Interstate Compliance for Shipping Cider
Very few states expressly mention cider products in their direct-to-consumer statutes or regulations. Instead, the legality of shipping cider products depends on how a state treats ciders in relation to other alcoholic beverages, which can vary from how ciders are treated at the federal level. Where states treat cider and wines the same, cider may be shipped under a state’s wine shipping rules; where states treat cider like beer, cider could only be shipped if it allows the shipping of beer. Therefore, careful consideration of how a “cider” is made and labeled must be taken when deciding whether it may or may not be shipped DtC.
The main factor to consider is the content of the product. If it gets its alcoholic content from the fermentation of real fruits or fruit juices, then it will more likely be treated as a wine and shipped under a state’s wine shipping laws. However, if the cider is made from apple- (or other fruit) flavored fermented malts, then it will be a beer in almost all states and not be permitted to be shipped under a state’s wine shipping rules.
Similarly, if the product is labeled as an “apple wine” (or similar fruits), then it is more likely to be seen as a wine and allowed for shipping under wine shipping rules. Whereas, if it is just labeled as a “cider,” that view of the product may not hold up.