Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Legality of transporting homebrew between the U.S and Canada?
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:24 PM   #1
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Default Legality of transporting homebrew between the U.S and Canada?

I get as much out of home brewing in sharing my brews with friends in family as I do drinking it, so whenever I travel down to the US to visit family, I have a couple of growlers of homebrew with me. I've never really given it a second thought, but I thought I would ask you guys this time around since I am taking a considerable amount down with me this time. It would really suck to have it confiscated on me!


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Old 12-22-2010, 08:51 PM   #2
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Default Doing this is 100% illegal.

Doing this is 100% illegal. I would claim it to be anything other than beer, if it was in growlers. That being said you would be better to bottle up 2 cases of red strip bottles (label is painted on) with red caps and cross with that then the growlers.


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Old 12-22-2010, 09:04 PM   #3
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The last two times I crossed into Canada they completely emptied and searched my truck. Probably because I looked like a dirty hippy at the time. They confiscated all of our firewood but left the booze and beer alone. These weren't homebrews though and this was way back in 2004. I wonder if they'd leave it alone if you bottled it in bottles that still had the original breweries name on them?
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:45 PM   #4
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Wow, I had no idea it was illegal. I expected there to be some sort of limit, but illegal? Wow. My family down there raises some animals for meat, so I am usually travelling down with some homebrew, then returning with about 80 pounds of frozen meat. I have looked into the meat part, which is fine so long as it is "packaged for sale." They don't raise them to sell, but they are packed properly, never had a problem with it. Like I said, I didn't give the homebrew a second thought, I just threw it in a box with some interesting commercial brews I've come across.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:46 PM   #5
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Actually, now that I think of it, I once crossed with a full corny.

The only thing I've ever had confiscated was a few Clementine oranges.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:23 PM   #6
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I think the easiest way would be to put it in commercial bottles that still have the labels. I think it's 1 case per person.
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRems View Post
I think the easiest way would be to put it in commercial bottles that still have the labels. I think it's 1 case per person.
Agreed - you ARE allowed to bring commercial beer across the border. I had to look it up, but this looks about accurate:

http://gocanada.about.com/od/faqscro.../duty_free.htm

That's going the other way, but I wouldn't doubt it's the same for the way you're going. I'd have to agree that the red stripe bottle idea would work well. HOORAY BEER!
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:04 AM   #8
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Default Transporting Homebrewed Beer into the US

While all the suggestions regarding repackaging your homebrew in commercial beer bottles are good ones, and will likely work, if you should be caught transporting homemade alcohol into the United States - what is the worst case here?

Confiscation and some kind of criminal charge having to do with attempting to illegally transport a controlled substance into the United States? I think they call that "Bootlegging".

The border guards I've met haven't got a lot of sense of humour and I wouldn't fancy being barred from further entry to the US because I wanted my American friends to taste my Nut Brown Ale.

It would be great to know if there is a legal way to bring 2 cornys with me across the border.
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:16 PM   #9
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So I know that I am necroing an old thread here, but I was heading to Canada this weekend and wanted to bring homebrew with me. In trying to figure out the legality of bringing homebrew into Canada I searched the forums and this thread was the top search result, but I wasn't satisfied with the answers provided so I contacted the Canada Border Services Agency with these very questions, here was their response:

Quote:
Due to the nature of homemade alcohol it is difficult to establish both the ingredients and the alcohol content. While Canadian residents and visitors are able to import homemade alcohol it is their responsibility to satisfy the border services officer of both:

the value of the item
the alcohol content (litres of pure alcohol)
So you CAN in fact legally transport homebrew across the boarder into Canada so long as you can convince them of the alcohol content. I think 99% of the time if they ask if you are bringing alcohol and you say "yes X amount of beer" they won't question it any further. If they do question further I'm not sure how you are suppose to convince them of the alcohol content short of providing your brew-log for the beer and maybe cracking one open just to prove you didn't fill the bottles with vodka or something.

As far as quantities, this was their response:

Quote:
Visitors to Canada are able to import certain quantities of alcoholic beverages duty and tax free provided they have these items in their possession when they arrive. Alcoholic beverages are deemed to be any beverage that exceeds 0.5% alcohol by volume. The alcohol allowance for visitors is:

1.5 litres of wine; or
a total of 1.14 litres of alcoholic beverages; or
up to a maximum of 8.5 litres of beer or ale.

The quantities listed are per person who has attained the age of majority of the province or territory that you are entering into.
8.5 liters is the equivalent of 1 case of beer, or 24 12oz (355ml in Canadian) cans/bottles per person. You can legally bring more than that but it will be subject to duty and taxes.

Again, this info is for bringing stuff from the US into Canada, the rules are probably different in reverse. Hope this info helps.
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:28 PM   #10
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As long as you declare it, you should be good. It's the people who think that they are crafty and try to under declare or fail to declare something at all that run into problems. I would declare it as beer and let them follow up if they wish. You largely have no rights when it comes to border searches. It is best to be upfront and honest, especially if you have no reason not to.


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