Legality of transporting homebrew between the U.S and Canada?

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moxie

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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!
 

Zamial

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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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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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moxie

moxie

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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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moxie

moxie

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Actually, now that I think of it, I once crossed with a full corny. :drunk:

The only thing I've ever had confiscated was a few Clementine oranges.
 

JRems

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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.
 

krebs119

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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.
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/faqscrossingtheborde1/p/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! :ban:
 

Zymurg

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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.
 

opiate82

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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:

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:

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.
 

Mb2658

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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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Remmy

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Just do it, like Nike.

I've been to Canada and back to the USA a few times and my vehicle hadn't been searched at any point at border crossing.
 

Mb2658

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For people coming INTO the US, here is CBP's official line on importing homemade alcohol. https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/de...0MzM5My9zaWQvSkVrOUpHTWw=/suggested/1/p/0/c/0

I would highly recommend not bottling homebrew in commercial bottles and trying to pass it off as commercial beer. There is absolutely no benefit to doing this and you might just cause yourself unnecessary problems. CBP is concerned about taxes and contraband. You might end up having to pay duty on the beer but that is unlikely if you are bringing in small amounts

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unionrdr

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I wanted to send craigtube in Cananda some of my beers. But he says a lot of the packages from the US are opened & beer is gone. So I don't know if what they're doing is legal or not. Are they ilegally cofiscating the bottled beers,or?...:confused:...'cause he gets them just fine from other countries,just nit ours??
 

opiate82

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This is what I do know about shipping beer. You cannot use USPS because it is illegal. Private companies (such as FedEx or UPS) have their own internal policies regarding shipping alcohol, but generally you can get away with shipping a small quantity of beer if you claim it is a "yeast sample for analysis." You obviously have the added layer of getting it through customs. I do know that I have ordered Absinth from the Czech Republic without issues but I do know importing it to the US wasn't legal (at the time) so if it would have been stopped at customs and opened I would have been S.O.L.
 

unionrdr

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I know about shipping bottles of my beers Fed-Ex or UPS. But that's within the US limits. Craigtube says he can't get them from the USA,but from other countries.
 

Remmy

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This is what I do know about shipping beer. You cannot use USPS because it is illegal. Private companies (such as FedEx or UPS) have their own internal policies regarding shipping alcohol, but generally you can get away with shipping a small quantity of beer if you claim it is a "yeast sample for analysis."

I prefer the method of keeping shut. If you ship beer from home, even better as you can very simply schedule a pick-up. No questions asked.

Telling a carrier you are sending "yeast samples" is just introducing more risk. Just tell them it's glass and leave it at that. A lot less awareness on their part and it'll be just another package for them to ship as opposed to "hey, guys! This box has yeast samples and possibly other liquids so do your best to toss it as much as possible!"
 

unionrdr

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Mine are so well padded that they can't be heard sloshing or moving around inside the box. Never a problem. More like an adventure getting to the actual bottles...
 

Paps

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"hey, guys! This box has yeast samples and possibly other liquids so do your best to toss it as much as possible!"
This man has obviosly actually done some work in shipping and receiving.
People should go overkill on packaging/bubble wrap because people in the industry see "fragile" on boxes and actually do go out of their way to throw those packages around. I've seen it 1rsthand.
 

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