What you Should Know About Shipping Alcoholic Beverages

During the holiday season, purchase and consumption of alcohol increases and business owners like to expand their inventory in anticipation. Unlike other merchandise, however, you can’t just order and ship alcoholic beverages without navigating a lot of red tape. Not only are the laws regarding spirit transportation complex, but they frequently change. Among other things, you will be expected to know what taxes must be paid and to pay them. The purchaser and receiver is expected to know the laws and abide by them, which leaves you with the liability for the transportation process.

If you have a retail liquor license it is not enough to allow you to purchase alcohol and have it transported to your business; you must also have a non-retail license to transport alcohol, or import or export it. This rule applies to non-profit organizations as well as for profit businesses. You also need to consider what kind of alcohol is being shipped. Hard liquor, contrary to what you might think, is one of the easier alcoholic beverages to ship.

The Webb Kenyon Act

The Alcohol, Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau enforces the Webb Kenyon Act, which prohibits shipment of alcoholic beverages across state lines if it violates a law of the receiving state. In reality all states, due to their own tax laws, don’t accept trans-state shipments, so this restriction applies universally. The Bureau, for the most part, leaves it to the states to enforce these regulations, since each state has a different approach to spirits transportation. So how do distributors manage to ship their goods?

Rules and Regulations Vary by State

Most states don’t allow direct spirits transportation from manufacturer to consumer; in some states, it is even a felony offense to do this. It takes some research to know how to ship alcohol legally, as rules and regulations can vary depending on point of departure and place of arrival. Some states don’t allow spirits transportation at all, and some allow it to licensed wholesalers or liquor distribution centers owned by a state. If the alcohol originated outside of the country, customs declarations must also be made, and you can’t sell what you import without a Federal Alcohol Administration permit.

Spirits transportation doesn’t have to be complicated if you are aware of the basic rules. Contact Top Shelf Logistics, LLC and we will help you find a shipping company that specializes in spirits transportation to be sure to have a legal and trouble free shipment.