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A person takes a beer off a shelf in a retail store

After going through the hoops of registering your own craft brewing company, you’re finally able to sell your home brew to people—and it’s doing well! At least, locally.

Out-of-state distribution is a big step for many brewers, especially when considering legalities such as licensing and determining the states that require permits to transport alcohol. In this blog, we break down alcohol transportation permits and regulations that you need to know. 

Let’s get started.

Foreign Qualification and State Licensing

If you’re licensed to sell beer in your home state, it would be a different ballgame for out-of-state distribution. That’s because each state sets up its own rules and has its own governing body that would enforce those rules. 

In California, for example, it’s the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control that would enforce rules on alcohol. In Illinois, it would be Illinois Liquor Control Commission, and so on.

In some states, you might be required to register as a foreign qualified entity in the state where you’re planning to distribute your beer. That means there might be additional licensing obligations and business tax you need to comply with before you can transact business in that state.

If not as a foreign entity, other states require that you file for a state-specific license or register with your target state’s alcohol regulatory agency. 

Delivery trucks on a highway at sunset

Image source: Canva

States That Require Permits to Transport Alcohol

Let’s say you’ve complied with all the licenses and requirements to sell beer in other states. Another thing you need to be aware of is the permits needed to transport your beer.

Alcohol transportation is largely regulated at the state level. That means alcohol-specific transportation licenses and permits are on a state-by-state basis.

Around 50% of the lower 48 states require a license or permit to transport alcohol into, through, or out of state. The scope of the permit or license varies as well. 

For example, some states only require a transport permit for certain types of alcohol but not for others. Other states may require a permit only if you stop and deliver within the state, and not when you’re just passing through.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to seeking and obtaining an alcohol transport permit. To avoid roadside surprises, particular attention must be paid to each state’s rules and regulations.

You can use the table below as a general reference on the permit and agency you should contact for alcohol transport permits and licenses for each state. However, it should not be construed as legal advice. It would be best to contact the listed agencies for the most updated information.

STATE PERMIT  W/IN FROM TO THRU AGENCY
Alaska N/A         Alaska Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office
Arizona N/A         Arizona Dept of Liquor, Licenses & Control
Alabama N/A         Alabama ABC Board, Enforcement Division
Arkansas Annual Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division
California N/A       California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
Colorado N/A         Department of Revenue, Liquor Enforcement Division
Connecticut Annual   Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, Division of Liquor Control
Delaware N/A         Delaware Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner
District of Columbia Annual     District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration
Florida N/A         Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation
Georgia N/A         Georgia Department of Revenue, Alcohol & Tobacco Tax Division
Hawaii N/A         Liquor Commission City and County of Honolulu
Department of Liquor Control County of Hawaii
Department of Liquor Control County of Kauai
Department of Liquor Control of Maui
Idaho N/A         Idaho State Liquor Dispensary
Illinois N/A         Illinois Liquor Control Commission
Indiana Annual Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Commission
Iowa N/A         Iowa Liquor Commission, Alcohol Beverages Division
Kansas N/A         Kansas Dept of Revenue, Alcoholic Beverage Control
Kentucky Annual Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control
Louisiana N/A         Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control
Maine N/A         Maine Department of Public Safety, Alcohol Control Board
Maryland Annual Maryland Alcohol Licensing Association
Massachusetts Annual   Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission
Michigan N/A         Michigan Liquor Control Commission, Licensing & Enforcement Division
Minnesota N/A         Minnesota Liquor Control Division
Mississippi N/A         Mississippi Alcoholic Beverage Control Division
Missouri N/A         Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control
Montana N/A         Montana Department of Revenue, Liquor Division
Nebraska N/A         Nebraska Liquor Control Division
Nevada N/A         Nevada Department of Taxation, Revenue Division
New Hampshire N/A   New Hampshire State Liquor Commission
New Jersey Annual or Single Trip   Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Dept of Law & Public Safety
New Mexico 3 Years New Mexico Alcoholic Beverage Control
New York Annual   New York State Liquor Authority District Office
North Carolina Permanent NC Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission
North Dakota N/A         Office of the State Tax Commissioner, Alcohol Tax Section
Ohio Annual   Department of Commerce, Division of Liquor Control
Oklahoma Annual Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission
Oregon N/A         Oregon Liquor Control Commission
Pennsylvania Annual   Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, Bureau of Licensing
Rhode Island N/A         Department of Business Regulation, Commercial Licensing
South Carolina N/A         Department of Revenue & Taxation, Alcohol Control Board
South Dakota Annual   Department of Revenue & Regulation, Special Taxes Division
Tennessee N/A         Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission
Texas 2 Years   Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
Utah N/A         Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
Vermont N/A         Vermont Department of Liquor Control
Virginia Permanent Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority
Washington N/A         State of Washington, Liquor Control Board
West Virginia Annual West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Admin, Licensing Division
Wisconsin N/A         Wisconsin Dept of Revenue, Alcohol & Tobacco Enforcement
Wyoming N/A         Wyoming Liquor Division

It is worth noting that there are states (such as certain counties in Texas) that are dry and therefore do not allow alcohol transport.

Brew Movers: Helping You Expand

Expanding to new markets can be an exciting time. But understanding licensing requirements, the states that require permits to transport alcohol, and all the nuances of distribution must come first.

If you’re ready to expand your operations and need a hand in transporting your beer, Brew Movers can help. 

With our industry connections, knowledge, and over two decades of experience in cold chain shipping, brewery, festival, and brewery equipment and tanks logistics, you can be sure we have what it takes to get your beer to its destination smoothly and on time.

Contact us today to know more.