What Are the Retailer DtC Shipping Laws?

Lizzy Connolly | August 24, 2021

Direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipping continues to grow in popularity, something that has not gone unnoticed by retailers. While alcohol producers enjoy broad access to the DtC shipping market, there are nuanced alcohol retailer DtC shipping laws and regulatory rules for compliance. 

A key consideration for retailers looking to ship alcohol DtC is recognizing the states that will permit them to ship in the first place. Next, it is important to note that the types of alcohol permitted for retailer DtC shipping vary by state. For example, Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, West Virginia and Wyoming only permit retailer DtC shipping for wine sales. In Oregon and Virginia, DtC beer and wine sales are permitted. 

Of course, there are many more rules and requirements imposed on retailers engaged in DtC shipping of alcohol. Retailers must take note of state-specific requirements as they look into either starting or expanding their DtC shipping operations. 

We’ve outlined the basics of retailer DtC shipping laws below. 

Where can retailers ship DtC?

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia currently allow for retailer DtC shipping. 

However, each state and Washington, D.C. have their own compliance rules that govern the interstate shipping of alcohol directly to consumers. For example, 10 states require the retailer to receive a license, three operate under a “reciprocal” process and two states don’t require a specific license. Retailers must ensure they adhere to all rules and regulations as they look to expand into a new area. 

What are other key retail DtC shipping details?

The same way that state requirements vary in what types of alcohol can be shipped, there will also be state-by-state sales tax rates. Some states have a single state-wide sales tax rate while others have a combination of state, county, city and special district rates. Sales tax filing requirements can also be different from one state to the next. A state could require paper format, electronic filing or a combination of the two. 

Retailers should also be aware of excise tax as they look into DtC shipping. Shippers are often required to remit the excise tax on a product that would have been levied had the product been sold through a distributor. Retailers must also meet this requirement when they are permitted for DtC alcohol shipping into a state. 

As retailers explore out-of-state DtC shipping they should keep themselves informed of every detail, especially as the bev alc industry continues to evolve. Working with the right partner can help keep the retailer DtC shipping experience as seamless as possible.

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Learn more about managing your DtC alcohol shipping compliance.