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Competitions - shipping samples


ny_spirits

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How do others go about submitting samples to competitions - especially those that are out of state? Is this permitted by the ttb? Is it simply ignored? Would love to get into these, but we don't want to get in trouble with the ttb.

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How do others go about submitting samples to competitions - especially those that are out of state? Is this permitted by the ttb? Is it simply ignored? Would love to get into these, but we don't want to get in trouble with the ttb.

Not sure the TTB even addresses this in the regs- but my understanding is that as distillers we're perfectly in our right to ship samples. In fact as you'll find with some spirits you're required to ship samples to the TTB for lab analysis.

The bigger problem is getting carriers to handle spirits- The Postal Service will not ship liquids and I believe UPS has the same policy. Fedex will but I believe you have to register with them that you will be shipping alcohol in advance. I've typically sent it well packed and unmarked through UPS. We're currently trying to get setup with Fedex for shipping spirits.

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We ship through FedEx - its the only option we've found thus far for shipping spirits. It is a bit of a pain to get set up to ship spirits with them - you just have to find your way to the unit that handles alcohol shipments. They generate a form contract that you sign, and then they give you alcohol shipping labels, etc. and walk you through the specific process to send an alcohol shipment with them. Part of the contract is that you're certifying you'll only ship to lawful recipients.

I agree with Guy, the rules aren't entirely clear, but it seems reasonable to ship a sample for competition/review. I just take care to ensure we're marking it as alcohol, and requiring an adult signature, so we're complying with those rules. I think its a bit dangerous to ship spirits in an unmarked box with any of the shipping companies (USPS, UPS, DHL, whoever), but I know it happens out there from time to time.

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We also use Federal Express, thet require a signature on each end of the shippment by someone older than 21 years of age. Process to set up is a bit of a pain but easy to ship once everything is in place.

Kent

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RE: finding the Fedex department that understands alcohol - that's probably the best thing my WineAmerica membership has been good for. One of the services is easy access to the Fedex alcohol shipping program. I've encountered the occassional Fedex/Kinko's drop-off site that tries to refuse accepting the package - but only rarely. Most aren't aware that there _is_ a special shipping program for alcohol and try to stick to the basic rule of 'you can't ship that'

At the state level, most states don't seem to distinguish between a sample sent for analysis, critical review or competition and one sent to Jane Consumer (I think it's the rare state that allows direct shipments of spirits to consumers. If there are any at all.) A few competitions have special arrangements with their LLC/ABC. The Indy International, for instance, provides a label to place on packages with their special permit number.

In general, I think the stray package is mostly overlooked.

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  • 1 month later...
We ship through FedEx - its the only option we've found thus far for shipping spirits. It is a bit of a pain to get set up to ship spirits with them - you just have to find your way to the unit that handles alcohol shipments. They generate a form contract that you sign, and then they give you alcohol shipping labels, etc. and walk you through the specific process to send an alcohol shipment with them. Part of the contract is that you're certifying you'll only ship to lawful recipients.

I think its a bit dangerous to ship spirits in an unmarked box with any of the shipping companies (USPS, UPS, DHL, whoever), but I know it happens out there from time to time.

I've been trying to set up shipping spirits with Fedex for two months! Looks like I'll have to give up and send via unmarked boxes. In mid May I faxed a copy of our state permit, mid June someone called and said what I sent wasn't a permit. After educating them they told me they'd confirm and contact me again. As of July 1st I hadn't heard from them. Called and spoke to three "Customer Advocacy" reps all of whom told me they would get a hold of our sales rep to call me back. July 9th and I still get no response. I've gotten nowhere with this company and frankly haven't experienced this level of incompetence before. I'd love to play by their rules but they won't even let me in the ballpark.

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I'll email you my Fedex guy's name & number, hopefully he can connect you to the right folks (he handles IL, but hopefully can help us get someone in WI). I got that same run around initially, you have to get to the unit within Fedex that handles alcohol shipping. They have a different phone # I think, but sometimes you can get someone to transfer you. The legal dept has a contract you have to sign, then it's pretty simple. The key thing for us was finding someone who knew what we were talking about - not easy over there, unfortunately :blink: .

