Canada Bringing beer INTO the U.S.

Discussion in 'Canada' started by FEUO, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. FEUO

    FEUO Jul 24, 2012 Ontario (Canada)

    For those who trade with US BA'ers, how do you import your beer into the US?
    What are we allowed to bring (if any) before duties kick in?
    What is your response to WHY you are bringing it across? Just curious as I can see odd and lengthy questions about "trading".
    I do no condone lying to officials. I just want to bring a box of 12 across with as few hassles as possible and do it all legally.
  2. TheSevenDuffs

    TheSevenDuffs Jan 20, 2010 Ontario (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    I think your post might be a little unclear as part of what you are asking is the best way to bring beer across the US when the purpose of that beer is to ship it from a FedEx outlet across the border to someone in the US...

    I have wondered this myself...
  3. Jeffo

    Jeffo Sep 7, 2008 Netherlands

    You can legally bring a case of beer into the USA. Bring less than that, and just answer their questions honestly. No problem.

    Now coming back, that's the pain in the ass. If you pick up traded bottles, you don't have a receipt. This can be annoying.

  4. Rutager

    Rutager Oct 18, 2010 British Columbia (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    Besides the limit that you can bring down tax free, I've read that you can bring down as much as you want but are subject to paying tax (which is quite minimal compared to brinign beer in to Canada). I've never been questioned further when I say I'm bringing x number of beers. I'd think it would be best to keep the number in multiples of 6 and not state the size of those beers unless asked.

    Like Jeff said, be honest. There's nothing those border guys hate more than someone trying to bullshit them ...and they have some serious bullshit detection skills. ;)
  5. TheSevenDuffs

    TheSevenDuffs Jan 20, 2010 Ontario (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    I've actually had a person that I trade with dummy up a receipt for me on two different trades. The first time I got through without paying duty. The second time, the girl just entered my totals (had about 4 different receipts including that one) without even looking at the receipts to verify my volume or total cost. I will be doing this every time I cross the border from now on...
  6. FEUO

    FEUO Jul 24, 2012 Ontario (Canada)

    Sorry, good point.
    That is exactly what I am planning to do, except use UPS. ;)
  7. Torontoblue

    Torontoblue Jun 12, 2005 Alberta (Canada)

    Always best to be open with them about the number of bottles and actual size. If you tell them you've got 10 x 6 packs, they will assume they are all 12oz bottles, if they pull you over to check and there are some 650ml, 750ml or other sizes then they'll be pissed and you've lied on your declaration. I know this the hard way and after a 2 hour wait at the border I finally got through with all my bottles.
  8. Rutager

    Rutager Oct 18, 2010 British Columbia (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    It's not a lie if you say you have x number of beers. Their asumption isn't you lying. I'd think if you get pulled over, you're going to be hassled about the weird beers you have anyways. This way you might avoid the hassle while still telling the truth. If you say you have x volume of beer or some long awkward explanation of what you have, you'll be pulled over and hassled for sure. Keep it simple and tell the truth.
  9. Torontoblue

    Torontoblue Jun 12, 2005 Alberta (Canada)

    But their assumption is a 6 pack or a 24 contains 330ml bottles or cans. The border guard was very surprised when he saw I had bottles of all sizes and styles..........himself ad the rest of the crew actually told me they didn't realise beer came in so many different sizes or styles!
  10. TheSevenDuffs

    TheSevenDuffs Jan 20, 2010 Ontario (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    To avoid the confusion, I always calculate my total volume, convert that to its equivanelt in standard 12 oz bottles and then round that figure in to 6 packs when making my declaration at the booth. When I go inside to pay duty, I just give them the actual details (in litres and dollars) and explain to them why I had odd sized beers. I've never been hastled or searched and I have probably paid duty 12-15 times at least over the past 3 years.
    mtomlins and Rutager like this.
  11. FEUO

    FEUO Jul 24, 2012 Ontario (Canada)

    Back on topic.... okay, so its fine to bring it into the US.
    What the best way to explain beer trading or shipping beer to US customs?
    Worried if someone balks at that notion and says its illegal.
  12. ASUBeer

    ASUBeer Nov 4, 2011 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I'd also be curious about trading from the US to Canada.

