How to Ship Alcohol

Ever since the COVID-19 Pandemic, there has been a steady increase in online shopping. Customers choose home delivery every time, from apparel to groceries, except the option isn’t available. According to Forbes, alcohol is one of those items whose online sales have grown more than 80% since the pandemic.

The pandemic showed that alcoholic drinks could be mixed, served, stirred, or shaken and enjoyed in the privacy of our own homes. However, shipping alcohol is not a straightforward process as a result of regulations in each state to prevent unlawful distribution. In this article, we’ll look at how to send alcohol legally as well as the correct routes to use.

Who Can Ship Alcohol?

Shipping Alcohol

Consumers cannot ship alcohol until they have the necessary permits and licenses to transport alcohol. These federal laws were enacted after the United States opted to reinstate the 21st Amendment, which permitted people to drink again with some state-by-state regulation. One of the prerequisites for exporting alcohol was that it must not be accessible to consumers.

Only licensed alcohol sellers are allowed to ship alcohol. These retailers will prioritize obtaining the correct paperwork to ship alcohol, either domestically or internationally, to avoid encountering too many roadblocks. They must be informed of state and local alcohol shipping rules and regulations and other state delivery requirements.

So, unless you’re a certified alcohol seller, you won’t be able to send someone their favorite cocktail ingredients or bottle of red wine just yet

How to Package Alcohol for Shipping?

Package wine for shipping

When transporting alcohol, there are packing criteria that must be considered. Because alcohol shipments include both liquids and glassware, it’s understandable that the packaging requirements are extensive. Some carriers even provide free packaging services to ensure that all alcohol shipments arrive safely.

Different varieties of alcohol will have various requirements depending on their content, so pay attention to the small details when ordering a shipping label. If you need to ship other delicate items like perishables, you can follow the step in our guide on How to Ship Perishable Food Items. However, here’s how to package each type of alcohol.

Packaging Beer For Shipping

If you are shipping beer by freight, there are several things to keep in mind to ensure that the beverages arrive in good condition and may be consumed once they get to the delivery destination. No matter how you store your beer, you must shrink wrap the containers to the pallet to protect your beer shipment.

  • Bottles: Shipping beer in glass bottles is a dangerous transportation strategy that could result in product leakage during transit. This is the least desirable option for transportation, particularly over long distances, although it may be done with care.
  • Cans: Although less breakable than glass and marginally easier to package, cans are also not the best choice for transporting liquids across state boundaries. You risk bursting your cans, especially if these frothy brews experience vibration throughout the trip.
  • Kegs: Beer kegs are a common container for shipping beer near and far from alcohol retailers. They’re excellent for shipping but not so great for convenience.

Beer is a fickle and frothy liquor that comes in various serving forms. Therefore, it’s only natural that packaging strategies should be tailored to the specific freight. When transporting beer, there are four primary considerations to keep in mind:

  • Time: Because beer has an expiry date, ensuring the shipment arrives on time is critical. If feasible, choose an express delivery service to ensure the beer arrives as quickly as possible.
  • Air: Those bottles or cans should be airtight to remain fresh. Ensure the beer is packed in a cool place and protected with padding to keep undesired air out of the storage.
  • Heat: Similarly, beer does not do well in hot situations. A few things may deteriorate beer more quickly than keeping it at high temperatures. Store beer at a temperature of roughly 40 degrees to retain palatability.
  • Light: Storing beer away from light is essential for beverages that highlight hoppiness. Beer should be kept in a dark place so that it stays fresh and keeps its flavor.

Packaging Wine for Shipping

Like beer, wine has its own set of requirements for successful shipping. Because wine drinkers have a far more refined palate, maintaining the wine’s purity and integrity throughout the transportation process is essential.

