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Ship Spirits to California


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Hi all, 

Virginia DSP here, just soft-opened last month so limited product and market exposure. Working on my local market for now, but I have several family members in California who want a case. 

Can anyone advise how I need to go about getting it to them? 

I understand from the California ABC website that I can get a shipping permit for about $65, but can only ship to a licensed importer. All importers that I've seen in CA on google appear to be distributors, which sounds a lot like "I need to find a California Distributor". And from what I've learned about distributor relationships, you don't want to just jump into one unless you've been game planning and researching and fully prepared - which I'm not at this stage, for obvious reasons. 

So. Is there such a thing as a boutique shop that has an importer license in California, which I could just call up and get them to agree to buy a case of spirits (maybe they want to see the PO first? i don't know)...get myself a California shipping permit, and send it on over at wholesale? Or is that a pipe dream?

Thanks in advance!

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@Alcohollery, thanks for the tip!


Do you have any experience/idea of how difficult it is to get a retailer on-board with the platform to place an order? I've got a call scheduled with them today to understand the process (what it takes) for a retailer to get started + place an order (I've gotten myself all squared away in their system as a maker), but I'm curious to see if anyone has had any first-hand experience with reaching out to a retailer on behalf of a customer to introduce them to the process, convince them to give it a try, and ultimately get the product sold + into the consumers hands. 

I could see this being a great idea, but difficult to make happen, so just wondering if it's easier than I think? I imagine that I'd target my family's preferred local shop, introduce myself over the phone + what we're trying to do, and see if they'd be willing to sign up for libdib + make the transaction happen....and I'm imagining a bit of "...ummm...yeah...we'll look into it..." kind of kickback.  

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Allen,  if you are intending to get a foothold in Cali try out libdib.  It's an interesting and innovative (which means it's not all glitters and gold) but a good entry platform.  They are much more flexible than any other distributor but their flexibility may be their limiting factors... i.e. you can hit a few locations but I doubt they'd ever go statewide.  If you're only planning to ship a few cases, understand that it'll be expensive.  You can probably get a flight and pack it in your luggage for the price of a few cases in shipping.  (Hawaii to mainland can often cost ^$75/case).  

Have your family go to their local store and request it be brought in, then call the retailer with a "hey, I've got some inquiries from Cali, can you fill them?  Here's the local rep.."

Happy hunting

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