Bringing alcohol into Canada

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I might be going on a business trip to Ontario, but I'm also thinking of possibly bringing in some alcohol to share with colleagues. I understand that liquor is rather expensive there, although I might just go for beer - something that might be difficult to obtain there.

But the duty free limits seem really low. Up to 1.14 liters of liquor, 1.5 liters of wine, or 8.5 liters of beer. I'm thinking maybe a case of Pliny the Elder, where they have that oddball 510 ml bottle, so that would be 6.12 liters.


ProductMetricImperialEstimates
WineUp to1.5 litres of wineUp to 53 fluid ounces Two 750 ml bottles of wine
Alcoholic beveragesUp to 1.14 litresUp to 40 fluid ouncesOne large standard bottle of liquor
Beer or aleUp to 8.5 litresUp to 287 fluid ouncesApproximately 24 cans or bottles (355 ml each) of beer or ale.

Anyone done this? What I was hoping for was maybe a bottle of Scotch plus the case of beer (which I'd pay duties), but apparently if any category goes over, the entire amount is subject to provincial duties/fees. And for liquor it's really, really high (maybe 60% of retail where I'd need a receipt). Or if any categories are mixed and matched. And it's near impossible to find what that would be if I'm a visitor. All I can find is a resident set of duties. I guess I could make it a lot easier by just staying under the duty free limit.
 
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I took a 12 pack cans into Canada in the 1990's. Declared it at the point of entry, and it was no big deal. Do not know what the current rules are. Apparently I could have done a 24 pk case.
 
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I'd just bring a bottle of Scotch, no point in taking a case of beer on a plane. Unless it's shiner bock. :giggle:
 
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y_p_w

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I'd just bring a bottle of Scotch, no point in taking a case of beer on a plane. Unless it's shiner bock. :giggle:

Huh? Having had Shiner Bock, I don't get the fascination. I do remember we got it because there were some people from Texas there.

I was thinking one of these:

IMG_2204.JPG


But all I can seem to find is this for Ontario residents, from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario:


I was thinking maybe a 750 ml bottle of Ardbeg Wee Beastie. I guess their photo shows the 700 ml bottle sold in some countries, but I've only seen 750.

005%20Ardbeg%20Wee%20Beastie%20bottle%20angle-Grey%201200x1600px.jpg
 
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You're wise to aim for bringing the limit or under, but my experience bringing liquor home from Mexico was that the CBSA agent I dealt with was not inclined to charge me duty for an extra bottle of liquor. I was up front about the fact that between my wife and I, we had two bottles of Don Julio 70 and a bottle of mezcal, and was prepared to pay the duty. I suspect the agent appreciated the honesty and handled the situation accordingly.

Of course, you could run into a stickler.
 
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I would think bringing a case of beer on a plane would be a genuine PIB. Unless its something your friends just have to try and can't get there, bring a bottle of liquor and call it good.
 

y_p_w

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You're wise to aim for bringing the limit or under, but my experience bringing liquor home from Mexico was that the CBSA agent I dealt with was not inclined to charge me duty for an extra bottle of liquor. I was up front about the fact that between my wife and I, we had two bottles of Don Julio 70 and a bottle of mezcal, and was prepared to pay the duty. I suspect the agent appreciated the honesty and handled the situation accordingly.

Of course, you could run into a stickler.

My big worry is that I have no idea what the rules are for a visitor once one goes over. And apparently the duties are all provincial and not federal. All I can find out for visitors to Ontario is that they exist, but nothing concrete about what they are. What I did find (pertinent to Ontario residents) was about 59% border levy on liquor, so I would need receipts. No import duty if it's American made, although I was thinking Scotch. And then something based on the absolute alcohol content, so I guess 47% would be really high.

And the thing I'm really trying to figure out is if one goes over, why it **all** gets subject to the duties. I know when I travel almost anywhere else, I can declare what my duty free allowance is, then pay duties on what's not declared as duty free. And in the US it's just 3% on any excess, plus a rather nominal Internal Revenue Tax. What would work well for me is if I could declare one liquor bottle as duty free and the beer at a rather reasonable duty (based on reading the Ontario resident duties for beer).
 

y_p_w

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I would think bringing a case of beer on a plane would be a genuine PIB. Unless its something your friends just have to try and can't get there, bring a bottle of liquor and call it good.

