How to Label Direct-to-Consumer (DtC)-Shipped Alcohol Boxes

Lizzy Connolly
June 22, 2021

When it comes to direct-to-consumer (DtC)-shipped alcohol boxes, there are requirements from all destination states to label all such boxes to announce that they contain alcohol and must be signed for by someone 21+. This has been the case for DtC wine shipments, and is also true for DtC beer shipments and DtC spirit shipments

What are carrier requirements for DtC shipping labels?

Both FedEx and UPS also have specific requirements for DtC shipping labels. FedEx states the following

  • Alcohol shipping label. Every alcohol shipment is required to have a label identifying it as such. FedEx supplies these labels, referred to as alcohol shipping labels. Your FedEx account executive can order the labels on your behalf. For shipments to approved U.S. states, please use the FedEx Alcohol Shipping Label (SEL 169).

UPS also has specific requirements for shipping wine as described on their website:

  • Delivery Confirmation Adult Signature Required
    All wine shipments must be made using the UPS Delivery Confirmation Adult Signature Required service, requiring the signature of an adult 21 years of age or older upon delivery.
  • Wine Shipping Label Requirement (US Domestic Shipments only)
    All packages containing wine must be labeled by the shipper with a special alcoholic beverages shipping label in addition to any other labeling that may be required by the origin or destination state.

UPS also states on its website that it “provides service for other alcoholic beverages (beer and spirits) on a contract basis only. For shipments containing beer or spirits, shippers must enter into an approved UPS agreement for the transportation of beer or spirits  as applicable, must be licensed and authorized under applicable law to ship beer and spirits. UPS accepts shipments of beer or spirits only among and between selected states.”

Some companies use DtC-specific boxes pre-printed with the required information, while others use stickers. The overall requirement is that, however the notice is affixed to the package, it must be clear and prominent, in a manner that will inform the carrier of their duties to check ID at the time of delivery and get a signature from someone over the age of 21.

What are state requirements for DtC shipping labels?

All states require the label on all DtC-shipped alcohol boxes to announce that they contain alcohol and must be signed for by someone 21+. For example, California’s shipping restrictions state that, “All packages containing wine must clearly have a label stating: ‘CONTAINS ALCOHOL: SIGNATURE OF PERSON AGE 21 YEARS OR OLDER REQUIRED FOR DELIVERY.’” 

New York has similar requirements for wine specifically: “Packages containing wine should have a conspicuous label stating “CONTAINS WINE – SIGNATURE OF PERSON AGE 21 OR OLDER REQUIRED FOR DELIVERY – NOT FOR RESALE”

Fewer states allow DtC shipping of beer, but the requirements for having a label specifying the box’s contents are very similar to those shipping wine. Of the states that do allow DtC shipping of beer, it is typically similar to the following shipping restrictions: 

  • All packages of beer must be clearly labeled, “Contains Alcohol: Signature of a person aged 21 years or older required for delivery.” In addition, only licensed carriers may deliver packages containing alcohol.

The same is true for DtC shipping of spirits, requiring all packages of alcohol to be clearly labeled that they contain alcohol, requiring the signature of an individual who is 21+ and that only licensed carriers may deliver packages containing alcohol. 

Remember that these rules are not a complete and definitive guide for DtC alcohol shipping, and are meant to help lead you in the right direction as your distribution expands. Consult with your compliance team, legal counsel, or even local alcohol producers and distributors in your state to properly interpret each state’s specific requirements.

Take Action

Ready to take your DtC shipping to the next level? Find out what delivery management software can do for you.

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
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

North America ShipCompliant
September 22, 2021
Wine Retailer Interstate Shipping and the Courts: An Update

By Tom Wark, Executive Director, National Association of Wine Retailers The effort to open more states for interstate wine retailer-to-consumer shipments is multi-pronged. One prong—perhaps the most important—is the effort to overturn discriminatory state laws by using the federal courts to challenge state laws that violate the U.S. Constitution’s dormant commerce clause as well as the […]

EMEA VAT & Fiscal Reporting
September 22, 2021
EU E-Commerce VAT Package FAQs: Understanding OSS

The EU E-Commerce VAT Package is here. The new schemes, One Stop Shop (OSS) and Import One Stop Shop (IOSS), bring significant changes to VAT treatment and reporting mechanisms for sales to private individuals in the EU. Our recent webinar, Back to Basics: The EU E-Commerce VAT Package, discussed the basic principles of the three […]

September 22, 2021
Insurance Premium Tax Returns: Italian IPT Books

The proper supporting documentation of a tax return has always been required by the local tax offices. In this blog we will focus on the supporting documentation of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) returns, especially the Italian requirements. Although the requirements for the preparation of IPT supporting documentation differs from country to country, the details of […]

North America VAT & Fiscal Reporting
September 21, 2021
Looking to Cut Tax Compliance Costs? Consider Tax Solutions Before Migrating to SAP S/4HANA

As the digitization of tax continues, many organizations are looking to reduce the complexity and cost of tax compliance. In our latest spotlight report, created in partnership with Americas’  SAP Users’ Group (ASUG), “Boost Tax Compliance Capabilities and Visibility with SAP S/4HANA”, we discuss the most optimal time in the SAP S/4HANA migration process to […]

EMEA VAT & Fiscal Reporting
September 21, 2021
Fiscal Representation Post-Brexit – Requirements for UK Companies Trading in the EU

Non-EU companies are required to appoint a Fiscal Representative in order to be registered for VAT in many Member States. Following the end of the Brexit transition agreement on 31 December 2021, this was a consideration for UK companies who wanted to remain registered or had to register as a result of changes to supply […]