How To Import Alcoholic Beverages Into the US
Your how-to guide on wine, beer, and spirit imports into the US
When importing craft beer, wine, distilled spirits, cider, whiskey, malt beverages and other hard liquors into the US, you must know what government parties are involved, what regulations must be followed, and the fundamental aspects of alcoholic beverage imports.
- You will be acting as the Importer of Record. Therefore, you are the party ultimately responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the import declaration, as well as the payment of applicable duties and taxes into the US.
- Duty and tax must be paid upon importation into the US.
- The rate of duty is determined by the tariff of the commodity being imported, the value of the goods and, the origin of the goods.
- Certain import documentation is required to be presented to the border services officer at the port of entry.
- Your import may be subject to a customs review, inspection or audit prior to, at the time of, or after the importation. Additional fees may be levied by the US Government for these services.
- You are required to keep your import records for five years following the date of import and can be audited by Customs at any point during this time.
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FAQ: Alcohol Imports
- One liter of alcohol can be brought into the US duty-free by travelers who are at least 21 years of age.
- Additional quantities can be entered, however, will be subject to duty and federal excise taxes collected at the port of entry.
- It is illegal for travelers under the age of 21 to import alcohol even as a gift.
- There is no federal limit to the amount of alcohol you can bring in with you; however, large quantities may signal to CBP and the TTB that you are importing for commercial purposes.
- Each state governs the regulation (including state excise taxes) of alcohol brought into their state, and maybe more restrictive than federal regulations.
Click here for the directory of contact information and websites by State.
Importers who wish to import alcohol for commercial purposes must have a Basic Permit to Import as well as Certificates of Label Approval (COLA). Alcohol is subject to Federal Excise Tax, which is collected at the time of import. You may qualify for a reduced excise tax under the Craft Beverage Modernization Act (CBMA). Alcohol is also subject to state excise taxes and regulations that differ from state to state. You will need to ensure that you understand the tax reporting and payment responsibilities specific to the state into which the alcohol will be imported.
Click here for the directory of contact information and websites by state.
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- Must not have been convicted of a felony under federal or state law within five years from the date of application, nor have been convicted of a misdemeanor under any federal law relating to liquor including taxation within three years.
- Must be able to demonstrate through business experience, financial standing or trade connections that they are likely to commence operations as an importer within a reasonable period and to maintain such operations in conformity with federal law; and
- Must intend to conduct your importations in compliance with the law of the state in which they are to be conducted.