Behind the Beer

Can You Ship Alcohol? A Helpful Alcohol Shipping Guide

For microbrewers, coordinating shipping their completed products can be one of the most challenging aspects of the business. However, devising legal and effective ways to deliver beer directly to the homes of your customers is becoming more and more necessary.

The act of shipping and delivering alcohol comes with a unique set of rules that varies from state-to-state. Answering the question of shipping legally within the United States is a complex one, but we have a helpful alcohol shipping guide below to get you started in the right direction. Always remember, though, to check with local state and federal guidelines before shipping any alcohol.

What Are the Legalities Surrounding Shipping Alcohol In the United States?

Federal control over alcohol restrictions ceased following the end of the Prohibition era. Once Prohibition ended, the federal government left alcohol rules and regulations up to local counties, cities, and states.

In 1933, the 21st Amendment was passed by the proclamation of President Roosevelt. When this happened, the 18th Amendment that prohibited sales and consumption of alcohol in the United States was repealed. The legalities of alcohol sales and consumption were placed in the hands of local states, counties, and cities following the repeal. Slowly, state-by-state, alcohol bans were lifted, and consumers were allowed to purchase and consume alcohol again. Mississippi was the last state in the union to allow alcohol purchasing in 1966. While federal laws have been lifted, there are still local guidelines that must be met when it comes to alcohol sales and distribution. These laws can limit things like how much and how often alcohol is sold, how and where alcohol is delivered, and even what day the alcohol is being sold on. For instance, some local alcohol laws prohibit the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

In the present day, it is legal to ship alcohol direct-to-consumer with most states. That being said, there are individual (and sometimes complicated) laws that apply depending on where your microbrewery is located and where your customer lives. You will need to check with local municipalities for direction on how to proceed with shipments of your alcohol product.

It’s also recommended that you check guidelines according to the shipping carriers you plan to use for shipment. Each carrier has its own guidelines pertaining to the shipment and delivery of alcohol, with some not allowing alcohol shipments to consumers in any form. Below are links to some of the most popular carriers and their alcohol guidelines:

You may notice some pretty strict restrictions with most of the carriers above. Because of these restrictions, many companies have turned to local courier and delivery services to get shipments to their customers.

Inter-State Alcohol Shipments

For most microbreweries, alcohol shipping within the state is pretty straightforward. Beer brewers will only need to be familiar with local state, city, and county ordinances that apply to alcohol deliveries direct-to-consumer. Securing delivering carriers is also often easier because companies can use local delivery services and couriers.

Out-Of-State Alcohol Shipments

When shipping your alcohol product out-of-state, you’ll run into a few more hurdles. Out-of-state shipments not only require adherence to the microbreweries local state laws, but also adherence to the local laws pertaining to where the shipment is being sent.

To make the process easier of shipping direct-to-consumer in another state, try coordinating deliveries through a courier or delivery service that is local to your customer. A local delivery service should be able to assist you in ensuring you remain compliant with local laws. You might also consider partnering with a local distributor that may be able to help. As always, check with local state guidelines before making any of these decisions pertaining to the delivery of alcohol.

International Alcohol Shipments

If you thought shipping across state borders was complicated, you might not like dealing with the unique challenges associated with shipping out of the country. When you ship internationally, you’ll need to not only adhere to local state, county, and city laws, but you’ll also need to adhere to federal export laws and the laws of the country you’re shipping to. There are also various licensing and permit laws that apply to international shipments of alcohol.

To make the process easier on yourself and your microbrewery, check into using a broker or shipping company that is both licensed and experienced in handling international alcohol shipments. By doing this, you could make the process easier for your business and ensure that you maintain compliance with federal, local, and international legal requirements.

Can I Ship Alcohol Directly to Consumers In My State?

Individual state laws surrounding shipments of alcohol direct-to-consumer can be complicated and nuanced. Below, we’ve addressed the short answer as to whether shipments direct-to-consumer are allowed in each state listed. However, there are various regulations and restrictions tied into alcohol shipments within each state; be sure to check local state beverage board guidelines for details.

Alabama: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are prohibited.

Alaska: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Arizona: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Arkansas: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed when the originating purchase was made in-store with a company that has necessary permits.

California: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Colorado: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Connecticut: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Delaware: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed when the originating purchase was made in-store with a company that has necessary permits.

Florida: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Georgia: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Hawaii: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Idaho: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Illinois: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Indiana: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Iowa: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Kansas: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Kentucky: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed when the originating purchase was made in-store with a company that has necessary permits.

Louisiana: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Maine: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Maryland: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Massachusetts: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Michigan: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Minnesota: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Mississippi: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are prohibited.

Missouri: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Montana: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Nebraska: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Nevada: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

New Hampshire: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

New Jersey: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

New Mexico: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

New York: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

North Carolina: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

North Dakota: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Ohio: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Oklahoma: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Oregon: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Pennsylvania: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Rhode Island: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

South Carolina: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

South Dakota: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Tennessee: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Texas: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Utah: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are prohibited.

Vermont: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Virginia: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Washington: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

West Virginia: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Wisconsin: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Wyoming: Direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments are allowed, but must comply with local ordinances.

Shipping to Friends and Family

If you’re a local home brewer or novice brewer, it’s most likely in your best interest not to attempt alcohol shipments. If you’re looking for a great beer to send to friends and family, try one of these brewers – many of whom can ship direct!

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