How Do I Ship My Alcoholic Brand’s Products Across The U.S.?

Read Time: 4 min.

As is the case with many ordinances in the United States, shipping alcohol across state lines is regulated at both the federal and state levels. These nuanced laws can be quite confusing for international brands that wish to ship their products to American consumers. Below we’ve explained the process so you can feel more confident in how you’ll distribute your tequila brand across the U.S.

 

Deciding On Where You’ll Ship

Geographical distribution of your tequila brand is a decision you’ll want to make close to the start of your project. If you’ve decided that you want to ship directly to consumers in the U.S., the first step is to do research on what you’ll need in order to reach your desired markets. Tequila imported from Mexico, for example, will have to meet all the regulations for international import to first get into the country.

But once the alcohol has been cleared by customs, brands will then need to meet the requirements at the state level. To make matters more complicated, the laws may vary between the shipping state and the receiving state. For example, if the import is received in Texas but is being shipped to Rhode Island, the tequila brand will need to check the laws for both Texas and Rhode Island. If you’re an American brand shipping to consumers within your own state, then it’s significantly easier to figure out what the shipping regulations are.

Legal Requirements to Start a New Tequila Brand in the US

If you’re looking into how to make your own liquor label, you’ve probably already been considering the legal requirements. If you want to ultimately sell your product in the United States — which is a great idea, as we’ll explore below — there are different legal implications surrounding the import of alcohol.

So start by checking the lists of states that do and don’t allow alcohol shipping. Keep in mind that several states allow direct shipments of certain, but not all, types of alcohol. For example, Massachusetts, Vermont, and six others allow the direct shipment of beer and wine, while New Mexico authorizes the shipment of wine and cider. Six states and Washington D.C. allow direct shipment of spirits. Depending on your brand, you’ll likely be able to ship only certain products to certain states.

 

Safely Shipping Your Alcohol

Before shipping alcohol directly to consumers, you’ll need to obtain a shipping license. As freight company FreightRun says, “The shipper must be licensed, and the state they are shipping to must allow people to legally receive alcohol. Those are the two most important alcohol shipping laws.”

In order to ship your tequila brand to distributors, it’s advised that you get a special contract with UPS or FedEx. In order to safely ship alcoholic beverages, you should use strong cardboard boxes that have sectional separating trays inside of them for each individual bottle.

Shipping your alcohol direct-to-consumer requires that you pay the different kinds of taxes that apply in each state. While consumers are likely responsible for the sales tax and markup tax on alcohol, the shipper is typically charged the excise tax, which is a per-unit calculation. If you plan to ship only to licensed retailers or distributors rather than direct-to-consumer, you still must confirm with these companies whether any taxes or duties need to be paid on the product. If so, they should be able to advise you on how much is due and how to pay.

 

Contact Aceves Spirits

It’s a good idea to work with a reputable alcoholic beverage developer who knows the regulations and has experience shipping to your desired destinations. If you want to start importing your own tequila brand now, reach out to Aceves Spirits for expert advice and collaboration.