Can You Ship Alcohol Overseas?

Yes, but unless you have the necessary permits, there’s no way to ship alcoholic beverages overseas. Legally, that is.

Alcohol, among other dangerous goods, is highly regulated in many countries because of its flammability. That’s why there are a lot of required documents and packaging guidelines. Plus, laws regarding alcohol shipments vary by country.

If you’re a business owner who plans to venture into the wine and alcohol industry, then you need to apply for a permit to manufacture, sell, export, and import alcohol. You can do that via the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s website. You can find more instructions and guidelines there.

For additional info, you can browse FedEx‘s International Wine Shipping Documentation Requirements for Different Countries, as well as NCSL’s state statutes for direct shipping alcohol.

It’s a different story if you’re a consumer and you want to ship alcohol internationally, perhaps as a gift to someone. As per USPS‘s list of restricted and prohibited items, they won’t ship your liquor for you, period. And direct shipment won’t work at all. You’re better off ordering from an online retailer such as Drizly or Minibar.

International Alcohol Shipping Requirements & Guidelines

Businesses selling alcoholic beverages commonly use FedEx, UPS, or DHL for their alcohol shipments. After you’ve applied for the necessary licenses, you can choose among those shipping carriers for your alcohol delivery.

Those carriers share common requirements for shipping alcoholic beverages such as:

  • Indicating that the package contains an alcoholic beverage
  • Paying for surcharges in addition to the shipping cost
  • Making sure the alcohol or wine shipment is in proper packaging
  • Having an adult sign the packaging

While these guidelines are somehow universal, each carrier will have its own requirements for shipping hazardous material like distilled spirits, beer, wine bottles, and other drinks with alcohol content.

You can read about these international shipping requirements here:

How to Package Alcohol for Shipment

When shipping liquids like beer, wine, or distilled spirits, it’s very important to contain them in proper packaging to prevent spoilage and bottle damage.

Below are 5 tips to help you safely package your alcohol shipments. Remember to also read up on your shipping carrier’s guidelines about proper packaging.

1. Use Bubble Wrap

…But only if the bubble wrap is at least 2 inches thick on all sides, has good void fill, and is securely attached to the bottles. When shipping beer cans, you can put them inside a zip lock bag after bubble-wrapping them. Make sure to add some padding so that the beers don’t shift around, and then secure the box with tape.

2. Take Note of the Expiration Date

Beer and wine have expiration dates, so it’s crucial to make sure that your shipments will arrive on time. If you can, opt for express shipping to get the liquor in your destination country.

3. Control the Temperature

Hot environments are terrible for shipping beer and wine. They’ll spoil easily that way. If you’re shipping from warmer climates, package your alcohol delivery in insulated boxes, or if available, select your carrier’s temperature-controlled shipping option.

4. Proper Bottle Orientation

Sometimes, directional arrows aren’t always honored. To be safe, place the shipping label on the top of the packaging and make sure to orient the bottles accordingly. Some types of wines are better stored right-side up, while others are better stored on their side.

Also, make the shipping label clear that aside from stating that the package contains alcohol, it’s also very fragile.

5. Make Sure the Bottles Don’t Touch Each Other

Storing the bottles otherwise is a sure-fire way of allowing them to shatter during shipment. Make sure to use proper padding and separate the bottles using cardboard dividers.

5 Liquor Stores to Buy Alcohol From If You’re a Consumer

If you don’t own a business or don’t have the proper licenses to ship alcohol, no shipping service will ship your alcohol for you. Here’s a list of liquor stores to check out if you want to buy beer or wine online:

  1. Drizly
  2. Saucey
  3. International Wine Shop
  4. Worldwide Bev
  5. International Wines NYC

Make sure you confirm with the store if you need to pay for additional taxes or duties, so you know what kind of shipping rates to expect.