How to ship alcohol: Regulations and requirements

How to ship alcohol: Regulations and requirements

Find out who is authorized to ship wine, beer, and spirits with FedEx as well as other details and requirements. 

Find out who is authorized to ship wine, beer, and spirits with FedEx as well as other details and requirements. 

Who can ship alcohol, and what services can be used?

Who can ship alcohol and what services can be used?

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  • Individuals (consumers) cannot ship alcohol via FedEx.

Individuals (consumers) cannot ship alcohol via FedEx.

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  • Businesses that hold appropriate alcohol licenses (licensees) and are enrolled in the FedEx alcohol shipping program may ship to their customers in select states or countries.

Businesses that hold appropriate alcohol licenses (licensees) and are enrolled in the FedEx alcohol shipping program may ship to their customers in select states or countries.

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Some states have strict regulations for shipping wine to consumers, and some don’t allow it. Refer to the Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping State Reference Guide for a list of states and their direct-shipping policies.

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FedEx Express®, FedEx Ground®, or FedEx Home Delivery® services can be used by licensees who are enrolled in the FedEx alcohol shipping program.

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  • FedEx Freight® services can be used only when both the shipper and recipient are licensed wholesalers, dealers, distributors, manufacturers, or importers.

FedEx Freight® services can be used only when both the shipper and recipient are licensed wholesalers, dealers, distributors, manufacturers, or importers.

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Use our Wine Shipping Flowchart to make sure your shipments comply with any applicable alcohol shipping laws and are acceptable for shipping through our network. An adult signature is required for final delivery. To help ensure an adult is available to sign for an alcohol shipment, you can offer your customers convenient alternative delivery options, such as hold at location. 


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Have questions?

Contact your FedEx account executive. If you don't have one, schedule a time to talk with one of our alcohol shipping experts. 

Have questions?

Contact your FedEx account executive. If you don't have one, schedule a time
to talk
with one of our alcohol shipping experts. 

Licensing requirements for shipping alcohol

 

Licensing requirements for shipping alcohol

Only FedEx-approved, licensed alcohol shippers who’ve entered into a FedEx Alcohol Shipping Agreement may ship alcohol via FedEx® services. Consumers may not ship alcohol of any type via FedEx services. Learn how you can become an approved alcohol shipper with FedEx

Use the information below to learn about alcohol shipping requirements and features of services for shipping domestically or internationally.

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U.S. alcohol shipping requirements

Licensee-to-licensee

The shipper must be a FedEx-approved alcohol shipper; the recipient must be a business entity that holds appropriate alcohol licenses, and the shipment must otherwise comply with applicable laws. 

Shipments can move via FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, or FedEx Home Delivery services.


Licensee-to-consumer

FedEx only transports wine licensee-to-consumer. 

Direct-to-consumer wine shipments are limited to the destination states outlined in the Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping State Reference Guide and must otherwise comply with applicable law. The guide doesn’t apply to licensee-to-licensee shipments.

Following are explanations of some of the terms used to describe different transactions when shipping wine to consumers:

  • Intrastate: Wine shipping that originates and terminates in the same state.
  • Interstate: Wine shipping that originates in one state and terminates in a different state.
  • On-site: A wine shipment purchased in person by a consumer at a winery or tasting room that is then shipped to the consumer’s home state.

Licensee or consumer designation in FedEx automation

Shippers are required to use updated versions of FedEx automation for shipments containing alcohol. In doing so, FedEx requires shippers to designate whether an alcohol shipment is intended for a licensee or a consumer.

Shippers should select the licensee designation for alcohol shipments intended for recipients holding a state and/or federal alcohol-related license. Shippers may also use this designation for the shipment of alcohol samples to non-licensees at commercial addresses for commercial purposes (e.g., the shipment of alcohol samples to a research facility, design or advertising agency, or media company). All shipments designated as licensee shipments must comply with all applicable laws and regulations. No shipments designated as licensee shipments may be destined for a residential address, including locations where a business is operated out of a home. All shipments designated as licensee shipments must comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

Shippers should select the consumer designation for wine shipped directly to an individual consumer for personal consumption regardless of whether the shipment is destined for a residential or commercial address. All shipments designated as consumer shipments must comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

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International alcohol shipping requirements

International alcohol shipments are permitted to be shipped only via FedEx Express services. FedEx International Ground® service may never be used for international alcohol shipments.

Licensee-to-licensee

Both the importer and exporter must be licensed entities. For U.S. import shipments, the shipper must hold a license from the country/territory of origin issued in accordance with that country or territory’s laws and regulations. For all international licensee-to-licensee shipments, it’s the shipper’s responsibility to know and comply with all applicable laws and regulations of both the exporting and importing countries or territories.


Licensee-to-consumer

For all international licensee-to-consumer shipments, it's the shipper's responsibility to know and comply with all applicable laws and regulations of both the exporting and importing countries or territories.

FedEx transports only wine from licensee-to-consumer internationally. Such shipments are permitted only via FedEx Express services and only to countries or territories listed here.

Australia

Austria

Belgium

Bulgaria

Canada2

Cyprus

Czech Republic

England (U.K.)

