Dropshipping Alcohol – Everything you Need to Know!

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When most people think about dropshipping, they think about low priced products, usually from China. Not many people consider dropshipping beer, wine and spirits.

When you really think about it, alcohol is reasonably expensive for what it is, people willingly part with big dollars to purchase their favorite drop, alcohol stores have a lot of repeat business and it’s not a product most people ask for returns or refunds for. It almost seems like an ideal product to dropship.

But is it? I’ll run you through what’s involved in dropshipping alcohol and whether it’s even worth it in my opinion.

Can you Dropship Alcohol?

There is no denying the fact that alcohol is extremely lucrative with billions being spent annually. Add to that, alcohol consumption has increased drastically during the pandemic.

According to CSA from mid-2020 until mid-2021, 90% of the alcohol purchased was in store and this number will increase as everything is opened back up. This may seem like selling alcohol online isn’t worth it, however, IWSR claims alcohol eCommerce climbed by 42% in 2020 to reach 24 billion in the US alone!

This number will decrease over time but is still a huge market. All these stats are great, but the question is, can you dropship beer, wine and spirits?

You can dropship alcohol as long as you follow your country’s laws in regards to age verification, licensing and shipping restrictions. Each country and state will have different rules and regulations when it comes to selling and shipping alcohol online.

This means, if you’re living in the US for example, you will need to abide by the laws of the state you’re shipping from and shipping to.

Alabama, Delaware, Mississippi, Rhone Island, Utah and Kentucky prohibit any alcohol from being shipped to their states whilst other states have certain restrictions in place. Be sure to check all these out here before you decide if dropshipping alcohol is for you.

You need to make these restrictions clear in the shipping section of your store. It’s easy with Shopify to set up your shipping zones. You can delete specific areas from your shipping zone and have higher shipping prices for other areas if you choose.

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For advanced shipping zones with far more options, you can download the Advanced Shipping Zones App.

Another important inclusion you will need is an age verification app. Depending on the app you use the customer will have to verify their age before shopping on your site which will deter underage customers and help protect you.

A couple of options are Age Verification Popup and Age Check.

Is it Worth Dropshipping Alcohol?

There are definitely a lot of hurdles to jump through to dropship alcohol legally. There is also a limited number of alcohol dropshipping suppliers and you may need to use some persuasion to talk suppliers into dropshipping for you.

This extra initial work is actually a good thing and is what keeps dropshipping alcohol unsaturated. Most people will see the hurdles you need to jump through and try something else instead This provides opportunities for the people who want to put the work in.

The same goes for other products such as dropshipping firearms. These types of products are a great option if you are thinking of the long game instead of trying to make a quick dollar.

Personally, I think you need to think outside the box when it comes to dropshipping alcohol as it could be difficult to succeed by just having a standard online store selling a variety of alcohol.

You may need to niche down and specialize in a specific area that makes sense for your margins.

For example:

  • Focus on high-end alcohol, such as expensive spirits and wine.
  • Sell in bulk quantities only for special occasions or alcoholics.
  • Specialize in alcohol for gifts such as wine and spirits in custom packaging.

These types of strategies will stand out from your competitors and you can build a real brand around your store instead of marketing a general alcohol store. Suppliers will be far more likely to want to dropship for you because your AOV (Average order value) is much higher and the perceived value of your items will be higher.

Selling one item at a time and shipping it across the country isn’t viable. Your other option is to dropship products locally from your supplier instead of nationwide. Even though your market will be much smaller, your margins will be healthier.

Selling beer is really only a viable option if you’re shipping locally and even still, it may only be effective if you’re selling kegs. This way you’re selling something you can’t find in most liquor stores and you’re selling in bulk.

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How to Dropship Alcohol Profitably (My Opinion)

If I was to get into selling alcohol online today, I wouldn’t implement the dropshipping business model. Instead, I would look at purchasing more expensive alcohol in bulk and shipping it to my customers myself.

I would try and purchase aged wines and spirits such as whiskeys which are worth hundreds of dollars. I would then look at creating high-quality custom packaging for the bottles and design a branded Shopify store based around them.

If you’re going for a premium branded Shopify store, don’t use a free theme. If you want your product to feel specialized, use a theme such as Booster that will look amazing, it will come with pre-installed sales apps you will need and it will increase your product’s perceived value.

Stay away from beer or the generally cheaper alcohol products you find in most liquor stores. You want a store that feels luxurious that customers will buy for special occasions or companies will purchase for their business partners, etc.

If you’re interested in selling luxury items online, I suggest you read my article on dropshipping luxury items.

Your profit margins will be much higher and the shipping price won’t eat into your margins. If you did go down this route, you still have the option of dropshipping alcohol related products. There are endless products to dropship from China or you could use domestic suppliers.

You can still dropship alcohol profitability, however, it will be hard trying to compete. Many suppliers will charge a fee per product shipped, plus many will have a minimum order amount.

Alcohol Suppliers for Wholesale & Dropshipping

Depending on the country you plan to sell alcohol in, you may be limited to the amount of dropshipping suppliers you’ll have access to. Finding wholesalers shouldn’t be an issue although many won’t dropship and will only partner with retailers who purchase in bulk.

Below are some well-known suppliers you can work with for dropshipping and wholesale:

Summary

Dropshipping alcohol can be feasible, however, it will be difficult to compete when there is an abundance of liquor stores purchasing in bulk at low prices and are void of shipping fees for individual products.

You really need to differentiate yourself from your competitors in order to stand out and provide a service that most liquor stores don’t offer.

The beauty of dropshipping is that you can try and fail relatively cheaply, enabling you to try several options/strategies when it comes to dropshipping alcohol.

As a complete beginner, I’d recommend dropshipping an alternative type of product first. Learn all the ins and outs of the dropshipping business model then you could look at expanding to something a bit more complicated like alcohol.

If you’re after some more unique products to sell online, I suggest you check out this article where I provide 40 ideas.

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