Dispelling the Top 5 DtC Shipping Myths

Lizzy Connolly
August 16, 2022

Direct-to-consumer (DtC) alcohol shipping can at times seem convoluted and increasingly complicated. States continue to evolve their DtC shipping requirements, which can understandably create some confusion over what is and is not allowed. However, working with the right partner can help to clear up some of that confusion.

Here are some of the top misconceptions – and their corresponding truths – surrounding DtC shipping of beverage alcohol.

I can ship DtC anywhere

• Absolutely not. When DtC shipments occur – whether for beer, wine, spirits or cider – those shipping products need to adhere to the rules of the state where the consumer is located and will receive the shipment.

Rules differ by state and by product type. Just because you can ship wine DtC in one state does not mean that you can automatically ship beer to a consumer in the same location.

clipboard with check mark

Is age verification really that critical?

• Yes. It is illegal in every state to sell or provide alcohol to minors, even accidentally. Proper age verification protocols, including obtaining the signature of an adult who is over the age of 21 at the time of delivery, ensure that you stay compliant and show you are a positive member of the beverage alcohol community.

• Every state requires some level of action, whether it’s requiring at-delivery ID checks, collecting recipient signatures or both. Additionally, some states have stricter requirements, such as point-of-sale (POS) age checks. Check the rules of every state in which you want to ship.

sovos shipcompliantAfter I ship, it’s not my problem

• Even after you have shipped a product to the customer, the responsibility is not automatically shifted entirely onto the carrier or to the customer. Your DtC shipping license will be on the line should anything illegal occur (e.g., a minor receiving alcohol, a customer receiving a product in a state that does not allow DtC shipping of that product).

• You must use a compliant delivery service that abides with all licensing and reporting requirements imposed on them by the states. Currently, the USPS is prohibited from delivering alcohol in the country.

I don’t need to worry about sales tax

• You absolutely need to worry about taxes for DtC shipping of beverage alcohol. Know the rules for each state in which you are shipping because that establishes where you must remit sales taxes and which tax rules apply.

• If you are working with a marketplace, do not assume that they will automatically handle applicable sales taxes.

Vendor contracts are never too good to be true

• If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. DtC alcohol shipping often needs the support of third-party services, but it’s essential to ensure that all state laws are being followed.

• Make sure you know how a service works, what a third-party service will and won’t do, and that they understand how laws vary from one state to the next.

• At the end of the day, it’s your name on the bottle and your business that’s at risk. If a state finds your products are being shipped improperly, they’re going to have questions and will not accept “we were told it was fine” as an excuse.

Take Action

Learn more about the DtC shipping process and why compliance is critical. Contact our team and see how Sovos ShipCompliant can help.

Sign up for Email Updates

Stay up to date with the latest tax and compliance updates that may impact your business.


Lizzy Connolly

Share this post

North America ShipCompliant
September 26, 2023
How Can Women-Led Beverage Alcohol Companies Change the Industry?

The beverage alcohol industry might no longer be strictly viewed as a “boys’ club,” but there are a minority of women leading organizations in the space. However, the number of women-led wineries, breweries and distilleries is on the rise, which – as we’ll explain – is likely a very positive thing for the industry. Let’s […]

North America ShipCompliant
September 25, 2023
Potential Government Shutdown Will Affect Beverage Alcohol Industry

Unless Congress is able to pass an appropriations bill in the next few days, the U.S. government is set to shut down all nonessential services effective October 1, 2023. This will include (among many other agencies) the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which will impact the beverage alcohol industry. If the shutdown […]

EMEA VAT & Fiscal Reporting
September 25, 2023
VAT in the Digital Age – Union One Stop Shop (OSS) Expansion

Entering into force on 1 January 2025, the EU Commission’s VAT in the Digital Age (ViDA) proposals have been introduced in an effort to modernize VAT across the EU.  One pillar of ViDA is the “single VAT registration,” which would reduce compliance costs for businesses. The Commission proposes to achieve this by expanding the Union […]

North America Tax Information Reporting
September 25, 2023
Why Conduct a Pilot Season for Tax Information Reporting?

Another tax information reporting season is just around the corner and now is the time to start preparing your teams handling forms such as Series 1099, 1098, 1042-S, 3921, 5498, W-2, W-2G and more. Getting your teams ready and testing your reporting process ahead of January ensures you are set up for a successful season. […]

North America Tax Information Reporting
September 21, 2023
Sovos Education Returns to Orlando with Statutory Accounting CPE

If you didn’t join us in D.C. or San Francisco earlier this year, you won’t want to miss one last opportunity in 2023 to take part in live continuing education. Sovos Education is returning to the Orlando area for a full week of statutory accounting CPE opportunities and we’re hoping to see you there. Sun […]