Following on from part 1 of this two-part series, this week we have a look at some of the options we can use to ship whiskey from outside Ireland to our very own drinking shelves. Once again I feel it extremely important to remind you that shipping alcohol is itself, illegal ( if you are not properly licensed ), The following information that was gathered is based on personal use, word of mouth through other drinkers/collectors, and research gathered for this blog post. 

The struggle is real…..

Virtual Insanity

 Unless you’ve been living on the moon the past year or two then you should be familiar with what virtual addresses are, most major shipping and logistics companies right down to our very own An Post have virtual addresses to ship parcels to that won’t allow or don’t facilitate shipping to Ireland. A quick google search will literally turn up pages upon pages of these companies that provide this service, however, here are some tried and tested websites that work. *Be careful, customs and excise could be an issue here for some unlucky individuals. 


A sister company to An post, with Virtual Addresses in both the UK and the United States. Shipping rates generally are between €6-€15 ( This depends entirely on the weight of the package ). Alcohol is a prohibited Item to ship according to their website, however, multiple parcels from the USA and UK have been sent to Ireland VIA this service with no Issues to date. If you are shipping from the USA be prepared to verify the contents of the package ( via email ) by submitting the invoice or proof of purchase of goods, If coming from the USA then lube up, you’ll more than likely be caught for customs, excise & VAT!

Parcel Motel

A UPS company, the parcel terminals are littered across the country and it is a fantastic service. However, Alcohol is a prohibited item to ship. The way this works is the sender registers a parcel to send online via his/her account, they are then given a printable label for the package and must scan this at a parcel terminal and slide it into one of the sender boxes. The package is then sent to the main terminal, where some packages may be subject to random control checks. Alcohol will be confiscated and notification sent to the shipper via email. You can fight this and it has worked in the past and the packages released. There have been incidents of packages recovered by senders/recipients. The prices are shown below.

Planet Express

This company is located on the West coast of the USA and works in much the same way as AddressPal, they specialize in the shipping of alcohol internationally but you will have to supply the correct information for customs as the packaging they use for shipping alcohol will have to be changed. They will not ship alcohol in any other packaging only their own, period. Shipping rates will Vary however, you will have a choice as to which company you would like to use to ship the package back to Ireland, there are premium services offered with insurance, fast-tracking, etc. They have three separate warehouses, one in the UK, one in California & Oregon USA. As you have to provide information for customs you can pretty much guarantee getting caught for excise, Vat, and depending on the price of the package – Import duties (25% of contents value).

More options

A quick google search for mail forwarding options or virtual address boxes will turn up pages of info, some of the top ones are as follows. Keep in mind that not all are created equal, some companies you will need to register an account with a minimum spend and have to top up your account regularly. I have not personally used any of these but they are none the less options. 


So you’re not comfortable using a virtual address, maybe paranoia has the best of you or you’re trying your best to not get caught with customs. Asking a family person to help out is always an option. But with this option you are placing the burden onto someone else’s shoulders, take into account their free time, other commitments, forgetfulness ( believe it or not some people just don’t care about whiskey or collecting, shock – horror), laziness, whatever it doesn’t matter. The fact of the matter here is that you are relying on someone else. It’s a big ask and a pain in the ass to try and post something for someone, let alone try to figure out how to legally ship alcohol from one side of the world to the other. If you are going to go down this road be patient, be polite, don’t be pushy and for gods sakes man have all the work done for them so that their workload is minimal. 

I have had to go down this road myself before, so I’ve learned a lot, firstly my sister has the patience of a saint, god bless her, secondly, if the whiskey arrives in packaging already then just rip the shipping label off of the package it arrived in and use parcel monkey ( see below ), it’s straight forward enough. If you need to get packaging then use Amazon to order boxes and sleeves and get them shipped directly to your family members’ front door. Then depending on which service you select from parcel monkey either provide your family member with a drop off location for the package or let them know when the package will be collected. 

Parcel Monkey

I’ve used this when I have gotten bottles shipped to a family member that lives in the states. In short this is a service where you input your parcel dimensions, weight, and contents and the website generates quotes from a number of different shipping companies. Some will include insurance, some will be fast-tracked, there are various shipping options when using this method. Alcohol is a prohibited item though, but collectible decanters are not! Write that down. You do run the risk of getting caught for customs with this and all services. Just bear that in mind when deciding which route to go. Price here varies greatly from $35-$150. You get big-name shipping companies like FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc, etc. The only thing your family member or friend in the states will have to do is print the label and attach it to the box, and drop it at a drop-off spot ( SEE ABOVE, depending on which service you choose some carries will collect from a home or business!).


If all else fails and you’re not comfortable using the above, you can always reach out on the Facebook groups to anyone travelling from the USA to Ireland. There are some pretty awesome people out there on the groups that share the same passion as you and would want to help out. I have heard of many instances where this has been employed and has worked perfectly. Of course, you should be extremely careful and find out fully who you are working with, who is travelling, flight times etc. Have all the information you need. This is the least likely way of getting caught for customs and Vat, however, don’t be a dick and ask someone to carry back any more than one MAX two bottles for you, they are doing you a favour!