    When the weather warms up, I was going to try to arrange a trade for some american BA stouts, and barleywines for Cantillon. I've never shipped to Canada, and was curious about that.
  13. peensteen

    peensteen Apr 3, 2010 Ontario (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    Never tell them you are shipping beer over the border....If you are using UPS, FedEX, Canada Post etc. and your shipping from Canada always state that its a gift and its collectable glassware or anything other than beer or alcohol of any kind.
  14. TheSevenDuffs

    TheSevenDuffs Jan 20, 2010 Ontario (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    He has asking about driving beer over the border and shipping it FROM the US to the US. I think you misundertood...
  15. FEUO

    FEUO Jul 24, 2012 Ontario (Canada)

    Yes, that.

    I guess I wasn't that clear in the beginning.
    I live in a border town. I can see downtown Detroit from my office. I go over frequently to buy beer.
    But I never bring beer with me INTO the US to ship from there. Here are where my questions lay.
  16. Rutager

    Rutager Oct 18, 2010 British Columbia (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    Shouldn't be a problem. It never is here in BC. Just be honest if they ask, it's special beer from Canada for a friend that lives in the US.
    mtomlins likes this.
  17. FEUO

    FEUO Jul 24, 2012 Ontario (Canada)

    Not a bad idea. Hopefully they don't look too close. Bringing some Bell's and Kuhnhenn back into MI. :p
  18. Boozecamel

    Boozecamel Feb 25, 2011 British Columbia (Canada)

    Just moved to Vancouver from Portland, so still trying to work it all out myself. I plan on heading across the border quite often, my question is around growlers. Would customs in either direction have a problem with them?

    I'm thinking they wouldn't like growlers due to them not being sealed.
  19. Rutager

    Rutager Oct 18, 2010 British Columbia (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    I think growlers are fine coming to BC, as long as they're within your limit of 8.5 litres per person (being in the US a minimum of 2 nights, they're not sticky on it being exactly 48 hours).

    Just got back from a trip to your home town. So incredibly stoked to have found some Ale Apothecary bottles!!!
  20. Boozecamel

    Boozecamel Feb 25, 2011 British Columbia (Canada)

    It pained me to leave, but had to go where the work was. Been pleasantly surprised by the BC beers though.

    Never had an Ale Apothecary beer, but hear good things.

    I'm still working on getting my small cellar (wife just says its hoarding) up this way. At least I have her as my border mule! It does feel wrong to bring Cantillon to Canada though.
  21. MasterSki

    MasterSki Dec 25, 2006 Ontario (Canada)
    Site Editor Subscriber Beer Trader

    US Customs doesn't really care much about beer - the duty is so low that you'd have to have cases before the cost was appreciable (i.e. worth collecting). Just declare what you have truthfully and they'll send you on your merry way (or detain you for trying to smuggle in an apple).
  22. papat444

    papat444 Dec 28, 2006 Quebec (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    Lol! Reminds me when we said we had grapes many years ago. Guy got real serious at the mention and inspected our cooler like we were hiding drugs or something. Everything was tossed in the trash. This was before those signs that they now have plastered at the border.
  23. kjyost

    kjyost May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    I didn't even think of it once and told them I had grapes. He asked to see them and they were in their original bag. The guy got real serious and said "Sir, these Chilean grapes are not allowed in the United States" and he would have to confiscate them. I then told him to enjoy them, and he got peeved telling me they get incinerated...

    Ah border agents...
  24. oldp0rt

    oldp0rt Feb 24, 2011 Quebec (Canada)

    I always say I'm bringing beer for personal consumption and never get a problem.

