Maybe you’ve got a local IPA you want to share with your friend across the country. Or maybe you took a trip to a winery and you’re dying to share a bottle with your oenophile aunt. Whatever the reason, you’ve got some alcohol you want to ship and need details about how to do it.
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about FedEx’s alcohol shipping policies. By the time you reach the end, you’ll know whether you’re allowed to ship it, which FedEx services handle alcohol, and how to package bottles so they stay safe during shipping!
Can You Ship Alcohol With FedEx In 2023?
Due to federal shipping regulations, regular consumers are not allowed to ship alcohol through FedEx or any other shipping service in 2023. Only authorized businesses enrolled in FedEx’s Alcohol Shipping Program can send alcohol. To join this program, businesses must have a FedEx account, agree to shipping terms, and label packages appropriately.
There’s a lot more to unpack when it comes to understanding FedEx’s alcohol shipping policy, so make sure to finish this article!
Can You Ship Alcohol With FedEx?
Non-commercial customers are not allowed to ship alcohol through FedEx. This ban includes all types of alcohol, including beer, wine, and liquor.
If you want to send alcohol as a gift, your best option is to purchase it from a licensed retailer or winery that has the necessary permits and can take care of the shipping for you.
Why Can’t You Ship Alcohol Through FedEx?
Restrictions on shipping alcohol go all the way back to the ratification of the 21st Amendment and the end of Prohibition in 1933.
While this Amendment gave Americans their right to buy and consume alcohol back, it also gave individual states a lot of power to manage how alcohol is sold and distributed.
One major stipulation that came out of the 21st Amendment was that regular consumers could not mail alcohol.
This law is still in place to this day and applies not only to the United States Postal Service (USPS) but also to shipping companies like FedEx and UPS.
What Happens If You Get Caught Shipping Alcohol Through FedEx?
If you decide to break the rules when it comes to shipping alcohol through FedEx, be aware that you’re doing so at your own risk.
In most cases, a FedEx employee will simply refuse to put your package in the mail if they suspect that it contains alcohol.
If your package somehow makes it into the mail stream but is discovered later, your box will likely get confiscated and you might receive a written warning if it’s your first violation.
Subsequent violations could be considered Class C misdemeanors and come with fines starting at $500.
Can Businesses Ship Alcohol Through FedEx?
Alcohol businesses, including breweries, wineries, and alcohol retailers, are allowed to ship their libations through FedEx.
That being said, businesses must be enrolled in the FedEx alcohol shipping program to do so.
To gain membership in this program, businesses must create a FedEx account, sign the alcohol shipping agreements, and comply with shipping requirements.
However, even being enrolled in this program isn’t a guarantee that a company’s alcohol shipments will be accepted.
Indeed, the type of business, the person receiving the shipment, and the destination of the shipment all determine whether or not FedEx can accept an alcohol shipment.
That’s because individual states have different rules when it comes to sending and receiving alcohol.
For example, licensed wineries are able to ship wine to most licensed businesses (e.g. stores, restaurants, bars) in most states.
However, Mississippi and Utah have restrictions on this kind of shipment.
To see more state-specific rules, check out FedEx’s Direct to Consumer Wine Shipping State Reference Guide.
Which FedEx Services Allow for Alcohol Shipping?
Authorized alcohol shippers can send their products through FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, or FedEx Home Delivery.
FedEx’s Freight services can only be used for alcohol shipping when both the shipper and the recipients are licensed businesses (e.g. wholesalers, distributors, or importers).
How Do I Package Alcohol for Shipping Through FedEx?
FedEx has a number of requirements when it comes to packaging alcohol for mailing. For example, customers must…
- Use inner packaging that’s made of foam or that has a molded fiber tray
- Package alcohol in the center of the box, away from the sides
- Choose a sturdy box
- Clearly label that the shipment contains alcohol
- Require a signature upon delivery by an adult that is 21 or older
In addition to these basic rules, there are a number of other things businesses can do to make sure their bottles arrive intact after shipping.
- Use insulated boxes or a temperature-controlled shipping process. Keeping alcohol away from extreme temperatures prevents carbonated beverages from leaking or exploding
- Reinforce the bottom of the box with extra tape
- Write “this side up” on the top of the box. This may help the package stay in the correct orientation during shipping
While consumers can ship pretty much anything through FedEx, alcohol is a major exception. Sure, you might not get caught if you sneak a bottle into a care package, but with fines going up to thousands of dollars, is it really worth the risk?
If you’re intent on sending a friend or loved one some tasty beverages, it’s a much better idea to have them shipped directly from a winery or store. These businesses have the necessary permits and shipping know-how to ensure that your gift will arrive safely.