of the delivery of goods.
- Letter of credit: This method of payment involves buyerâs bank providing a document stating how much credit is available. A letter of credit works like a bank guarantee. In this case, your bank will pay the alcohol supplier when the obligations outlined in the letter are met.
- Documentary collection: This method of payment works like a cash on delivery option. In this case, the sellerâs bank works with the buyerâs bank to collect payment after delivery.
- Online escrow: This method of payment works similarly to a letter of credit and is commonly used for transactions less than $5,000. You might find that online importers prefer this way to payment.