How to become a liquor distributor

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Liquor distributors buy liquor products from wholesale companies, like vodka, whiskey or rum, and then distribute the products to resellers nationwide. The resellers then sell the liquor products to consumers and order more from the distributors as needed.

Though state laws for liquor distribution vary, there are basic rules that remain the same for every state.

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. You have four options to apply: phone, online, fax and mail. The first two are the fastest. Call 1-800-829-4933 from 7am to 10pm, and a representative will establish your EIN and provide it at the end of the call. If you instead wish to apply online, go to Once you have your EIN, you will have the required information to obtain licensing and permits.

Fill out the forms for a basic alcohol distribution permit. This is a federal form required of all distributors, resellers and importers of alcoholic beverages. The form title is TTB Form 5100.24. Fill in the requested information, including your EIN, and submit to the listed address

Join an alcohol trade association. This is helpful for several reasons: You will find companies looking for alcohol products, make new contacts in the distribution business and obtain advice from more experienced distributors. The International Beverage Network or National Beer Wholesalers Association are good trade associations to join.