Are Liquor Permits Required for Border Crossing?

Looking to find out how the process works for moving hard liquor across the border. If carrier does not have liquor permit can it be moved In Bond if carrier is bonded?
Any help would be appreciated!


Site Supporter
Hi Lwinfield
From what I know :
Hard liquor does require permits. If the carrier does not have a year round permit, he needs permits on each and every stats he will cross into the US.
Prices varies from one state to another.

It can move inbond - as long as they get the temporary permits along.

If under 15% alcohol, no permit if required - like premix single serve cans and such..

That's what I know from experience, I might be wrong at some point - that's not an official confirmation! :)

Hope it helps



Michael Ludwig

Well-Known Member
There is additional information you need...
Liquor is defined as wines and spirits, so typically an 8% bottle of wine requires a permit. Beer very rarely, if ever, needs a permit.
Last I checked, only certain states require liquor permits. NY, PA(?), and OH come to mind right away. MI does not.
However, depending on which direction you are moving, and who your customer is, you may, or may not, need a Canada Excise bond.
CBSA is exceptionally fussy about booze loads coming into Canada. Once they have been excise sealed, they cannot be opened for any reason other than delivery. This is so important it bears repeating ... once they are excise sealed, they cannot be opened for any reason other than delivery. LCBO will not accept it if the seal is broken. They will inform CBSA immediately. You will incur a tax liability of enormous proportions. You will receive a significant fine. You could very well spend a brief vacation in jail.

Quick story as told to me by an MTO officer while he was here doing an audit (otherwise I wouldn't have believed it) ... a few years ago, right after the new cargo securement regs came into effect, a rather zealous MTO officer at the eastbound Windsor scale thought it would be a good idea to check a driver's load to see if he was compliant with the new load securement regs. It was a liquor load bound for LCBO London, out of the U.S., and had been excise sealed. The officer told the driver to break the seal. The driver refused and told the officer it was an excise seal and he couldn't break it. The officer replied that he didn't care whose seal was on it, he was MTO and could do what he liked, and proceeded to break the seal himself. Knowing full well what was going to happen, the driver called CBSA from his cell phone and told them word for word what was said, and what was going on. Meanwhile MTO officer was in the trailer walking across the top of the load. A very few moments later an RCMP car ... that's right RCMP ... showed up, looked in the trailer and told MTO officer to stay right where he was. MTO officer started to argue but was quickly told to shut up and sit down. He complied. He's in a world of hurt now and he knows it. About 20 minutes later two CBSA officers show up, and they are some pissed off. The excise seal is broken before delivery, and now they have to inspect the load to make sure none are missing. They have a brief conversation with the RCMP officers. RCMP drags MTO out of the trailer, put him in handcuffs, throws him in the back of the car, and carts him off to jail (They made his supervisor come get him out of jail). CBSA inspects the load, finds that nothing is missing, re-seals the trailer, thanks the driver for being vigilant and on the ball, and sends him on his way.

Moral of the story: You can get away with anything in this country, but if you mess with the government's taxes, they will nail you to the wall.


Site Supporter
Our insurance only wants to be notified if the trailer is being parked/detained in a "non-normal" parking/rest stop location or yard while loaded.

Basically no issues with insurance, unless your leaving a trailer un-attended.. which is just asking for trouble.... with Booze its a load n go for us only... no cross docking, no drop trailers.. live load, live unload. minimizes risk for us and our insurance carrier.


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