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hong Kong SAR, China

Hungary

Ireland, Northern (U.K.)

Italy

Japan

Liechtenstein

Luxembourg

Macau SAR, China

Malta

Monaco

New Zealand

Philippines

Portugal

Romania

Scotland (U.K.)

Singapore

Slovenia

Slovakia

South Africa

Switzerland

The Netherlands

Thailand

Wales (U.K.)

Australia

Austria

Belgium

Bulgaria

Canada2

Cyprus

Czech Republic

England (U.K.)

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hong Kong SAR, China

Hungary

Ireland, Northern (U.K.)

Italy

Japan

Liechtenstein

Luxembourg

Macau SAR, China

Malta

Monaco

New Zealand

Philippines

Portugal

Romania

Scotland (U.K.)

Singapore

Slovenia

Slovakia

South Africa

Switzerland

The Netherlands

Thailand

Wales (U.K.)


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FedEx Express also delivers licensee-to-licensee shipments in these and additional countries/territories. To determine if licensee-to-licensee shipping is available in a country/territory not listed here, please call 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339.

For U.S. import shipments, FedEx does not require the shipper to be a FedEx-approved alcohol shipper. For information related to what permit or license the recipient located in the U.S. is required to hold:

For U.S. export shipments, FedEx requires the shipper to be a FedEx-approved alcohol shipper. For information related to what permit or license the shipper located in the U.S. is required to hold:

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Wine Shipping Country Documentation Requirements guide

Documentation requirements for shipping alcohol internationally vary by country. Find out where you can ship and what forms you need.

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Customs clearance for wine shipments

To help facilitate the customs clearance of your wine shipments, you’ll need a commercial invoice with the details of your shipment clearly and specifically indicated.

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How to become an authorized alcohol shipper with FedEx

 

 

How to become an authorized alcohol shipper with FedEx

To ship alcohol via the FedEx network in the U.S. or internationally, you must be approved by FedEx, sign an agreement, and comply with all alcohol shipping requirements.

Follow the steps below to get started:

Step 1

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Step 1

Have a valid FedEx account number.

If you don’t have one, please create an account.


Step 2

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Step 2

Contact your FedEx account executive.

They will assist you with the authorization process. If you don't have one, schedule a time to chat with one of our alcohol shipping experts.


Step 3

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Step 3

Sign the alcohol shipping agreement(s).

For all alcohol shipments, you’ll need to sign a FedEx Alcohol Shipping Agreement. Contact your FedEx account executive for details and assistance. If you don't have one, set up a time to talk with one of our alcohol shipping experts.


Step 4

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Step 4

Review and comply with the following shipping requirements:

  • Use of an electronic shipping solution. For U.S. alcohol shipments, you must create your shipping label using an up-to-date FedEx Ship Manager® electronic shipping solution or a FedEx-approved third-party system. Airbills are not permitted. You must identify all alcohol shipments by selecting the alcohol check box on your shipping software. For international alcohol shipments, you may use the FedEx® International Air Waybill, but use of a FedEx Ship Manager solution is encouraged.
     
  • Packaging requirements. Your shipment must meet FedEx alcohol packaging requirements. FedEx accepts inner packaging of molded polystyrene as preferred packaging. Pulp dividers and die-cut corrugated units are also acceptable packaging. Sturdy outer corrugated cartons are required. Get more information and tips for packaging alcohol.
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If our packaging guidelines don’t include your type of packaging, you can submit it to FedEx Packaging Services for analysis. They offer a variety of design, testing, and engineering information services that can improve your packaging strategies and save you money. There’s no charge to FedEx customers. You can also contact FedEx Packaging Services at 1.800.633.7019.

  • Adult signature service option. State law, as well as FedEx policy, requires an adult signature at the time of delivery for every U.S. package containing alcohol. It’s your responsibility to ensure the adult signature requirement service option is selected so that FedEx requests and obtains the required adult signature. A $5.75 fee per shipment applies for this service.

    If no eligible adult is available at the original address to sign for an alcohol shipment, you can initiate a request for a reroute to an alternate delivery address simply by calling FedEx Customer Service at 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339. For U.S. shipments, the shipment reroute option for an alcohol package is available via FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, and FedEx Home Delivery services. For international shipments, the shipment reroute option for an alcohol package is available in the U.S. via FedEx Express only. The alternate address must be in the same state as the original delivery address. A fee applies for this service and will appear as an address correction/reroute on your invoice. For details, refer to the Fees and Other Shipping Information section of the FedEx Service Guide. To avoid delays and inconveniences resulting from no adult available to sign for an alcohol shipment, you can offer your customers alternate delivery options, such as hold at location. 