I've been trying to set up shipping spirits with Fedex for two months! Looks like I'll have to give up and send via unmarked boxes. In mid May I faxed a copy of our state permit, mid June someone called and said what I sent wasn't a permit. After educating them they told me they'd confirm and contact me again. As of July 1st I hadn't heard from them. Called and spoke to three "Customer Advocacy" reps all of whom told me they would get a hold of our sales rep to call me back. July 9th and I still get no response. I've gotten nowhere with this company and frankly haven't experienced this level of incompetence before. I'd love to play by their rules but they won't even let me in the ballpark.
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I'll email you my Fedex guy's name & number, hopefully he can connect you to the right folks (he handles IL, but hopefully can help us get someone in WI). I got that same run around initially, you have to get to the unit within Fedex that handles alcohol shipping. They have a different phone # I think, but sometimes you can get someone to transfer you. The legal dept has a contract you have to sign, then it's pretty simple. The key thing for us was finding someone who knew what we were talking about - not easy over there, unfortunately :blink: .

\

Please post as we have had the same problems. Coop

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Unfortunately the "easier" solution I'd hoped for did not materialize, so I've got nothing to post. I put in some calls and sent along what I found out, but it didn't do any good at all. It appears that Fedex has changed their process for granting the shipping privileges, or at least they are giving Guy a heck of a runaround.

All my guy said was that you need to get to an account executive for the geographic area you're in, and they can contact the right folks. Of course, once you contact them, if they're going to be unreasonable (as is the case with Guy, at least so far), there's not a lot you can do. What a pain!

If I find a better solution, I'll definitely post an update, as I'm sure Guy will do as well if he can find one (fingers crossed).

\

Please post as we have had the same problems. Coop

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Finally a resolution!?!?

If you can't get help from a local rep call 800-gofedex, work your way through the voice robot and ask for a representative. When you get a representative ask to speak to a "customer advocate"- Ours was out of an office in Kansas City.

When you get the customer advocate let them know you're a licensed distillery and what you're trying to do and what fedex has done so far. The good thing is the customer advocate will give you their number and you can keep pestering them until something gets done. The biggest problem we had was getting them to recognize that the piece of paper we got from our state department of revenue was our permit- it had permit number, stated we were an alcohol manufacturer, had the state seal on it but it was not enough- (I think they wanted a pretty hang-on-the-wall certificate). They finally accepted our federal permit as proof.

It took me over two months but I finally got "approved" by fedex and now await the special alcohol labels.

Good luck!

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They send way more labels than I use. I could always drop some by for you :-)

Thanks Charles, I'll wait and see if they can actually get them to us this time- a couple weeks ago I got a call from fedex telling me they had a couple packages for me but didn't know where to forward it. I gave them our address and they said "well that's what's on the package?" turns out someone at fedex saw an article about us moving and rather than attempting to deliver it to our address they just decided on their own to mark it "moved" despite the fact that we won't be moving for two more months... :angry:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Guy- I just read that about how the fed-ex guy read you moved and assumed it was true. It just goes to show how some people should be allowed to make decisions, and others shouldn't be.

I have a weird problem with the USPS. The post office is located on the same street as us only 100 yards away. They won't deliver mail to our physical location, only our po box at the post office. If a package is marked with our street address, but not the po box, they let it sit on a shelf in back and don't even notify us that it is there. They know each of us by name, and even though I also have a personal po box, and my name is on items besides the winery name, I have to ask if there are any packages for me in back. I just asked about something, and they immediately gave it to me, and it had been sitting for weeks. I had picked up packages for both the winery po box and my personal one in that time and no mention at all. Stupidity? Passive aggression? Who knows?!? It's the POST OFFICE!

Thanks Charles, I'll wait and see if they can actually get them to us this time- a couple weeks ago I got a call from fedex telling me they had a couple packages for me but didn't know where to forward it. I gave them our address and they said "well that's what's on the package?" turns out someone at fedex saw an article about us moving and rather than attempting to deliver it to our address they just decided on their own to mark it "moved" despite the fact that we won't be moving for two more months... :angry:
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My situation is similar. They should put a sticker on your "incorrectly" addressed mail saying please notify sender of new address.

If you use your street address, make sure you also put your PO Box on the same line. So my official address is now

144 Delaware Street/PO Box 245

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Yes, that's what we have to do.

My situation is similar. They should put a sticker on your "incorrectly" addressed mail saying please notify sender of new address.

If you use your street address, make sure you also put your PO Box on the same line. So my official address is now

144 Delaware Street/PO Box 245

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