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Internet Sales?


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#1 Wood's

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 12:01 AM

Hi Gang,

I'm a Newb, working on a new distillery project in CO. In reading through the other threads in this section I noticed that no one addressed the largest distribution channel out there...The Internet!

So a few Questions:
Are there TTB regs against this?
Can a Distiller in a "direct to retail" state sell direct to consumers in another state via the Internet?
Having seen a couple of "Scotch" online sales pages; Is the Internet a viable channel for international sales?

Just interested to know the thinking.

Thanks in advance.

#2 Jedd Haas

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 09:13 AM

If you sell directly on the internet, you are responsible for verifying that every purchaser is over 21; and that you are in compliance with all state and local laws for the ship-to location.

If you ship to a minor, your TTB permits are at risk. On top of that, you may find your insurance company won't permit online sales either, as they don't want to have the increased liability. Our insurance company told us this in advance as a condition of the coverage.

The alternative is to sell to a distributor that does the online sales, as they would assume the liability.

Also, I think that there are a couple threads already that address this topic.

#3 bluestar

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 02:22 PM

Remains a good question. Just learned that our state does not prohibit us from retail mail order via internet to out of state buyers. So it is an issue of what the buyer's state allows. This does seem to be a bit of a hole in the jurisdiction, however. Has anyone every queried the TTB directly on this issue? By the way, I have bought via internet direct retail from a distillery in New Mexico. I don't know how many other distilleries are currently doing so.

#4 PeteB

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 06:26 AM

Internet alcohol sales with delivery via our postal system is a big and legal business in Australia.

The postmistress in our little country post office can hardly move behind her counter sometimes because of all the boxes of wine.

#5 Jedd Haas

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:20 AM

Has anyone every queried the TTB directly on this issue?


Yes. As mentioned above, if you sell to a minor, your TTB permits are at risk. The source of this information is my local TTB investigator.

#6 bluestar

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:20 PM

Yes. As mentioned above, if you sell to a minor, your TTB permits are at risk. The source of this information is my local TTB investigator.

Yup. That is why you have to deliver using Fed Ex, who warrant they will deliver only upon adult signature. And you have to get declarations that the purchaser is an adult. Your bigger problem selling to a minor would be with your state retail permit, I would guess. And although my state says we can carry out such sales, I am not sure how we are expected to verify age, since live retail sales require checking photo ID. But I take your point is that you can shift that risk to another retailer if you wholesale to them. Agreed.

#7 Jedd Haas

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:28 PM

For each state that you might ship to, it appears that you need a "wine shipper permit" allowing direct shipment to consumers, or the equivalent for spirits. This is different from the permit you'd need to sell to a wholesaler. If you check some of the big online spirits sales sites, you'll see that most of them ship to around 40 states, as some states are apparently too much trouble.

#8 bluestar

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:48 AM

It would be great (but I can see maybe why not) if any of the distillers who read/post here that have actually set up to do internet sales would comment on what is required.

#9 chinookpilot77

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 07:34 PM

It would be great (but I can see maybe why not) if any of the distillers who read/post here that have actually set up to do internet sales would comment on what is required.


BlueStar, when you refer to your state, are you talking IL or MI? Thank you!

#10 bluestar

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 05:18 AM

BlueStar, when you refer to your state, are you talking IL or MI? Thank you!

Illinois

#11 Hpious

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:13 AM

Hey Folks,

I think it's a good question to ask your distributor. Usually they have a way of dealing with this. In IL Binny's does a large online ship business that they hold all the liability for. I am aware of several other states that also have a vendor like this. Once you are distributed, it's a good question that your distributor should answer.

So to pre-empt that question from Bluestar :P
You guys should be lit up on Binny's.com next month. Brett Has been very busy with the ADI conference and the like. It is something I will bring to him after Denver.

#12 bluestar

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 09:15 AM

Agreed, especially for products in distribution. But many of the crafts also have limited production items that neither a retailer or a distributor may wish to carry, yet may have a limited, but real, national market. Whether it is worth the trouble to do this yourself or have someone else do it for you is a very good question. As mentioned, many states require a shipper's license, and if your shipments to that state will be limited, the cost of the license may not justify it. Technically, however, for our state, you are not exporting the product. You are providing a shipping service for the retail customer that has effectively "purchased" the item in your retail shop, although remotely. Whether the receiving state will accept that status varies.




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