How to Ship Alcohol: A Guide to Shipping Alcohol Internationally

Alcohol, especially good quality wine bottles, are an excellent gift for clients or family members around the world. Unfortunately, shipping alcohol internationally is not an easy process. If you own a winery, ecommerce alcohol shop, you need to export to international countries that have a different set of rules for shipping alcohol internationally.

Your choices of shippers are limited because not all shippers offer this service due to the regulations and laws restricting alcohol imports. There is no denying that shipping alcohol internationally can be challenging. There are legal issues to consider along with taxes, duties and shipping costs. Items like clothing, toys and books are easier and cheaper to ship than alcohol, which is why it is important to find a trustworthy shipper that will handle all the paperwork and legalities in getting your alcohol across borders.

Shipping alcohol internationally is not impossible though, it is just challenging. To ensure that the shipper can do their job well, you or your organization should make sure to follow essential shipping guidelines. Here is an extensive guide on how to ship alcohol internationally:

Step #1: Get a shipping permit and alcohol license

If you are shipping alcohol internationally, all permits and licenses have to be obtained before you contact a shipper. The permits and licenses should be valid and authorized by the province and country. The shipper will not process your shipment until they have a copy of all the relevant permits and licenses that allow you to sell alcohol both domestically and as exports.

Step #2: Adhere to all alcohol regulations

There are government as well as the courier service regulations that you need to be familiar with. When shipping alcohol internationally, you also have to be familiar with foreign country regulations as they do not accept alcohol imports. You may even have to understand all the bureaucracies involved with imports and exports of alcohol.

The courier service regulations indicate that liquids are considered a dangerous good and therefore need to be handled with care. The shipper will have their own list of regulations associated with the packaging, labelling, documentation and dealing with customs.

Step #3: Select a shipping carrier

Not all carriers can accommodate international shipment of alcohol due to the many complex restrictions and regulations worldwide. Only a few big and some small carriers are authorized and experienced to handle alcohol shipments which limits your option for an affordable shipper.

Nevertheless, affordability is not the factor to be considered with selecting a carrier. The main factor is their experience in managing complex alcohol shipments. Always select a shipping carrier that has a good understanding of the international customs and laws governing alcohol.

Step #4: Sign an agreement

After successfully locating a reliable shipper, you have to read their agreement thoroughly to understand all terms and conditions. Many carriers expect you to have an account to make the process easy to manage. The agreement binds you to agreeing to their terms and conditions as well as all their preparation requirements prior to shipment.

Every carrier has their own terms and conditions, so you have to ensure you read the document before confirming the service.

Step #5: Securely pack bottles

When shipping alcohol internationally, this is a must. The shipper will provide you with recommendations or can even offer to undertake the packaging for a small fee. You or your organization has to make sure you pack your alcohol securely using the proper package materials such as molded polystyrene foam, folded corrugated trays and fiber trays. These inner materials will hold the bottles in place within the heavy duty boxes.

Make sure to secure the bottom of the box with extra tape. Use bubble wrap as much as possible to protect the bottles. In addition to the inner packaging, the outer packaging should be robust and that closer flaps are sealed securely.

Step #6: Abide by international state laws  

Foreign countries will have a restriction on the number of shipments or bottles you can import. They will even have custom duty fees that you have to pay. There are countries that accept only specific alcohol and quantities. This means you have to know each country’s regulations when shipping alcohol. Learn about the import taxes, duties and documentation you have to present. Discuss all these requirements with your selected carrier.

Step #7: Print labels

Properly labelling is a priority for international shipments. They have to be clear and accurate with all the necessary information needed for the shipment. Ensure the label indicates that the box contains alcohol and the packaging is fragile.

Step #8: Be a responsible recipient

The recipient should be made aware of the quantities, date and details of the shipment to make it easy for them to collect the package. The person should be a representative or a client over the allowable age to collect and sign off for the alcohol package. Carrier services request for an adult signature for the final delivery of the package. The person usually has to be over 21 years with proper identification to sign for the package.

About QLCC

Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine (or more affectionately known as QLCC) is a food and lifestyle blogger. What initially started as a casual cooking blog of mine has steered off the original path and my writing has branched out into all aspects of life. Hope you enjoyed my blog posts!