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I have recently tried to ship spirits and have really hit a brick wall.  Ups says they won't ship even from dealer to dealer.  FedEx says they will but after numerous calls I have not found anyone who can say how to do it.  

How do you ship to contests or other state liquor boards?

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You have to work with your assigned commercial FedEx agent for your account, and have them apply for alcohol shipping capability. They will need to have you set up for pick up at the distillery, and you will need to provide copies of your DSP, etc., to verify you are licensed for alcohol production. It took me a couple months, I had to keep querying status.

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Bluestar is absolutely correct. It took us several months to work through the red tape with Fedex but it all starts with your local client rep.

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Fed Ex guidance: Once you have the alcohol agreement, don't ship to anyone other than a wholesaler or a competition. Fed Ex can, and will, conduct an audit of your shipments and ask you to explain them. Also, if you ship via Fed Ex without the alcohol agreement in place, they will deny any damage claims.

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Jedd - if you can legally ship to consumers (and track that) why not ship to them? Can you explain the only to wholesaler and competition comment?

To the comments above, FedEx is not that bad you just need to be persistent and push via email to get frequent updates on your application status. How I kickstarted this has I created a business account with them and fired off an email to the business desk asking that I want to ship alcohol.

Then a long email chain that lasted about a month and a half to get this approved.

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In PA we are permitted to ship directly to consumers in the state.

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The standard FedEx alcohol shipping contract does not allow for shipments to consumers. At least it didn't when I first signed it several years ago. 

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I finally got some where with fedex after weeks of calling and they do not ship spirits straight to consumer.  Only license to license.  

They will ship wine to consumers.  

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1 hour ago, bluefish_dist said:

I finally got some where with fedex after weeks of calling and they do not ship spirits straight to consumer

I get booze from FedEx all the time. Mostly from Master of Malt but also from other vendors.

 

 

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Addendum:  Perhaps they don't ship from producers but they certainly ship from retailers

 

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6 hours ago, iliasm said:

Jedd - if you can legally ship to consumers (and track that) why not ship to them? Can you explain the only to wholesaler and competition comment?

To the comments above, FedEx is not that bad you just need to be persistent and push via email to get frequent updates on your application status. How I kickstarted this has I created a business account with them and fired off an email to the business desk asking that I want to ship alcohol.

Then a long email chain that lasted about a month and a half to get this approved.

YMMV. I burned through 3 account reps and 4-5 months to get it done the FIRST time. Then it "disappeared" due to a period of inactivity, and I had to get it reinstated (which I was able to do in a few weeks).

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9 hours ago, iliasm said:

Jedd - if you can legally ship to consumers (and track that) why not ship to them? Can you explain the only to wholesaler and competition comment?

 

6 hours ago, Rum said:

The standard FedEx alcohol shipping contract does not allow for shipments to consumers. At least it didn't when I first signed it several years ago. 

Exactly. This is what the Fed Ex contract says.

Also bear in mind that different laws may apply on a state-by-state basis for manufacturers vs. retailers. Type of alcohol also matters: in general, wine shipments are allowed in some states where spirits shipments are not. You may also be liable for excise tax payments on such shipments. Federal law may also come into play. There may be other (unknown) legal issues as well, all of which vary by state.

Here is what a TTB agent told me: if you ship across state lines and you break the law, your permit is at risk. So there's that, in addition to 50 different sets of state laws and the Fed Ex contract.

Bottom line for me is that I prefer to refer customers to our retail partners who ship and thus offload the risk.

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The TTB agent provided correct information.  The agent should have given a source, and you should ask for one when you receive advice like this.  Then you can verify and see for yourself what lies behind it.  TTB explains its position in Revenue ruling 2001-1.  You can read the whole of it at:

https://ttb.gov/rulings/2000-1.ht

Here is what it held.

  • Held: The Webb-Kenyon Act is a law relating to the enforcement of the Twenty-first Amendment and is a condition of the basic permit under 27 U.S.C. § 204(d) for violations of which ATF may suspend or revoke the basic permit.
  • Held Further: Under these provisions of law, ATF could under appropriate circumstances take administrative action against a basic permit where a basic permittee ships alcoholic beverages into a State in violation of the laws of that State. ATF will intervene when it is determined that there is a continuing, material, adverse impact upon a State through the actions of a basic permittee located outside the boundaries of the affected State. However, while ATF is vested with authority to regulate interstate commerce in alcoholic beverages pursuant to the FAA Act, the extent of this authority does not extend to situations where an out-of-State retailer is making the shipment into the State of the consumer.

Note that TTB does not have jurisdiction to action against a retailer.  States can.  And against carriers as well.  FedEx and other carriers do not need that grief.  Neither do you.  Wineries fought long and hard to get reciprocity agreements in place.  The state wine associations and others pushed.  It was not something that happened overnight.

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2 hours ago, dhdunbar said:

The agent should have given a source

The agent did mention FAA (Federal Alcohol Act) as the relevant law but didn't mention a specific section.

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Yes, I made the comment only because when someone tells you something,  you should not take their word for it.   Okay, sometimes you should, because you don't need a source if a TTB officer tells you you are required to put serial numbers on your cases or your gauge records must be serially numbered - everyone knows that, right :-).  But when we get to talking about things that can result in material violations, getting them to cite a source avoids off-the-cuff and perhaps ill considered answers that can either (1) prevent you from doing something you may do, or (2) convince you to do something that you may not do.  My advice to clients is always, don't trust any answer, even mine, without a citation of the source on which I am relying.  I expect clients to challenge me with the question, "How did you reach that conclusion?"  I don't take it as an insult.  I take it as an exercise of due diligence :-).    

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I'm navigating the same thing with FedEx. PITA. Like a lot of people I didn't know how lengthy the process was to get it done. Luckily I have a friend who has an alcohol shipping license that was willing to ship out some of my samples to competitions until my account gets activated.

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