Some people will never truly know how refreshing it is to have a Labatt Blue, an Ellicottville Brewing beer, or Loganberry wine. Those who don’t live in Western New York are really missing out on the local alcoholic beverages, and you may be wondering if you can send WNY-native alcohol in the mail to the out-of-staters.

I moved to Buffalo almost 3 years ago, but my family, including my younger brother, are still residents of the state of Indiana.

My brother recently turned 21, and I thought the perfect gift for him would be…receiving some of Western New York’s favorite alcoholic beverages in the mail.

But is it legal to send alcohol in the mail from New York State?

I have bad news and good news for you.

The bad news is that the United States Postal Service (USPS) prohibits sending alcoholic beverages through the mail, but the good news is that you can ship alcohol via couriers, like FedEx or UPS if you’re a licensed alcohol shipper. Basically, that means it must be directly shipped from a winery or other alcohol manufacturers. 

Turns out, it’s actually rather complicated to ship liquor in the United States.

While you could ship alcohol with FedEx or UPS, both companies have strict procedures when doing so. Both require you to enter into an official Alcohol Shipping Agreement to use their services. Depending on what kind of alcohol you are shipping, whether it be wine, beer, or liquor, there may be different shipping agreements required. 

Whatever shipping carrier you decide to use, you must tell them that the package contains alcohol, pay an alcohol package fee, and get an adult signature for the package.

However, there are a handful of restrictions on “retailer to consumer” shipments, including which U.S. states you’re allowed to send those consumer shipments.

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When You Ship Alcohol Between States…

You will need to comply with not only the alcohol shipping laws for the state you are shipping from, but you also have to comply with the shipping laws for the state you are shipping to, which as you might imagine is very complicated. 

One thing you should remember is not all U.S. states allow the direct shipment of alcohol to consumers.

The states that prohibit this include:

  • Alabama
  • Utah
  • Oklahoma 
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi

States that do not allow alcohol to be delivered are:

  • Delaware
  • Rhode Island

It sounds confusing, I know, but you should be aware of the loophole when shipping alcohol between states.

The Loophole

There is a loophole that helps people ship beer, liquor, and wine to other states – if that other state allows alcohol to be shipped to consumers. Instead of shipping a bottle from New York state to another state, you can simply find a retailer based in the state you are shipping to and order it from that retailer. That way the retailer won’t need to cross state lines and it will only need to meet the rules of their state’s alcohol regulation board.

So…Can You Ship Alcohol As A Gift?
Technically, yes. If you are an individual looking to send wine or beer as a gift, you’ll need to do this through an approved retailer with a license to ship alcohol on your behalf.

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