 There are plenty of options available to try and get bottles of alcohol to this part of the world. I have heard countless stories of people saying they are shipping collectible decanters, lava lamps, bar equipment, soda streams, etc, the list does go on and a quick Facebook group search will give you an insight into what people said they were shipping, but you should note this is illegal. Now bear in mind even though it is illegal I have yet to hear of anyone doing jail time or paying fines. I have heard of only one occasion where bottles were confiscated and destroyed ( using FedEx ) but I believe this was down to Emails not being returned on time. If a parcel is found to be carrying illegal contents then the parcel may be returned to the sender, destroyed or you may be notified of incurred charges for customs & Vat, etc. 

Do bookmark this page as I will be updating this regularly, of course get involved and comment, and let’s build a comprehensive list of solutions to this ongoing struggle the best we can to help like-minded individuals in the future. Until the next time, Sláinte.



We’ve all been there, you’ve finally found that bottle that has eluded you for so long. Your palms are sweaty, eyes tired from staring at a computer screen for hours, face plastered with a stupid smug smile, complete and total joy is overcoming you at an alarming rate, SUCCESS you think, until you go to the checkout and realize the company is in the USA and does not ship to Ireland.

Shipping Alcohol in good ole USA is not as easy and as straightforward as you think. Make it over that hurdle and get the bottle to our shores, you have to deal with customs, excise, and VAT. In this first part of a two-part series I break down some of the issues behind laws in the states and demystify our customs and import Charges.


Firstly, here is what you need to know and understand about the shipping laws in the united states when it comes to alcohol. 


Many of the state’s alcohol laws were written after the 21st amendment repealed prohibition in the 1930s, and that included their shipping laws. The amendment left shipping regulations up to individual states, who all came up with their own laws. To sum up – you are basically dealing with 50 different countries with different laws on shipping.

In Brief, the states has a 3 tier system, which means distilleries can’t sell to individuals they have to go through wholesalers, wholesalers cant sell to individuals they have to go through retailers. Depending on the states shipping laws the retailers may then, if properly licensed and within state regulations, ship to you a lovely new bottle of your favourite. 

It is generally not allowed for a non- licensed individual to send to another individual, or anyone else within the U.S., alcohol. Keep this in mind when buying alcohol from the U.S. with the intention of shipping it to Ireland. Below is a chart graphing the different states and whether or not permits are required by businesses for shipping or if alcohol shipment is prohibited completely. If you’d like to know more then click HERE for a fully comprehensive breakdown of alcohol shipping laws per state. Brace yourselves, it’s a big read….

DISCLAIMER: American laws around shipping changes constantly, therefore the information supplied may change without notice.


Understand this, you are going to get caught for excise, customs, and VAT ( tax ) at some point. Customs have become remarkably good at sniffing out packages containing alcohol. Knowing correctly how to calculate how much this will cost may help you come to a determination on whether or not its worth shipping home that bottle. 

Here is a breakdown of what revenue will charge you before your package is released from your carrier/service provider. Please note this does not include your carriers service charge, which varies anywhere from €10 minimum to up to 5% of the goods worth.


Currently, the excise on 1 Litre of alcohol costs €42.57, and generally speaking most bottles from America are 75cl ( 750ml ).  Let’s say that your 75cl bottle of whiskey has an ABV of 46%, you can work out the excise owed by the following formula:

size of bottle in ml x .alcohol percentage = total ml of alcohol in bottle

So , for the above scenario we have:

 750ml x .46 = 345ml of pure alcohol

We then take the ml of alcohol and multiply it by the total excise per litre ( €42.57 ),

.345ml x €42.57 = €14.68 Excise Duty to be paid. 


As the name suggests, an import duty is also calculated when the bottle shipped in from the U.S. You didnt just think you had excise to pay, did you?

Customs import duty varies between countries around the world. As anyone knows when you buy a bottle of alcohol within the European Union you do not have to pay a customs import duty when it arrives in Ireland. Perks of the EU’s single market trade agreement. However, if importing Whiskey ( Specifically ) from America then you can look forward to paying 25% on the value of the bottle of whiskey.

If a bottle of whiskey cost ( in euro and without shipping costs ) €100, then your import duty costs €100 x .25 = €25


And just when you thought it was all over, you get charged VAT. As if things weren’t bad enough. But I hear you ask ” didn’t we just pay tax with excise “? Yes, well kind of. In the technical breakdown of it here you are taxing a tax. So you’re being taxed twice, on import alone, Basically. On the above info lets work out the VAT owed and we can finally see the true cost of importing alcohol from the USA. The current rate of VAT in Ireland on goods and services is 23%.


VAT AT 23% of €139.68 = €32.12

Grand total then is – EXCISE + IMPORT DUTY + VAT


That my friends is Revenue for you!

The final figure above is also not taking into account the supplier’s shipping fees ( plus VAT ), handling fees, and other charges that may eventually be added on. So you see how quickly this can add up and how expensive it can be to get your package in from the states, Keep in mind, of course, you have already paid for the bottle and shipping within the United States! Before your next purchase you need to ask yourselves, is it worth it? 


For the collector and hardcore whiskey enthusiast/drinker, you need to make a decision on whether or not the bottle is worth that extra cost. In part 2 of the series, I’ll look at how to overcome getting the bottles across the pond, possible workarounds, and legal ways of getting your whiskey home, safe. Be sure to subscribe to the blog for part 2 and bookmark this page for future reference, until next time, Sláinte.