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The Blog

13 Jan 2013

International Scotch Whisky Shipping Regulations 2013

Posted by Alastair in Site News

Important Changes to Shipping Regulations and Method

From Monday 14th Janurary 2013, the way we ship whiskey orders to countries outside the European Union zone is changing, slightly.

In brief, whiskey is now being categorised under new Civil Aviation Authority regulations as 'dangerous goods' and can no longer be transported alongside ordinary postal mail. Instead, whiskey must now be transported internationally by surface and air freight services. In practice this means whiskey imports to your country must now comply with your country’s alcohol import restrictions and reciprocal trade agreements with the European Union - where they exist. Your government want's its share of excise duty tax.

This will result in some countries being considered under particularly strict enforcement of their import Customs regulations. The following briefly outlines what the impact of this change means for some of our overseas customers.

International shipping regulation scotch whisky

What has Changed?

The main changes affect the two ordinary priority airmail services we at The Whisky Barrel (and we believe the majority of other United Kingdom retailers) use to transport whiskey to consumers outside the European Union member zone.

These services are the Royal Mail Airmail and Parcelforce Global Priority, which are no longer able to transport whiskey now considered 'dangerous goods'. These services were not subject to the same rigorous Customs screening upon arrival in countries outside the European Union and it is this particular aspect that has likely triggered this change.

How will The Whisky Barrel ship Whiskey abroad now?

We have been aware of these changes over the past few months and have succesfully made minor shipping changes in accordance with these regulations with the aim to minimise any impact this may have upon our customers wherever possible. Our whiskey orders outwith the European Union member zone are now shipped using air freight carriers.

It is important to stress that this method will have no noticeable impact upon most of our customers receiving their whiskey.

However, although most business will continue as usual, these stricter enforcement of import regulations will have a profound impact on our ability to ship Scotch to North America.

new international whisky shipping regs

USA & Canada

Whiskey consignments to North America are suspended.

Regrettably, no trade agreement currently exists between the European Union (of which Scotland is currently a member) and the United States of America or Canada for personal consumer alcohol imports. As such, alcohol imports from European Union member states into North America by air freight are now strictly prohibited. This is enforced by freight Customs Officers in these countries, ultimately the Department of the Treasury (USA) & respective Provincial Liquor Boards (Canada).

What happens if you ship air freight whiskey to USA or Canada?

We have been advised by our air freight carrier that alcohol consignments that reach USA or Canada, will likely be quarantined, seized and probably destroyed by freight Custom Officials in these countries.

Shipping to the rest of the world

With regards to shipping to other regions of the world and as noted above there will be no change to our ability to complete orders to countries within Europe or the Asia Pacific Region. Most countries in Asia Pacific (with the exception of China) have reciprocal trade agreements with the European Union allowing private consumers in these countries to purchase Scotch from The Whisky Barrel. This will continue as normal.

scotch whisky glenfarclas, macallan, compass box scotch

How will these regulations affect The Whisky Barrel?

Losing the USA whiskey market is a huge disappointment for The Whisky Barrel, representing a significant part of our business. We have developed a strong customer base and relationship within North America and losing this tie is a blow.

We have been aware of some of these changes since October 2012 and have been pro-actively making adjustments to our shipping policies, sales platforms and ultimately stock portfolio to prepare in the lead up to these regulatory changes. We aim to minimise the impact this has on the overall business.

How will this affect the Scotch Industry?

We believe the repercussions will be significant in due course when the full extent of these changes sink in across the board. Consumers in the USA buy different Scotch whiskies than consumers in Europe or Asia Pacific. This is not likely to impact just retailers but the distilleries as well. For now, we'll leave it at that.

We would like to extend a big thank you to all of our customers and blogging friends in North America for their support over the years. We hope that free trade political consensus might eventually prevail.

If you have any queries regarding shipping to your country please let us know via our Contact Form.

For everyone else – it’s business as usual and we look forward to your continued custom.

Alastair Brown
MD & Founder The Whisky Barrel

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