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Mastering the Art of Selling Beer, Wine, and Spirits on Amazon: Navigating EU Requirements

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Jan 25, 2024
A clack at 12:20
5
min
Mastering the Art of Selling Beer, Wine, and Spirits on Amazon: Navigating EU Requirements

Table of contents

If you're in the business of selling alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, and spirits, Amazon provides a massive platform to tap into a global market. However, selling in the beer/wine/spirits category requires navigating a complex landscape of regulations and requirements, especially within the diverse markets of the European Union (EU). In this guide, we'll walk you through the essential steps and considerations to successfully sell in this category on Amazon while adhering to EU regulations.

1. Know the Regulations:

The first and foremost step is to familiarise yourself with the legal requirements for selling alcoholic beverages in the EU. Regulations can vary significantly from one country to another. Key considerations include age restrictions, labelling, packaging, and excise duties. Make sure to research and understand the specific rules for each EU country you plan to sell in.

For the EU Amazon stipulates that:

  • You must have a return delivery address in the local country or offer free delivery.
  • You must be able to provide local language support for Customer Service in the store in which the sale will take place.
  • You must not sell alcohol to buyers under the minimum drinking age governed under the applicable laws.
  • You must provide acceptable documentation and any other information we request about the products you intend to sell, including information to demonstrate payment of excise duties in the local country.
  • Your country of establishment must be within the UK to sell Beer, Wine & Spirits on Amazon.co.uk.

2. Obtain the Necessary Licenses:

Depending on the country you're targeting, you might need various licenses and permits to sell alcohol. These could include a retail license, importer's license, or a specific alcohol sales permit. Research and contact the local authorities or consult with legal experts to ensure you have the right licenses in place.

See our table below with EU document requirements.

3. Product Labelling and Packaging:

Accurate and compliant product labelling is crucial. The label should include essential information such as alcohol content, origin, allergen information, and any required health warnings. Ensure that the label adheres to both EU regulations and the specific labelling requirements of each country you're selling in.

  • Bottles don’t need to be individually boxed. If bottles are received prepared, they will be re-packaged and prepared at the fulfilment centre in cases where they do not meet carrier requirements.
  • Each unit needs to be labelled with the FNSKU linked to the country-specific SKU (for example, for Germany: FNSKU X000000000/MSKU DE-FBA-SKU1). The FNSKU label should cover the manufacturer’s barcode, but must not cover any other product information on the packaging.
  • Amazon recommends that bottles are sent on pallets or another method that ensures that individual units will not break during transport to the fulfilment centre, in accordance with FBA Shipping and routing requirements.
  • If bottles are to be sent in boxes, Amazon require them to be closed and include only units of the same FNSKU.
  • With regard to bundles (both single-product and multi-product), sellers will be responsible for sending the bundled units together in a suitable e-commerce box with the FNSKU sticker for the bundle ASIN on the outer packaging.

4. Age Verification:

Selling alcohol comes with the responsibility of preventing underage sales. Amazon has strict policies in place to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors. You'll need to implement effective age verification mechanisms during the online purchase process. This could include age verification checks upon delivery, requiring customers to provide proof of age before purchasing, or using third-party age verification services.

5. Shipping and Delivery:

Alcohol shipments require special handling due to their nature. Ensure that your chosen logistics provider is experienced in handling alcoholic beverages and follows all legal requirements for transportation. Additionally, be prepared for potential delays at customs checkpoints, especially when shipping across EU borders.

6. Taxation and Excise Duties:

Each EU country has its own excise duty rates for alcoholic beverages. You need to calculate and pay the appropriate excise duties when importing and selling alcohol. Make sure you understand the tax regulations of each country to avoid legal complications.

For the EU you will have the below options to review when submitting:

VAT Registration:

  • I have a UK VAT registration Number
  • I do not have a UK VAT registration number, and I certify that I am not required to be registered for VAT

Excise Number Information:

  • I have an excise number or the excise number of my nominated agent.
  • I do not have an excise number, and I certify that I, or my agent, have paid excise duties and can provide proof that duty has been paid through one of the following: W5/W5D, HM2, TRC2, HM4, EX46, EX606, CHIEF, Duty Deferment Statement or Letter of Duty Confirmation

Documents to submit:

  • Personal Alcohol Licence
  • Premise Alcohol Licence

7. Amazon-Specific Requirements:

Amazon has its own set of requirements for selling in the beer/wine/spirits category. These might include providing product images that meet their guidelines, accurately categorising your products, and ensuring your product titles and descriptions follow Amazon's standards.

8. Multilingual Listings:

As you're selling across various EU countries, consider creating multilingual product listings. This ensures that potential customers in different countries can understand the product details, leading to higher conversion rates.

9. Customer Reviews and Ratings:

Positive customer reviews and ratings play a significant role in boosting your product's visibility and credibility. Providing excellent customer service and high-quality products can help you earn positive feedback.

10. Stay Updated:

Regulations and requirements can change over time. Stay informed about any updates or changes in EU alcohol regulations that might impact your business. Join industry associations, follow relevant news sources, and consult with legal experts to stay ahead of the curve.

Selling beer, wine, and spirits on Amazon within the EU can be a lucrative venture, but it requires thorough research, careful planning, and meticulous attention to detail. By understanding the regulations, obtaining the necessary licenses, and adhering to Amazon's guidelines, you can position your business for success in this competitive market. Remember, compliance is key to building a reputable and sustainable brand presence in the alcohol e-commerce landscape.

Our Amazon team is ready to help you succeed.

Book a discovery call with us today!

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