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#1
Old 05-16-2018, 09:45 PM
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I need to send a bottle of liquor from the USA to India. How should I do it?

A colleague and I bonded over some cups of the local swill the last time I was in Bangalore.

He recently did me a huge favor, and I'd like to send him a bottle of a decently rare local bourbon which is prohibitively expensive over there for somebody in his pay grade.

What's the best way to send it? My primary objective is to avoid a lot of hassle with customs. I don't mind spending $200 to send what would otherwise be a $75 fifth of Eagle Single Barrel.

I suppose I could have a local coworker grab something for him at duty free the next time one of them travels to the Bangalore office, but I'd rather keep this between us.

Any ideas?
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#2
Old 05-16-2018, 09:56 PM
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 27,183
Tape the cap on, well. Put the bottle in at least one waterproof bag*. Use FedEx and keep your mouth shut.
It's known in certain industries that Fedex doesn't usually inspect packages. Of course the chances of your specific package being opened if you use UPS or USPS are probably pretty low.

*This is a trick I've learned when shipping things that will leak if they break. IME, at least with UPS, if your box starts dripping, they'll put it all in a bag and send it back to you. But if you bag each item individually and it breaks, hopefully it'll stay contained and continue on it's way.
#3
Old 05-17-2018, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Of course the chances of your specific package being opened if you use UPS or USPS are probably pretty low.
Could it be more likely to be stolen (in India) if it's sent by USPS?
#4
Old 05-17-2018, 06:05 AM
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Mod Hat On

The OP does not specify that they are trying to circumvent or avoid customs, which would be illegal, but to “avoid a lot of the hassle with customs”. Let’s keep this conversation on legal ways to help send this package to India legally but keeps any customs issues to a minimum.

The repeated word here is “legal”, for those playing along.

Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by black rabbit View Post
A colleague and I bonded over some cups of the local swill the last time I was in Bangalore.

He recently did me a huge favor, and I'd like to send him a bottle of a decently rare local bourbon which is prohibitively expensive over there for somebody in his pay grade.

What's the best way to send it? My primary objective is to avoid a lot of hassle with customs. I don't mind spending $200 to send what would otherwise be a $75 fifth of Eagle Single Barrel.

I suppose I could have a local coworker grab something for him at duty free the next time one of them travels to the Bangalore office, but I'd rather keep this between us.

Any ideas?
#5
Old 05-17-2018, 07:32 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2014
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I recently looked into sending a bottle of liquor to my brother, from Indiana to New York. What I found in my research, if memory serves, is that basically you can't do this. USPS can't legally ship alcohol, UPS pretty much requires some sort of commercial license, and FedEx was the most lenient but there was still some catch. Again, it was last year when I tried to do this. I ended up forgoing that gift, found out they wanted a ping pong table, and sent them money through PayPal that they used to buy one locally.
#6
Old 05-17-2018, 07:57 AM
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Maybe find a online specialist who ships worldwide?

I did a Google, and found these people based out of the UK (where I am): whiskyinternationalonline.com

They list India as one of their delivery destinations - I presume there will be a US equivalent? This way, all the shipping aggravation is done for you.
#7
Old 05-17-2018, 08:00 AM
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 27,183
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanothermike View Post
I recently looked into sending a bottle of liquor to my brother, from Indiana to New York. What I found in my research, if memory serves, is that basically you can't do this. USPS can't legally ship alcohol, UPS pretty much requires some sort of commercial license, and FedEx was the most lenient but there was still some catch. Again, it was last year when I tried to do this. I ended up forgoing that gift, found out they wanted a ping pong table, and sent them money through PayPal that they used to buy one locally.
The rules for sending from one state to another are really odd and from what I remember from the last time I looked at them, they're mostly directed towards businesses and manufacturers and again IIRC, probably intended to protect other business and manufactures.

In any case, I don't know about international rules (and for keeping this thread around, I'm not going to look them up), but I'll refer you back to my previous post, that is, use Fedex and keep your mouth shut.
#8
Old 05-17-2018, 08:20 AM
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Location: Again, Titletown
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According to what I've read, FedEx doesn't allow non-licensed end-users to ship or receive alcohol. This is true either domestic or international, so I don't think that's a viable method. Their processes for shipping alcohol are involved and require getting licenses beforehand.

I think the easiest way is to have someone going through duty-free pick up a bottle. Otherwise, find a commercial service that already ships to India.
#9
Old 05-17-2018, 10:48 AM
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Location: Falls Church, Va.
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I was just looking at the website for 1-877-Spirits, and they have a large selection of bourbons and at least some capability to ship internationally. It doesn't say whether India is a permissible destination.

Be careful of the pricing, though. One variety of Buffalo Trace bourbon goes for $65, while three others are around $1200.
#10
Old 05-17-2018, 11:26 AM
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Location: Houston, TX
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I would strongly advise against sending alcohol to India through any means except through a traveler carrying it in his bags. Alcohol regulations in India do very by state, but in general are way more restrictive than in the US. I would give very little chance of a bottle reaching the intended receiver.

However, I did find a website of a brick and mortar store in Bangalore that apparently does local deliveries. http://madhuloka.com/. No idea how dependable they are.
#11
Old 05-17-2018, 12:56 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Jawja
Posts: 9,535
Here is my suggested plan:
1) buy 2 cases* of the spirit in question
2) label one "case 1" and the other "case 2"
3) procure a ticket on a slow boat to India
4) have your friend meet you at the port upon your arrival
5) present the friend with the one remaining bottle from case 1, having drunk the others on the trip
6) enjoy case 2 on the trip home

*Adjust number of cases depending on the length of the trip.

Last edited by Doctor Jackson; 05-17-2018 at 12:56 PM.
#12
Old 05-17-2018, 01:05 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 25,558
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashtayk View Post
I would strongly advise against sending alcohol to India through any means except through a traveler carrying it in his bags. Alcohol regulations in India do very by state, but in general are way more restrictive than in the US. I would give very little chance of a bottle reaching the intended receiver.
There's the alcohol restrictions and then there's also the customs requirements. Just sending the package without declaring the contents honestly could mean that the recipient gets a very big bill for trying avoid customs. Or worse, if he is charged with attempted smuggling.
#13
Old 05-17-2018, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashtayk View Post
However, I did find a website of a brick and mortar store in Bangalore that apparently does local deliveries. http://madhuloka.com/. No idea how dependable they are.
Hey, I actually know where two of those stores are.
#14
Old Yesterday, 09:56 PM
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Posts: 3,694
Sigh.

Thanks folks. Looks like it's duty free after all. I'm probably headed there at the end of the year anyway.
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#15
Old Yesterday, 10:02 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 25,558
I flew into New Delhi about six years ago, carrying a couple of bottles of whiskey I bought from the duty-free shop at JFK. And then I was surprised to find a duty-free shop at the arrivals area of the airport in New Delhi. I'd never seen that before, but it makes sense. Why make a passenger carry the bottle on the flight when you can just buy it after you land?

Last edited by Dewey Finn; Yesterday at 10:03 PM.
#16
Old Today, 08:25 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 33
I can't speak to the legalities of the method, but I received a 750ml bottle of rum while deployed to Iraq. It was surgically implanted inside a good sized teddy bear, sent in a tight fitting cardboard box. I mention this only to endorse the packaging method, as the glass bottle arrived completely undamaged to a rather remote forward operating base.

It was also unsolicited, but greatly appreciated.
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