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How Do I Import Saké?

Saké is a wine for purposes of importation and you must qualify as an importer if you plan to import saké.

The Federal Alcohol Administration (FAA) Act, which governs permit and labeling requirements, divides alcohol beverages into three categories; distilled spirits, wine, and malt beverages. In the FAA Act, the definition of wine expressly includes saké in § 211(a)(6) and again under the meaning of terms in 27 CFR 4.10.

Additionally, 27 CFR Part 1 requires a basic permit for importation and wholesaling of saké, as defined in § 1.10(b). You must apply for Importer Permit to include importation of wine.

Imported saké with brewer's alcohol or distilled spirits that is bottled and ready for individual sale can be labeled as saké, provided it is fortified with alcohol derived from rice. Imported imported saké that has had brewer's alcohol or distilled spirits added during any stage of manufacturing is taxed at the distilled spirits rate of $13.50 per proof gallon.

You cannot bring imported bulk saké with brewer's alcohol or distilled spirits onto a saké brewery. Imported bulk saké that is fortified with brewer's alcohol or distilled spirits can only be brought onto a distilled spirits plant.

Additionally, you must contact the Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division about the labeling of imported bulk saké fortified with brewer's alcohol or distilled spirits.

See Part 27-Importation of Distilled Spirits, Wines, and Beer for more information.

Page last reviewed/updated: 01/11/2013

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