    The first time I said It was for a friend (which it was) and we had to wait a half hour for them to check it all and realize none if it is fda approved. Are you serious?

    Anyways, no need to tell them more than they have to know.
  25. FEUO

    FEUO Jul 24, 2012 Ontario (Canada)

    12 beers for personal consumption while I ______ .
    I think I'll be heading to my buddy's house tomorrow night for a house party. ;)
  26. JonnyBeers

    JonnyBeers Oct 24, 2012 British Columbia (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    I've never been asked if I'm bringing alcohol into the US. Usually it's just food. Had a corned beef sandwich taken away once, apparently that represented a threat to national security...
    kjyost likes this.
  27. FEUO

    FEUO Jul 24, 2012 Ontario (Canada)

    Well, I had no issue today.
    Went over, said I was going shopping, getting gas, heading to a friends afterwards.
    No question about alcohol. But I was ready to answer.

    On another note, packaging it up on the streets of downtown Detroit was fun. :p
    It had to be minus 30 today with the wind. My hands are still hurting.
  28. TheSevenDuffs

    TheSevenDuffs Jan 20, 2010 Ontario (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    Glad it worked out for ya! Next time use wine shippers ... I have packed up a box in a wine shipper in a Buffalo parking lot in a mere 5 minutes :)
  29. FEUO

    FEUO Jul 24, 2012 Ontario (Canada)

    Actually, I did.
    The box was broken down and the shippers/cartons were stacked on the floor in the backseat. Beers were in an LCBO bag/carrier.
    Built box, stacked carton layer, filled, repeat. But those few minutes doing that felt like a friggin eternity in that cold! :D UPS drop off was around the corner, label already prepped and taped securely to box.
    kjyost and TheSevenDuffs like this.
  30. Sammy

    Sammy Dec 1, 2003 Ontario (Canada)

    never be sarcastic to a peace officer
  31. distantmantra

    distantmantra May 23, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Just double checking on growlers. Customs doesn't weird out trying to figure them out, do they?
  32. hoser

    hoser Feb 17, 2003 Alberta (Canada)

    A bottle or keg doesn't matter all they care about is the volume. As an American if you are bringing beer into Canada say it is for your own consumption, they get weird if you say it is gifts or for trade.
  33. distantmantra

    distantmantra May 23, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I'm thinking a growler to bring home, I'm always wary of bringing anything with me into Canada, and now that I have a Nexus pass I don't want to jeopardize that.
  34. hoser

    hoser Feb 17, 2003 Alberta (Canada)

    Pull into customs on the way into Canada and ask if you are worried. Ask from some documentation from the customs officer if the answer is yes no problem on the growler to show them on the way back. Ask the brewery to put a closure strip on the growler if you are that paranoid about being busted. Would really think the customs people aren't going to care if you are honest. It is just a 64 oz. bottle of beer.
  35. distantmantra

    distantmantra May 23, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Yeah, I'm not that worried. I always tell them what I've got with me and the only thing they've ever cared about was some art we bought in Vancouver. We just got the whole "declare everything or we'll take your Nexus pass away for life" spiel when we went through the process. o_O
  36. Sammy

    Sammy Dec 1, 2003 Ontario (Canada)

    Declare everything-pay the duty. If you want to take a chance on being waived without duty, just dont use the nexus lane.
  37. Sammy

    Sammy Dec 1, 2003 Ontario (Canada)

    they do not know growlers. It either gets their attention to pull you in or they just waive it.
  38. CaptainMurphy

    CaptainMurphy Sep 5, 2014 Nova Scotia (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    I have heard that someone tried to bring a growler back into the US from NS (via the NB/ME border) and had the growler confiscated. They considered it to be open alcohol. I think it had a plastic sealing strip, but can't quite remember. In my experience that border is as strict as they come. I always get asked if I'm bringing alcohol into the US (I never am), and almost always get pinched for duty coming back into NB no matter how little I am over the limit.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!