Exporting Tequila to the USA

por Maria Liliana Bermudez Gonzalez Maria Liliana Bermudez Gonzalez | Dec 27, 2021 2:14:02 PM


exporting tequila to the USA

In this article I will talk about the official requirements that must be met by those who are interested in exporting alcoholic beverages, particularly Tequila to the US.




Tequila is a spirit drink, with Denomination of Origin and worldwide recognized. The main export client of this drink is Mexico's northern neighbor (USA) who, according to the latest data reported by the Chamber of the Tequila Industry, has increased its consumption and preference for Tequila by a sustained 6.9% during 2016.

The increase in the consumption of tequila is due to all the different categories and brands that we can now find in the market where in recent years, presentations such as Crystal and Extra-Vintage tequilas, have been added to the regular available tequilas.

One more variable that has driven the growth of Tequila, is to find in this drink a diversity of cocktails that can be prepared with it, as well as the change of perception of its consumption: you can drink tequila not only in a Margarita or as in a shot (caballito), but also as several mixed cocktails or as a Super Premium Tequila (category of tequila) which should be drank slowly, without being mixed (to fully taste it, not as in a shot).

Have you ever wondered which requirements do you need to meet to export tequila to the USA?

Once you have complied with the local and the Denomination of Origin regulations established in the Mexican Regulation Nom-106-SCFI-2017, as well as the requirements of Mexican Customs, it is time to review the import requirements in the US.

This are the requirements in the USA:

  • Obtain the permission of Import of Spirit Drinks issued by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, known as TTB. To obtain it, you need to fill out a TTB5100.24 format, which you can find on their website. It is important to point out that if you plan to sell the product wholesale you should also obtain a basic wholesaler permit (WBP) , which is available in the same webpage.
  • It is necessary that the person who signs the form to be a legal representative and present a certified copy of this legal attribute that he has.
  • If the person filing the process is a citizen of a country other than the USA, he must also fill out the TTB F 5000.9 Form, which can also be found at the same website.
  • The Importer must have a business address in the US, if it is not possible, there is the option of hiring a commercial agent who already has the import permit.
  • A Label Certificate of Approval must be requested, it verifies that the information found in the label complies with the legal information required for that country. It can be requested online here: COLAs. It is important to verify the standards of Labeling at their Advertising, Labeling and Formulation Division (ALFD) and to make sure that it is requested to prove compliance.
  • Take into account that there are state and local regulations for the import of Tequila, each state may have its own requirements.
  • Defining the customs of arrival of the product, means that you have to choose from different boarding options, the most common ones are terrestrial and Maritime.
  • You must be registered as a Tequila Producer at the Food and Drug Administration of the United States (FDA).
  • To carry out the Importation process before the US Customs, we recommend you hire the services of an American Customs Agent, whose advise will come in handy; he'll check that the documents are complete, elaborate the tax calculations that have to be paid according to the classification of Tequila in the Rate of Rights and Taxes (US CBP), as well as the VAT.
  • It is important to consider that each of these procedures has an authorization time period and that some of them must be done prior to the previous one, as a requirement for the release of the next process, so I recommend making a work plan in which the times of each process is considered in order to plan the date of the first operation.

I hope that this information was useful to you. And I wish you much success with this project. In my next article, I will talk about the Labeling Standard that Tequila must comply with.

If you want to come to Casa Sauza and learn how we work on-site, we invite you to come to Tequila and take one of our guided tours which show you around our Tequila production plan and the town of Tequila as well.

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