How do I ship beer from the US to Canada?
March 5, 2010 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Why would they want that!? How do I ship beer from the US to Canada?

So, yeah...

We lost a bet with some hosers over a hockey game. You can guess which one. The bet was, for whatever reason, beer.

There seems to be some ambiguity to the shipping laws in this regard. I know the USPS won't have anything to do with transportation of beer to Canada, but everything else is a bit hazy.

Can beer be legally shipped via UPS, FedEx or wherever from the United States to Canada? If so, how it is done?
posted by thewalrusispaul to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
Have you considered purchasing the beer online in Canada?

Beer seems to be okay if you're within the same province and it's from a distributor.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:06 AM on March 5, 2010

I homebrew, and have read about plenty of homebrew competitions where competitors have shipped beer internationally. I know within the US, shipping beer is against the policies of UPS and FedEx, but not illegal. It's illegal with the USPS. Here is some more information.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:12 AM on March 5, 2010

Are you Barack Obama?

Could you modify the bet to match the President/PM's where you give the cash equivalent and the hosers go buy the beer themselves?
posted by Pollomacho at 8:20 AM on March 5, 2010

Why would they want that!?

In our case, my wife from Atlanta misses the hell out of Sweetwater 420, and we'd love to get some shipped up to Quebec. The company can't do it themselves, though. It's also hella expensive (beer weighs a fair bit, especially bottled).

Explain to the hosers that for the cost of a sixer and shipping all that weight, you can pay them enough for a two-four using PayPal. Be sure to use the term "two-four." This will lull them into a sense of familiarity and camaraderie.
posted by Shepherd at 9:02 AM on March 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

About five years ago, I tried to ship a six-pack of beer to my parents in Manitoba. The procedure to do it above-board involved (a) using a courier service like FedEx and (b) having the beer held upon arrival until I paid some kind of excise fees via credit card, at which point my parents could pick up the beer at some central location. I was also required to provide some kind of invoice or receipt from whoever I bought the beer from, so that the MLCC (Manitoba Liquor Control Commission) could figure out what to charge me.

In the end, it would have been a sufficient amount of time and hassle to mail the beer that I just brought the beer with me when I visited my parents the next time (three months later). Other provinces might have more streamlined procedures — look on the website of the liquor control board of the province you're shipping to — but if you're going to be travelling to visit these folks any time in the next six months to a year, I'd encourage you to go this route. Very little hassle, and no fees as long as you're bringing a sufficiently small amount into the country.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:52 AM on March 5, 2010

Oh, I should also mention that to get this information I actually had to call someone at the MLCC. So if you can't find this information on the appropriate website, get on the horn and ask.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:58 AM on March 5, 2010

i researched a scenario similar to this, but in reverse (Canada to US) and discovered that FedEx et al does not ship alcohol, if I remember correctly. There really isn't a simple way to do it.
posted by kuppajava at 10:31 AM on March 5, 2010

Look, even Obama can't do it (for exactly the same reason, I might add). If "the most powerful man in the free world" can't do it then I'd say it's pretty much a lost cause.

More seriously, this forum seems to back that up. There are US and Canadian federal laws, state and provincial laws and shippers' policies that get in the way. Unless you're willing to be economical with the truth, it's basically impossible. On the other hand, here's some practical advice on how to do just that.
posted by bonehead at 1:15 PM on March 5, 2010

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