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

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

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: 

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.

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