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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.

Parties Involved:

  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)
  • Health UK
  • Customs Broker
  • Carrier

Main Regulations:

  • Commercial importers of alcohol must obtain a Basic Permit to Import and a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA).
  • It’s important to note that all alcohol imports are subject to Federal Excise Tax.

Import Fundamentals:

  • 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, value of the goods, and 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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