Wine is one of the most widely transported spirits, with many winemakers able to ship straight to consumers in places where wine deliveries are permitted. The following are some general guidelines for exporting wine:

  • Limit empty space: Unlike beer, shipping wine in any container other than bottles is uncommon. Use cushioning and protective packaging materials like cardboard dividers and bubble wrap to secure bottles.
  • Understand the Product: Take notice of how individual wines should be handled since some blends should be stored upright while others should be put on their side.
  • Optional Custom Packing: Consider special wine boxes, which make filling space within the container easier and are built for storage.
  • Label Properly:  Wine shipment requires proper labeling to reflect the alcoholic nature of its contents, but it’s also a smart idea to specify that the items are extremely delicate. This will help when the wine is handled by shipping staff along the journey.

Packaging Spirits for Shipping

The container needs for spirits, like beer and wine, will be largely determined by how the liquor is stored. Wine is a particularly difficult beverage to transport since even minor disruptions in transit might impair the tailored taste or ruin the product entirely. Although liquor bottles are significantly thicker than wine or beer bottles, they are nonetheless susceptible to fracture if not properly prepared. The following are some general guidelines for shipping spirits:

  • Prevent Glass from Clanking: The most common way for bottles to break during delivery is when they collide. Using cardboard dividers and sufficient padding to prevent shuffling is a must when transporting liquor bottles. During shipping, packages will inevitably stack on top of each other. Shrinkwrap pallets to keep boxes from moving around.
  • Consider insurance: Since liquor is far more expensive than wine or beer, ensuring your cargo is insured is critical for dealing with unforeseen problems. When shipping spirits, it’s always best to be safe than sorry.

What Are the Options and Courier-Specific Guidelines for Shipping Alcohol?

pack alcohol for shipping

USPS, FedEx, UPS, and DHL are the four main shipping firms typically utilized by merchants shipping alcohol. There are a few factors that all couriers that handle alcohol shipments have in common.

First, you must specify that the package contains alcohol, resulting in a delivery surcharge. Normally, an adult over 21 must consent to the delivery. Apart from these few rules, carriers will differ in several ways.


While UPS still does not deliver directly to consumers, they can easily move alcohol between retailers with the right authorization. According to UPS’s alcohol delivery guidelines, the vendor must:

  • The UPS Approved Spirit Shippers Agreement must be signed. 
  • The UPS Approved Spirit Shippers Agreement must be signed.
  • You must submit all appropriate state licenses for shipping alcohol.
  • You pack your bottles according to UPS standards for shipping liquor.
  • For delivery confirmation, an adult at least 21 years old must sign.
  • All packages must include a specific alcoholic beverage shipping label for domestic shipments.


FedEx’s criteria for transporting alcohol are very similar to UPS’s, but certain differences make it a FedEx-specific experience. The supplier must comply with the following FedEx alcohol shipment requirements:

  • Have an active FedEx account.
  • Customer support can connect you with a FedEx account executive.
  • Sign a FedEx alcohol shipping contract.
  • Use a digital shipping solution, such as FedEx Ship Manager® or a third-party system approved by FedEx.
  • All alcohol packages must be identified by tapping “alcohol” in the shipping software.
  • All FedEx alcohol packing standards must be followed.
  • Alcohol shipping labels are required for any shipments containing alcohol.
  • An approved adult signature must be provided upon delivery for all alcohol packages.


DHL is a shipping company that focuses on international deliveries. The following are the conditions for transporting alcohol via DHL:

  • DHL’s Agreement to Ship Alcoholic Beverages must be signed.
  • All FDA and TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) standards and regulations must be followed.
  • You must supply DHL with all applicable state or global alcohol permits for shipping.
  • To receive appropriate shipments, import clients must have the necessary licenses and licenses.

What is the Cost of Shipping Alcohol?

Although various factors impact the cost of shipping, the average cost for shipping a box of alcoholic drinks from coast to coast is $40-$60 in the US. 

Shipping costs can increase based on the location of the recipient. You’ll spend more when you’re shipping to a consumer at home. At the same time, the package’s overall weight, the box’s size, and available discounts are other factors that affect the shipping cost. 

Our article on the Cost of Shipping a Package is all you need to calculate the actual cost of your alcoholic shipment.

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