Pliny the Elder. Considered one of the finest bottled beers anywhere in the world. It's considered the original west coast imperial IPA and still the standard which others are judged. Some think it's overrated, but it's something that beer lovers would appreciate anywhere. I remember going to Southern California and suddenly seeing someone wearing a Pliny the Elder T-shirt, and I even pulled out the bottle I had waiting for an opportunity to drink it. Or drinking it on a train (where personal alcohol was allowed) and someone commenting on it. It's a hop bomb that's still extremely drinkable.


I would have to pack it carefully though. I still have an empty case and I'm pretty sure it would fit nicely in my carryon sized luggage, which I would of course need to check in. Then protect it with clothes and just hope that nothing breaks. Maybe gather as much padded shipping airbags as I could find, although I tend to throw them away.

And someone mentioned CBSA. My experience were that they were extremely polite, although obviously asking questions looking to trip people up. But in a polite way. US CBP agents could vary, and some were really asking bizarre questions. Some were frankly rather rude. But I suppose I could buy a bottle of duty free alcohol at the airport on the way home, although I'm not sure how that works with preclearance. I figure it should be a lot cheaper than buying liquor at a LCBO store. Sounds a lot like Utah.
 
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When you order a pint of beer in Canada make sure you receive an Imperial pint and not a US pint. Check the glass size and if they try and rip you off with a US pint send it back!

I've brought back into Canada more then my limit and declared so at the boarder. The customs agent didn't bother charging me duty. Depends on the agent but if you bring a 750ml bottle and a 12 pack of beer you should have no problems.

Mill street cobblestone stout is a good Ontario beer.
 

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When you order a pint of beer in Canada make sure you receive an Imperial pint and not a US pint. Check the glass size and if they try and rip you off with a US pint send it back!

I've brought back into Canada more then my limit and declared so at the boarder. The customs agent didn't bother charging me duty. Depends on the agent but if you bring a 750ml bottle and a 12 pack of beer you should have no problems.

Mill street cobblestone stout is a good Ontario beer.
I order an 18 oz or 21 oz because that’s what’s on the menu…
 

y_p_w

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I was looking at the LCBO website and it looks like if I want a bottle of Scotch it may not be that expensive. Certainly less than if I had to pay duty on any Scotch brought in at 60%. And I'd also have to pay my state's sales taxes unless I got it duty free at the airport on the way over.
 
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Following is for crossing border by car. Don’t know how it works crossing by air.

Although I have not crossed the border recently, what I used to do was to stop at a Duty Free store (on US Side) just before you cross into Canada. Purchased the legal amount of alcohol and cigarettes. The Duty Free Store then delivers it to you at the border.

1. Make sure you declare it to Canadian Customs when you cross.

2. Do not bring any back into USA when you return. (Don’t misunderstand the words “Duty Free”. It means you are not paying USA Taxes. Has nothing to do with Canadian Taxes).

3. If you must bring back a half bottle, or a couple packs of cigarettes, MAKE SURE YOU DECLARE IT to US Customs at the US border. If you are honest with Customs, half the time they will just let you through. The worse that can happen is you will have to pay duty on the alcohol or cigarettes you purchased Duty Free.

If you don’t declare Duty Free stuff when you return, and they search you and find it, it’s going to cost you BIG TIME.

Again, this is for land crossing by car. I used to cross mostly at Queenston-Lewiston Bridge but sometimes at Buffalo Peace Bridge or Whirlpool Bridge.

Another tip. If crossing by car, get a Yellow Card from your Insurance agent for proof of insurance in Canada.

I’ve crossed many times (but not lately,
but if any rules have changed, please correct me.

If driving in Ontario, be very careful and alert on the QEW and the 401.
They drive FAST and the OPP don’t want to know nothing if/when they stop you.
 
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I crossed into by Canada by vehicle and back a number of times in the '90's and early 2000's. It may be different now. I always brought along a carton of cigarettes, which I told them about and was permitted. Then, an Imperial qt/. of Bushmills single malt and/or a case of beer at the duty free shop.
 
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I order an 18 oz or 21 oz because that’s what’s on the menu…
US pint is 16oz, Imperial pint is 19.22oz. They sometimes try and sell Pints in US sized glasses here in Canada, this causes us to get mad as legally it must be a imperial pint.
 
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