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We get it, you’ve found the secret to brewing the perfect beer for a summer’s evening, or perhaps you’ve uncovered an ancient recipe to making a superior wine. If you’re planning on shaping a career out of shipping your beverages overseas, there are a few things you need to know before making New Zealand your delicious destination.

Before shipping wine or beer across the vast waters, there are a few things you should probably be keen on.

1. You have to be listed as an importer with MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries)

To register as an importer with MPI, you or your company will have to be considered a New Zealand resident, and you’ll need to send in a Customs Application form. Once that form is filled out and submitted, be prepared to cough up roughly $130.00 (plus GST) in order to keep the application ball rolling.

2. You’ll need to find the IHS documents for beer and/or wine

Shipping and importing anything into a country other than its origin country is tricky business. Countries have declaration laws and regulations. According to the MPI Government website for New Zealand, the biosecurity measurements are in detailed IHS (import health standard) documents per product, which can be found through the links on their website. Heads up, if you’re importing a wine that was refined using animal products, you’re going to have to dig a little deeper to meet these strict requirements.

3. You might want to consider hiring a customs broker

Often, transport companies will hire a customs broker to get help with the importing process. Importing can seem confusing, and it helps to have someone on your side who knows their stuff. If you find yourself asking which documents you need to use or which form is the correct one, maybe it’s time to look into their services. Besides, according to their government website, some things offered by the New Zealand Customs Service can only be accessed through a registered broker.

Switching gears from the technical side of things, what about keeping that perfectly frothy beer from going bad before it even reaches New Zealand’s welcoming shores? We’ve got you covered!

4. Be sure to protect your brew from light exposure

Rule #1: a good beer stays out of the sun. If you’re a hops lover (or hops-creator), it may interest you to know that the bittering agent that protects beer from bacteria is light sensitive. In 2001 Dr. Forbes, a professor of chemistry at UNC, discovered that light causes the hops to break down into free radicals, leaving your beer tasting less than excellent. So less sun exposure equals better beer.

5. Ask yourself: To keg or not to keg? Find the right kind of storage

Now that you’re armed with the information I gave you above, figure out how you’re going to package your beer when shipping. Brown and amber glass are great light filtering materials, but a wooden crate is even better. Fill up a keg and you’ve got a cool, dark place to store your hops. Ultimately, you’ll need to trial and error the best kind of packaging so that when a New Zealander pops the top off your product, they’re getting a refreshing taste just as if they got the glass from your distillery itself.

6. When it comes to beer, you need to time it just right

Unlike a good wine that ages gracefully and only gets better with time, beer doesn’t respond to the ticking of a clock in the same way. If overseas shipping your beer to NZ is going to take more than a couple days, get creative with the period between bottling it and it’s arrival time. Beer does go stale and the longer it sits unrefrigerated, the more likely it is to lose its flavour. Try filler material or a double walled box to insulate the bottles.

Regardless of whether you are opening a wine business or a beer business, New Zealand is a unique country with high standards. Using their step-by-step guide provided on their government website is your best bet for staying above the law and in accordance with their restrictions. Plus, you now have this great 6 tip guide to get you started. Happy (and responsible) drinking!