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Profitable business: How to import liquor

The importation of liquor is a very lucrative business. According to report, US alcohol sales in 2018 reached USD $253.8 billion, which is an increase of 5.1%, or $12.4 billion.

Although majority liquor is produced locally , there are plenty of room for foreign importation, especially wine and beer. People love . In fact, 13% of all beer consumed in the country is imported from places like Mexico, Canada, Belgium, Ireland , German and Italy. Beer from Japan is quite popular too. Wine sales primarily come from countries like France, New Zealand and Argentina . Wine business is a super profitable endeavor .

Typically you will be interacted with the following 3 agency,

-- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

-- The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)

– Customs and Border Protection (CBP)


Your first order of business typically goes through the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau ( AKA: TTB) . If you want to complete any transactions overseas or across borders in regards to alcoholic beverages, it is required that you obtain an importers permit.

Not only does the TTB grant you the right permits to import alcohol, but it also serves as the primary federal institution for label approval. You must get a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) indicating COLA number.

The COLA pre-approval form exists on the TTB website. Depending on the type of alcohol being imported, the pre-COLA form ensures four things:

-All ingredients within the alcohol are legal.

-Clarifies tax and product classification.

-Ingredients follow the appropriate country restrictions.

-Sulfite levels in beverages are at the legal limit.

Finally, the TTB will also grant authenticate a certificate of origin or certificate of age, detailing where was it produced, how long was it aged, and what percentage of alcohol. All information is required to be on the label, whether it’s wine, beer or spirits.


Most importantly, alcohol suppliers overseas need to register under the FDA’s Food Facility Registration Regulation.

In general, many of alcohol vendors are already listed on the FDA’s website. All you need to do to browse through the list to ensure your supplier is up to code in FDA website.

To make life more simple, it would be wise to choose a distributor already on the FDA approved list.


It is the last step for importation, you will remember to provide complete commercial invoice ,packing list, COLA number, Manufacture FDA number , your liquor volume and weight, country of origin certificate info to your custom broker .

Craft Beverage Modernization Act ( CBMA)

Craft Beverage Modernization Act ( AKA: CBMA) was effective on January 2018, is a new policy that could amend the internal revenue code with respect to the tax deductible of certain alcoholic beverages. Importers are required to submit two spreadsheet: CBMA Spreadsheet, CBMA Controlled Group Spreadsheet to be qualified. tax rate for CBMA qualified liquor

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