View Full Version : What's the rules on shipping Bourbon?
I'm out here in CA and wondered if it is OK to have some more local bourbons of Kentucky shipped to me by friends. Four Roses single barrel comes to mind.
Must of us play "don't ask don't tell" when it comes to shipping bourbon. It is against policy of FedEx, UPS and USPS to ship hard spirits (and may be agaisnt your state law). Just don't tell them what is in package and package it well and you should be fine. I ship using Fedex online and print my own labels and just drop off packages, so they never ask what is in them. If you take package to a store, they will likely ask what is in box.
I looked into this a while ago and found it was difficult to do legally between private individuals. The USPS doesn't allow it, nor do most private shipping companies.
Of course, that doesn't mean it's not done.
I would avoid the post office since it is government and it may be illegal. FedEx is a company and not the government, so I would ship with them. Even if you break a rule, it is just a company.
My advice is to package it very well so it does not break. Bubble wrap or foam peanuts at a minimum. The only way to get caught is to have the bottle break, which neither you nor Fed Ex wants.
"Illegal" and "not permitted" are not the same thing.
There are many reasons why the commercial shippers have policies against it that may or may not have anything to do with legality. In fact, I'm sure it's not illegal to ship spirits by common carrier generally because it's done all the time. We know it's done unofficially but it's also done officially. For example, I get bottles from the distilleries on a regular basis and they're not doing it on the down low.
Sometimes there's some paperwork indicating that an adult signature is required, sometimes there isn't.
The illegality is non-licensed entities "dealing" in alcohol. Also, about half the states do have laws against alcohol being shipped into the state but, again, those laws mostly have to do with taxation, not the transportation of spirits per se.
Bottom line, I would not worry about shipping something to a friend or having something shipped to me by a friend. If it eases your conscience and you use something like UPS, where they ask you on the form what the contents are, put "bottles" and you aren't lying.
But the advice about packaging it well is very sound. You can buy inexpensive shippers, made primarily for shipping wine, that work pretty well.
Also those inexpensive shippers, work well now that you can no longer carry bottles of liquid on to planes, and they must be place in your check in luggage. So, if you plan on buying some bottles while traveling take a few with you. Unless you get them from the duty-free, I guess, then they are still allowed on board.
As far as I'm concerned, the only iron-clad rule is: "postage pre-paid".
One thing about shipping spirits legally is that you have to have a license. I believe anyone who has a license to produce or sell it implicitly has the authority to transport, i.e., ship, for legal purposes, but you and me citizens don't have that right.
Anyway, I thought this might be interesting. Sometimes, though not always, when producers ship me something to sample the package has this label on it.
I called ABC here in KY since I was unsure about whether I could buy bourbon on eBay which is now unavailable in KY liquor stores.
They told me that as long as I was buying from an individual seller and not a licensed seller of liquor, I could buy on eBay, as this was just a sale for personal use.
He also said that even if the seller was a licensed liquor dealer and decided to ship to me anyway, the violation would be on him as the seller and not me as the buyer...but someone would have to report the violation to ABC for them to even investigate it (and I sure wouldn't tell).
maybe this is a good thread to ask this in: from the webstores you folks have ordered bourbon from, which actually give you a tracking number as part of their communication? I mean, a "package shipped" email of some kind that includes the tracking #, so I can plan on being home that day to sign for it. That's the one thing that's kept me from ordering booze online to this day, I'd have to arrange to be off of work to receive it. If I knew I'd have a tracking # in advance, at least I could see what the delivery date would be.
binny's? shopper's vineyard? others?
maybe this is a good thread to ask this in: from the webstores you folks have ordered bourbon from, which actually give you a tracking number as part of their communication?
I ordered from BevMo (probably a california only), and I got a tracking number.
They shipped UPS, and I wasn't home when they delivered, so they left a note on my door. I called them up with the information on the note and had it delivered to my office.
I could have also drove down to UPS and picked it up there (which they are open saturday). USPS will deliver saturday, and it's usually really convenient to pick up if necessary.
I'm sure you can make similar arrangements with FedEx as well, but I have never had anything delivered by them which they couldn't leave on the porch.
Thanks, thesh, I don't think BevMo will ship to VT. I have thought about having a package shipped to the office I work at, but I'm sort of a lowly pawn here and it could be awkward if the delivery guy happened to say anything too loud about what was in the box I'm signing for. I know people here have ordered from Binny's and Shopper's Vineyard (these two will ship to VT), any input? Thanks.
I've ordered many times from online retailers and have had those boxes delivered to me at work. If you're worried about the delivery person spilling the beans on what you ordered, I don't think that would happen as it's none of their business...besides, they are on a short timeline to get all deliveries done that business day and they don't have time to stand around and shoot the breeze. Why would your office mates care that you received a delivery anyway? You're not doing anything illegal or unethical.
As for purchasing from places like Binny's or Shoppervineyard, both places have good websites and decent stock and to date I've had no problems ordering nor receiving shipments from them. If you have trouble finding the more elusive bottles, Ebay or online retail is really the only vehicle some of us have for increasing our bunkers.
Why would your office mates care that you received a delivery anyway? You're not doing anything illegal or unethical.
Obviously I'm not doing anything illegal and my 2 other office mates wouldn't care, either. My boss, however, happens to subscribe to a hardcore religion that forbids alcohol and we're all within 20 feet of each other and I'll leave it at that. I know the FedEx isn't going to want to talk to me. I think after discussing this though, I might give it a shot. There's so much not available to me locally that I can't resist the online shelves anymore... :cool:
edit: actually... I can have it delivered to my wife's workplace, she's a potter and works with a bunch of english women. They've been known to even have a G&T on the job, ha!
One thing local fed ex does for me if I am not home--- is hang a door tag sticker on my door for my signature to leave the goods the next delivery day. Should work in most cases expect those explictly demanding a 21 and over signer with ID.
In the case of ordering from Binnys, I have actually specified a ship date so that I can be home to accept the package. They usually ship Fedex and I've even been able to get in touch with the driver and meet up with him to get a missed package. Binnys is very helpful this way!
I'd have to arrange to be off of work to receive it. If I knew I'd have a tracking # in advance, at least I could see what the delivery date would be.
binny's? shopper's vineyard? others?
Hey Dave why take the day off? Shoppersvineyard.com shipped right to my work and I signed for it there! Doesn't work on Saturday deliveries but you can work around that. Fed Ex held it at there location and I picked it up on my lunch hour! You just have to call and let them know you'll pick it up.
The delivery guy has no idea what's in the box so buck up little camper! Step up to Rook (this pawn shit's for the birds) or maybe even Knight! If others are getting packages you can too! Don't wait Git er done!
Hope this helped!
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