Pay & Benefits

Marines are now allowed to ship booze with household goods, like other military branches

Marines are now able to ship their alcoholic beverages with their household goods, reversing a longtime policy.

Previously, Marines were only authorized to ship alcoholic beverages when they moved it themselves through a personally procured move. The Marine Corps policy differed from other branches of service, where military members have long been able to ship their libations.

The change was announced in a Marine Corps administrative message Thursday.

As with other military members, the ability to ship alcohol may vary depending on international customs or state-specific import laws.

In the past, there were instances when alcohol was shipped in containers and either spoiled due to the high temperatures during shipping, or there was damage caused by broken glass containers and spilled liquids, said Capt. Joseph Butterfield, a spokesman for Marine Corps headquarters.

“These types of issues contributed to the previous policy of not allowing alcoholic beverages to be shipped with the [household goods],” Butterfield said.

Officials decided to reverse the policy, he said, because there now appears to be less risk in shipping alcohol with household goods.

There has been more emphasis on the education of service members and civilian employees regarding the importation of alcoholic beverages into the continental U.S., so there is less risk of the shipment being held by Customs and Border Protection officials at ports of entry, Butterfield said.

“In addition, moving company representatives indicated that they have minimal issues packing alcoholic beverages inside the same containers as the household goods,” he said.

“This is in part due to packers understanding how to move these items in a safe manner, but also because service members are doing a better job of providing the correct documentation to ensure the shipment would Customs and Border Protection regulations.”

Those who want to ship their alcoholic beverages themselves through a personally procured move can continue to do so. Whether Marines are moving it themselves or having it shipped through a government-arranged household goods move, they should research international/state requirements and are encouraged to check with the installation household goods/transportation office for proper procedures.

As for anyone shipping home brews: It will need to be bottled as a microbrewery product and must meet requirements for shipping alcoholic beverages, Butterfield said. So check with the moving company well before moving day.

“Marines and Civilian Marines are advised that there is no climate control during transit or in temporary storage, and shipments are often exposed to extreme temperatures,” the MARADMIN reads. “This may cause some alcoholic beverages to freeze, explode, or spoil.”

If there is damage, service members can file a claim through the regular claims process.

More information:

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau: Personal importation of alcoholic beverages and links to websites of state alcohol beverage authorities. Shipping entitlements for alcohol.

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