Export to the usa

Question posted by Joan Queally, on behalf of ALPHA STATE LIMITED in TN12

How do I obtain an Export Licence to supply sample quantities of real ale produced at our new startup Brewery in Kent to the USA.
And any additional requirements needed.

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First thing to do is contact BIS https://www.spire.bis.gov.uk/eng/fox/espire/LOGIN/login

They will be able to tell you if you need an export licence but more importantly what the requirements inside the USA as the FDA there is very strict.



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Richard England, on behalf of Consulting for Export in WD3.

Normally, your designated importer would need to complete a process called "filing of Prior Notice" which relates to the importation of food and beverage products into the USA for commercial sale. Imports, as Denis has intimated in his response, are very strictly controlled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). You can get a sense check of what your importer would need to complete by looking at the link below. This will make it easier for you to have the answers ready.




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Lauren Dickerson, on behalf of UK Trade & Investment USA in United States.


As Denis mentioned you should look at the FDA (www.fda.gov) to find any regulatory information (labels) they may have about your product. It is also importatnt to check with the TTB (www.ttb.gov) as this is the agency that regulates beer in the US.


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Nicki Doggart, on behalf of 41ºNorth Consulting in United States.

Lauren is correct to point you to the TTB website - the 2 links below may be a good place to start.


In addition - two more considerations about alcohol in the US:

State vs Federal
Unlike the UK, alcohol is regulated at a state, not federal (national) level. This means that each state has its own laws governing alcohol (including distribution, taxation, etc). There is essentially no such thing as a national distributor - distributors operate only within specific states. I would therefore recommend focusing initially on a specific state or region.

Labeling & Localization
The FDA website is a good starting place for labeling requirements, plus there may be some localization in your labeling and/or branding/marketing to be done for market-fit.

None of this is insurmountable – particularly if you are aware of the requirements and market characteristics and can proactively plan for them. There is a great appetite for British products in America, and now is a great time to enter the market to tap into the craft brewing renaissance.

Best wishes for much success!

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