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  1. #1
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Vista, CA
    Posts
    196

    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.
    As he removed the cork from the bottle of bourbon, he threw it across the room and said, "we ain't gonna need that no more".

  2. #2
    Mr. Anal Retentive Bourbon Drinker
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,833

    Re: What's the rules on shipping Bourbon?

    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.

  3. #3
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    1,178

    Re: What's the rules on shipping Bourbon?

    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.

  4. #4
    Taster
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    93

    Re: What's the rules on shipping Bourbon?

    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.

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,622

    Re: What's the rules on shipping Bourbon?

    "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.

  6. #6

    Re: What's the rules on shipping Bourbon?

    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.

  7. #7
    Guru
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Northern Kentucky
    Posts
    3,425

    Re: What's the rules on shipping Bourbon?

    As far as I'm concerned, the only iron-clad rule is: "postage pre-paid".
    John B

    "Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,622

    Re: What's the rules on shipping Bourbon?

    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.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    574

    Re: What's the rules on shipping Bourbon?

    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).

    -Joe
    "I think the most un-American thing you can say is 'You can't say that' " - Garrison Keillor

  10. #10
    Taster
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    vermont mountains
    Posts
    94

    Re: What's the rules on shipping Bourbon?

    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?
    thanks.
    -dave

 

 

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