Can You Mail Alcohol UPS? (All You Need to Know)

When you’re looking for an easy, crowd-pleasing gift for a friend or loved one, wine or another alcoholic beverage is almost always a winner.

But can you gift alcohol to a friend long-distance using UPS, and what do you need to know about the process? If you’d like to find out, keep reading to see what I learned!

Can You Mail Alcohol with UPS In [currentyear]?

You can only mail alcohol with UPS in limited circumstances in [currentyear]. UPS only allows alcohol to be shipped if you have the proper licensing, which means you must be a government-approved, commercial entity that manufactures, distributes, or retails alcohol in order for UPS to ship it. There are also local/state laws that must be considered when shipping alcohol. 

If you’re interested in trying to mail alcohol with UPS, or just want to better understand how shipping alcohol works, be sure to keep reading to learn more!

Is Shipping Alcohol with UPS Illegal?

It is not illegal to ship alcohol with UPS, provided that you meet all of the necessary requirements- unfortunately, however, there are a lot of requirements.

The main requirements for shipping beer, wine, or spirits with UPS are as follows:

  • The shipper must enter the UPS Approved Spirit Shippers Agreement
  • The shipper must provide all required state alcohol licenses to UPS for shipping
  • All shipments must meet UPS packaging requirements for spirits
  • The shipper must ship the package using a signature service that requires the signature of an adult 21 years of age or older upon delivery for confirmation
  • All packages must contain a special alcoholic beverages shipping label for domestic shipments

So, in layman’s terms, you can only legally ship alcohol with UPS if you are a licensed, commercial entity; it is illegal to ship alcohol with UPS as a consumer.

UPS also has additional requirements for shipping alcohol depending on the type of shipment in which your package is categorized.

For wine, there are five types of permissible shipments:

  • Licensed to licensed: where one licensed commercial entity ships alcohol to another licensed commercial entity
  • Direct to consumer- on-site: where wine is purchased at the physical location of the winery by the consumer but is shipped to the consumer’s out-of-state address as long as:
    • The winery holds all required licenses or permits in the destination state
    • The wine was purchased at the physical location of the winery (not by mail, internet, etc.)
    • The winery verified that the purchaser is of legal age to purchase wine
    • The wine is for personal use only and not for resale
    • The winery lists the purchaser as the consignee
  • Direct to consumer- winery direct: where wine is purchased directly from the winery via mail or online order and then is shipped to the consumer’s address
  • Retailer to consumer: where wine is purchased from a retailer, not necessarily a winery, by a consumer whether online, via mail, or in person, and then shipped directly to the consumer’s address

To read more about the additional requirements, you can visit the ‘How To Ship Wine’ page of the UPS website here.

Similar rules apply for shipping liquor or spirits, which you can read more about on this page of the UPS website.

You also have to consider all local and state legislation surrounding the shipment of alcohol when you’re shipping with UPS.

This is because of the 21st Amendment, which was passed shortly after the Prohibition Era ended in the United States to undo the 18th Amendment, which had banned alcohol.

The 21st Amendment made the sale and consumption of alcohol legal again.

However, it put each individual state in charge of all of the laws regarding the production, distribution, and sale of alcohol.

Thankfully though, UPS provides two lists on its website to help you muddle through inter/intra-state alcohol shipments.

One list is for wine and beer, which can be found here, and one is for spirits, which you can access through this link.

Can You Ship Alcohol to a Friend with UPS?

Can You Ship Alcohol to a Friend with UPS?

Alcohol is a great gift for nearly any occasion, whether it’s a nice bottle of wine or someone’s favorite spirit.

For long-distance friends and family, however, gifting alcohol can be quite a bit more difficult.

As you may have guessed from the previous section, there are plenty of hoops to jump through when shipping alcohol in general, especially if you’re planning on shipping across state lines.

While shipping alcohol with UPS is not technically illegal, you can only legally ship alcohol if you have all of the required state and federal licensing.

This means that you need to be a commercial entity that manufactures, retails, or distributes alcohol.

Long story short, it is illegal for a consumer to ship to another consumer.

But, that doesn’t mean there’s no way you can give a long-distance gift of alcohol!

There are plenty of workarounds if you’re set on sending that nice bottle of wine or whiskey.

One way is to order the alcohol directly from the manufacturer and have it shipped to your friend or loved one.

If you choose to ship directly from the winery or distillery, you’ll likely save money that’s added on after the fact by retailers such as liquor stores.

However, you will need to be familiar with all state legislation surrounding the purchase.

Another way you can send that bottle of wine is by using a third-party alcohol e-commerce site, such as Drizly or Minibar.

These sites take care of worrying about legislation, licensing, and all of the other legalities while giving you a wide selection of wine, beer, and spirits to choose from.

Plus, you don’t have to hop between wineries and distilleries since the choices are consolidated for you.

The only downside is that they can get a bit expensive, so be prepared to spend a little more money in exchange for being able to sit back, relax, and enjoy shipping alcohol easily!

To learn more, you can also read our posts on can you drop off UPS at Staples, shipping clothes UPS, UPS statistics, and shipping frozen food UPS.


It is perfectly legal to ship alcohol with UPS, provided you are a licensed alcohol retailer, distributor, or seller abiding by all of UPS’ listed regulations, as well as all state legislation.

It is illegal to use UPS to ship alcohol as a private citizen/consumer, and this act can be treated as a felony in some states. You can still ship alcohol to a friend as a gift, however, provided you are in accordance with state legislation.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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