  • Alcohol shipping label. Every alcohol shipment in the U.S. or originating in the U.S. is required to have a label identifying it as such. FedEx supplies these alcohol shipping labels. For shipments to approved U.S. states, please use the FedEx Alcohol Shipping Label (SEL 169). For shipments from the U.S. to destinations outside the U.S., please use the FedEx International Alcohol Shipping Label (SEL 170). Your FedEx account executive can order the labels on your behalf.
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Non-deliverable alcohol shipments

Shipments will not be delivered under the following circumstances:

  • If a shipment does not comply with all FedEx requirements and applicable federal, state, and local laws, FedEx reserves the right to refuse tender of the shipment, withhold the shipment from delivery, return the shipment to the shipper at the shipper’s expense, or destroy it, at the sole discretion of FedEx.
     
  • The recipient is not 21 years of age or older or does not have an acceptable form of ID such as a driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate for shipments within the U.S. For shipments to destinations outside the U.S., the recipient must be of the legal age required to purchase and/or receive alcohol in the respective destination country/territory.
     
  • The recipient shows signs of intoxication.
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Returning alcohol shipments (licensee-to-consumer)

 

Returning alcohol shipments (licensee-to-consumer)

Because FedEx policy allows only approved licensees to ship alcohol, individual consumers who receive a wine shipment are prohibited from returning such a shipment, except under the conditions listed below. If prohibited shipments are inadvertently accepted, customers are responsible for return shipping costs.

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U.S. shipments

  • Available only to licensed customers enrolled in the FedEx alcohol shipping program.
  • The return must be initiated by the original shipper.
  • The returned goods must be in the original packaging (packaging and labeling that are already in compliance with FedEx policy).
  • Available services are FedEx Print Return Label and FedEx Email Return Label only.
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International shipments

  • Available only to licensed customers enrolled in the FedEx alcohol shipping program.
  • The return must be initiated by the original shipper.
  • The returned goods must be in the original packaging (packaging and labeling that are already in compliance with FedEx policy).
  • The recipient, located in the U.S., is required to hold the permits noted in the licensing requirements section.
  • A brokerage setup process is required.
  • The original shipper will be held responsible for all duties and taxes incurred with both the original shipment and the return, where applicable.
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Need tools and resources for alcohol shipping?

Get helpful info about:

  • How to pack and ship alcohol
  • Alcohol shipping services
  • Tools for international alcohol shipping
  • Discounts for wine shipping
  • Tech to help you keep alcohol shipments compliant
  • FAQs about alcohol packaging and shipping
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If you don't have an assigned account executive, set up a time to chat with one of our alcohol shipping experts.

If you don't have an assigned account executive, schedule a time to chat with one
of our alcohol shipping experts.

 

FAQs about alcohol shipping requirements and regulations

FAQs about alcohol shipping requirements and regulations

How do I ship alcohol?

First, make sure you’re eligible. To ship through our network, you must be a licensed alcohol shipper who has entered into an alcohol shipping agreement with FedEx. You must also comply with all labeling, packaging, and returns requirements. Read more about our authorization process for shipping alcohol in the U.S. and to other nations or territories.

Am I eligible to ship alcohol?

If you’re a business that holds appropriate alcohol licenses (licensee), you could be eligible. Individuals who aren’t licensed alcohol shippers are prohibited from shipping alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, liquor, or champagne, through our network. Get more details about who can ship alcohol.

How do I ship alcohol as a gift to friends or family?

As an individual, you may not ship alcohol, including wine, beer, liquor, or champagne, through the FedEx network. If you’d like to send alcohol as a gift to a friend or family member, you’ll need to have it shipped from the licensed retailer or winery you purchased it from.

What is an alcohol shipping agreement?

To ship alcohol through the FedEx network, you have to be entered into a FedEx Alcohol Shipping Agreement. Contact your FedEx account executive for details and assistance. If you don't have one, schedule a call with one of our alcohol shipping experts.

How do I become an approved alcohol shipper with FedEx?

To ship through our network, you must be a licensed alcohol shipper who has entered into an alcohol shipping agreement with us. To start the authorization process, reach out to your FedEx account executive. If you don't have one, set up a call with one of our alcohol shipping experts.

Can I use a regular shipping label for shipping alcohol?

There are special requirements for labeling alcohol shipments:

  • For U.S. alcohol shipments, you must create your shipping label using an up-to-date FedEx Ship Manager electronic shipping solution or a FedEx-approved third-party system. Airbills are not permitted. You must identify all alcohol shipments by selecting the alcohol check box on your shipping software. For international alcohol shipments, you may use the FedEx International Air Waybill, but use of a FedEx Ship Manager solution is encouraged.
  • Every alcohol shipment in the U.S. or originating in the U.S. is required to have a label identifying it as such. FedEx supplies these alcohol shipping labels. For shipments to approved U.S. states, please use the FedEx Alcohol Shipping Label (SEL 169). For shipments from the U.S. to destinations outside the U.S., please use the FedEx International Alcohol Shipping Label (SEL 170). Your FedEx account executive can order the labels on your behalf.

1This clarification is not legal advice. FedEx never advises Customers on legal issues concerning the shipment of alcoholic beverages. Per the terms of the FedEx Alcohol Shipping Agreement, Customers shall not tender any wine or alcohol shipment to FedEx that does not comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Customers with legal questions should contact their appropriate legal counsel or the appropriate governmental alcoholic beverage regulator.

2Includes the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec only.