Whether you are shipping wine from Bordeaux or a single malt whisky from Scotland, UPS can help your product reach its destination.
Effective 22nd June 2009, UPS will offer an enhanced and simplified alcohol shipping programme, which will allow customers to ship a wide variety of alcoholic beverages that contain less than 70% alcohol within their country and across the EU. While a contract is still necessary for frequent shippers in the alcohol industry, eligibility can be determined on the spot and customers can start shipping immediately.
To make it even easier for customers to choose UPS as their reliable carrier of alcohol shipments, we now offer our own certified bottle packaging to safely ship standard-sized 75cl wine bottles. Designed to hold 1, 2, 3, 6 or 12 bottles, the packaging is easy to assemble and can be obtained from UPS for a small fee. Alternatively, customers can have their own packaging certified by UPS to participate in the alcohol shipping programme. Please contact your local UPS call centre or UPS sales representative to order protective UPS packaging or to receive more information on the certification process.
UPS employees are happy to answer your questions and assist you with your alcohol shipping needs. Please find below the key requirements customers need to be aware of and adhere to when shipping alcohol domestically or internationally with UPS.
Alcoholic beverages may be shipped under excise duty paid or duty suspension. They must, however, have an alcohol content of less than 70% and must be stored in containers with a capacity of 5 litres or less.
UPS accepts domestic alcohol shipments in the following countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK. Across borders, alcohol can be shipped between EU member states with the exception of to/from Finland or Sweden and any areas that are not part of the EU customs area or the EU common system of Value Added Tax (VAT).
Please note that alcoholic beverages under duty suspension cannot be shipped within or from Latvia and Malta.
Packaging, labelling and handling
UPS recommends the use of custom-designed UPS packaging, where available and suitable, as described above. Packages containing alcoholic beverages should be clearly indicated as "alcoholic beverages" on the shipping label, waybill or other shipping documentation. Alcoholic beverages should not be included in a shipment containing non-alcoholic products. Furthermore, packages containing alcoholic beverages must be physically separated from others when prepared for collection by UPS.
UPS will only deliver alcoholic beverages to an adult. If you are shipping alcohol to a residential address, please take appropriate steps to enable UPS to identify the package as requiring an adult delivery. For more information on our Adult Signature Required service, please refer to the additional charges section on www.ups.com or the current UPS Service and Tariff Guide.
Any alcohol shipments that cannot be delivered to the consignee after three delivery attempts will be returned to the shipper via UPS's standard procedure. Please refer to the additional charges section on www.ups.com or the current UPS Service and Tariff Guide for more information on the special handling of undeliverable shipments.
Taxation and Customs
Products such as alcohol or tobacco are subject to excise duties in all EU member states. As such, specific documentation or fiscal marks are required to accompany all international shipments and some domestic shipments.
This documentation allows authorities to monitor and ensure the payment of applicable duties. Proper documentation also enables shippers to recover, or in the case of duty-suspended goods, avoid certain duties when shipping internationally. If requested, shippers should provide proof of either payment of excise duty or application of the appropriate suspension regime. Please note that UPS does not automatically obtain the consignee's signature on the excise duty documents, nor does UPS automatically return these documents to the shipper.
Detailed information on the excise duty regime is published by the European Commission and can be found on the following websites:
http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/excise_duties/gen_overview/index_en.htm and http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/l31018.htm
International shipments within the EU require an Accompanying Administrative Document (AAD), a Simplified Accompanying Document (SAD) or an equivalent commercial invoice:
- Shipments including alcoholic beverages under excise duty suspension should be accompanied by an AAD, or, where approved by the applicable authority, a commercial invoice containing the same information.
- Shipments including alcoholic beverages cleared for excise duty should be accompanied by an SAD or a commercial invoice setting out the same information.
The AAD and SAD forms and the instructions for completing them can be downloaded here:
Domestic shipments in the countries listed above typically do not require any special excise documents or fiscal marks, except for the following circumstances:
- Italy and Portugal:
- Shipments including wine need accompanying documentation
- Bottled intermediate products and bottled spirits require fiscal marks.
- France and Spain:
- All alcoholic beverages require fiscal marks
- In Spain, an exemption applies to spirits with an alcohol content of 1.5% or less and a volume of 0.5 litres or less
- United Kingdom:
- Spirits with an alcoholic strength exceeding 35% vol. sold in retail containers of 35cl and above require a fiscal mark.
If your packages are separated and properly labelled as alcoholic beverages at the time of collection, your UPS driver can help you check for the presence of customs documentation at the time of collection. However, it is the shipper's responsibility to ensure the correct documentation accompanies each alcoholic beverage shipment. Shippers are also responsible for the payment of any excise duty and for any penalties or losses that UPS may incur in relation to alcoholic beverages.