Alcohol products

When you sell alcohol through Shopify, you need to comply with the laws and regulations that apply to the sale of alcohol. The laws and regulations depend on the region where your store is located and the region where you sell. Use the information on this page to learn about laws and regulations that might apply to your business.

Laws and regulations for selling alcohol in the United States (US)

If your business is located in the United States, or if you sell alcohol products to customers in the United States, then you're required to follow all federal, state, and local laws in any jurisdiction where your alcohol products are advertised or sold.

In the United States, alcohol is heavily regulated at the state level and regulations vary by state. If you sell or ship alcohol products, then you should review the laws of the states where you conduct business and of your customers. Consider these common requirements for selling alcohol:

  • You must acquire and maintain all necessary licenses individually to produce, market, sell, and deliver your products.
  • You must remain in full compliance with all applicable licensure requirements, including the requirements for record-keeping.
  • You must have effective age verification practices so that alcohol products can't be purchased or received by people who are under the age of 21.
  • You must make sure that any alcohol products that are shipped to a different state are compliant with applicable laws of the jurisdiction of your business and your customers' jurisdiction.
  • You must ship and deliver alcohol products in full compliance with applicable laws of the jurisdiction of your business and your customers' jurisdiction.

Resources about selling alcohol in the United States

You can find specific information online about selling alcohol products in the United States, such as the following resources:

Laws and regulations for selling alcohol in Canada

If your business is located in Canada, or if you sell alcohol products to customers in Canada, then you're required to follow all applicable federal and provincial laws in any jurisdiction where your alcohol products are advertised, sold, or delivered. Some provinces might also have specific labeling requirements that you need to follow for your alcohol products to be sold in that province.

If you sell alcohol products in Canada, then you must also follow the Food and Drugs Act, the Food and Drug Regulations, the Safe Food for Canadians Act, and the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. Before you sell an alcohol product in Canada, you should review all applicable pieces of legislation.

At the federal level, you must comply with packaging and labeling requirements. These requirements include compositional standards for a product to be labeled as a specific type of liquor and IP protections related to geographical indications.

Each provincial jurisdiction has different requirements for alcohol, including but not limited to these commonly cited requirements:

  • legal drinking age requirements
  • licensing requirements for the right to alcohol distribution
  • policies for promoting and marketing liquor
  • registration and listing policies

If you sell or ship alcohol products in Canada, then consider these commonly cited requirements:

  • In Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, the legal drinking age is 18.
  • In British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and Yukon, the legal drinking age is 19.
  • Excise duties are imposed on alcohol products at the time of production or importation, payable by the manufacturer or importer.

Resources about selling alcohol in Canada

You can find additional specific information online about selling alcohol products in Canada, such as the following resources:

Laws and regulations for selling alcohol in the European Union (EU)

If your business is located in the European Union, or if you sell alcohol products to customers in the European Union, then you're required to follow all applicable laws in any jurisdiction where your alcohol products are advertised or sold. Before you sell an alcohol product in the European Union, you must comply with the following laws and regulations:

Each EU jurisdiction has different requirements for alcohol, including but not limited to the following commonly cited requirements for merchants:

  • You must ensure that labels on your products include all required disclosures, such as the list of ingredients and nutrition declaration.
  • You must comply with all relevant excise duties imposed on alcohol and alcoholic beverages.
  • You must have effective age verification practices so that alcohol products can't be purchased or received by people who are under the legal age in the relevant jurisdiction.
  • You must ensure that how you advertise, market, and sell your alcohol products adhere to all applicable legal requirements in your jurisdiction and your customers' jurisdiction.

Resources about selling alcohol in the European Union

You can find specific information online about selling alcohol products in the European Union, such as the following resources:

Laws and regulations for selling alcohol in the United Kingdom (UK)

If your business is located in the United Kingdom, or if you sell alcohol products to customers in the United Kingdom, then you're required to follow all applicable federal, county, and local laws in any jurisdiction where your alcohol products are advertised or sold.

For businesses, organizations, and individuals who sell or supply alcohol in England and Wales, both in-store and online, you need to follow the rules and regulations set by the Licensing Act 2003.

If you sell, distribute or ship alcohol products in the United Kingdom, then consider these commonly cited requirements:

  • You must acquire and maintain all necessary licenses that are required to sell alcohol.
  • You must remain in full compliance with all applicable licensure requirements.
  • You must have effective age verification practices so that alcohol products can't be purchased online or by phone, or received by, people who are under the age of 18. You can follow the standards set forth by PAS 1296: 2018 to help your business prove a person's age.
  • You must ship and deliver alcohol products in full compliance with applicable laws of the jurisdiction of your business and your customers' jurisdiction.
  • You must make sure that any alcohol that is imported includes a duty stamp, if required.

Resources about selling alcohol in the United Kingdom

You can find additional information online about selling alcohol products in the United Kingdom, such as the following resources:

Laws and regulations for selling alcohol in Australia

If your business is located in Australia, or if you sell alcohol products to customers in Australia, then you're required to follow all applicable state or territory laws in any jurisdiction where your alcohol products are advertised or sold.

In Australia, you must comply with policies for promoting and marketing alcohol set forth by the Ad standards guidelines for advertising alcohol products, and the ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code.

Each state or territory has different requirements for alcohol, including but not limited to the following commonly cited requirements:

  • You must have effective age verification practices so that alcohol products can't be purchased or received by people who are under the age of 18.
  • You must follow packaging and labeling requirements.
  • You must ship and deliver alcohol products in full compliance with applicable laws of the jurisdiction of your business and your customers’ jurisdiction.
  • You must ensure that how you advertise, market, and sell your alcohol products adhere to all legal requirements in your jurisdiction and your customers’ jurisdiction.

Learn more about alcohol laws in Australia.

Laws and regulations for selling alcohol in New Zealand

If your business is located in New Zealand, or if you sell alcohol products to customers in New Zealand, then you're required to follow all applicable federal and local laws in any jurisdiction where your alcohol products are advertised or sold.

If you sell alcohol products in New Zealand, then you must follow the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, 2012. Before you sell an alcohol product in New Zealand, you should review all other applicable pieces of legislation.

If you sell, distribute, or ship alcohol products in New Zealand, then consider these commonly cited requirements:

  • You must have effective age verification practices so that alcohol products can't be purchased or received by people who are under the age of 18.
  • You must make sure that your promotions and marketing materials limit the encouragement of excessive alcohol consumption and drinking by people who are under the age of 18.
  • You must ship and deliver alcohol products in full compliance with applicable laws of the jurisdiction of your business and your customers' jurisdiction.

Resources about selling alcohol in New Zealand

You can find specific information online about selling alcohol products in New Zealand, such as the following resources:

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