Shipping

US Customers

Please note: A license from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission is not required to ship us samples. Please advise your shipper of this fact and download this document from the ILCC for your shipper’s records: ILCC Approval Letter for Tastings/BTI

Step 1: Login or Register on Our Trade Portal

Our trade portal is the easiest way to submit your products.

Step 2: Submit and Pay for Your Products on the Portal
Step 3: Ship Samples

Ship to:
The Lab
Beverage Testing Institute
4849 N. Milwaukee Ave, Suite 304
Chicago, IL 60630 USA
P: 773-930-4080

Please note: To comply with shipping regulations and to avoid a fine, you must include ASR (adult signature required) in the reference field of your airway bill and affix an ASR sticker.

International Customers

SUBMIT YOUR SAMPLES IN FIVE (5) STEPS

Please note: A license from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission is not required to ship us samples. Please advise your shipper of this fact and download this document from the ILCC for your shipper’s records: ILCC Approval Letter for Tastings/BTI

Step 1: Login or Register on Our Trade Portal

Our trade portal is the easiest way to submit and pay for your products.

Step 2: FDA Facility Registration (FREE)

If your facility (winery, brewery, or distillery/rectifier/bottler) is not already registered with the US FDA, you can register your facility through the FDA website at the following link:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FoodFacilityRegistration/ucm2006831.htm

Please note that you will be registering as a food facility because that is how the US FDA classifies beverage producers.

Upon registering your facility will be assigned a permanent registration number and PIN (Personal Identification Number) to be used for all future shipments from your facility to the US. You only need to register each facility once. There is no cost to register your facility with the FDA.

If your facility does not have a United State agent, please use the following information for Section 7 of the online FDA facility registration:

Name of US agent: Beverage Testing Institute
Country: United States
Address: 4849 N. Milwaukee Ave, Suite 304
Zip Code: 60630
City: Chicago
State: Illinois (IL)
Phone Number: (Area Code) 773 (Phone Number) 9304080 (Extension) 13
Emergency Contact Phone: (Area Code) 773 (Phone Number) 9304080
Fax Number: (Area Code) 773 (Phone Number) 9304598
Email Address: BTI@tastings.com

 

Answers to common questions and step-by-step instructions for registering your facility with the FDA can be found here:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FoodFacilityRegistration/ucm073706.htm

Step 3: TTB COLA Waiver Request (by OK Imports)

The TTB has stipulated that samples of alcoholic beverage imported strictly for use at trade shows and/or for soliciting orders may, under certain conditions, be imported without a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA). Importers of such samples may apply for a waiver from the COLA requirements from the TTB for products that do not already have approved COLA status.

In order to comply, we ask that you make sure that the following specifications for each product you are sending are filled in accurately:

  • The specific type and quantity (number of containers) of each alcohol beverage. “Type” for wine means identification as “red wine,” “white wine,” “sparkling wine,” and/or identification with a varietal if the wine is so labeled; for distilled spirits, the type means, for example, “rum,” “brandy,” “vodka,” etc., as appropriate; for malt beverages, type means “beer,” “ale,” “porter,” etc., as appropriate.
  • The country of origin of each product
  • The brand name of each product
  • Volume (container size) and percentage of Alcohol by Volume (ABV) of each product

On behalf of BTI, OK Imports will prepare a COLA waiver request letter and send it to the TTB for approval. Once approved, we will send you a copy of the COLA Waiver to include with your shipping documents. Do not ship any samples without the COLA Waiver.

Step 4: Commercial Invoice

For each shipment, you will need a Commercial invoice on your letterhead assigning OK Import as your importer of record.

Please note: If shipping via FedEx, you must write “see CCP PRN # 7713145” on the invoice.

Step 5: FDA Prior Notice (FREE)

For each shipment that you are shipping from your facility you must create a Prior Notice with the US FDA. You can create a free Prior Notice for each shipment and box online here:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/ImportsExports/Importing/ucm2006836.htm

You will need the following information to complete the prior notice with the FDA:

  • How many boxes you will be shipping
  • How many bottles are in each box and the bottle volume in milliliters
  • The total weight of each box
  • Carrier Name and Airway Bill number
  • The estimated date and time of arrival to complete the Prior Notice. Please consult your shipper or courier to confirm these details
  • Importer’s Info, including their FDA number (if using our affiliated importer, OK Imports, please see their info below.)
  • Consignee Info: OK Imports. See their info below
  • Port: Chicago, Illinois USA
  • Manufacturer’s Info

OK Imports FDA registration number: 15765668788

OK Imports shipping address and Permit number:

OK IMPORTS, INC.
4849 N. Milwaukee Ave, Suite 303
Chicago, IL 60630
Importer Permit #: IL-I-21232

Step 6: Shipping Your Samples

In compliance with the COLA waiver requirements, containers should include the following:

  • A Health Warning Statement on the back of each sample bottle:
    “GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems”
  • A sticker must also appear on the back of every sample container which reads: “For Trade Show (or Sample) Purposes Only – Not for Sale”
  • In the case of wine, another label must be affixed to the back of each bottle which reads: “Contains Sulfites”

 

Please be sure to have all associated shipping charges, including customs duties and brokerage fees, billed directly to you, the shipper, NOT OK Imports or us, the receiver. Make sure to check the Bill Shipper/ DDP (delivered duty paid) box on your airway bill. Any related shipping charges will be back-billed to you. Your results will not be released until payment has been made for all outstanding charges. All international customers must submit a credit card number (with expiration date) for any shipping charges incurred by OK Imports or BTI.

Address international packages to OK Imports (not BTI):

The Lab
OK Imports
4849 N. Milwaukee Ave, Suite 303
Chicago, IL 60630
Phone: 773-930-4379

FAQs

WHO CAN ENTER INTO BTI'S COMPETITIONS?

The Beverage Testing Institute reviews alcohol beverages and related product that are commercially available from any country. It is open to all producers, distributors, retailers, agents, importers, ad agencies or public relations offices.

HOW MANY PRODUCTS DO I NEED TO SHIP?

Beer: Ship (6) 12oz, 330ml (or equivalent volume) in bottles, cans, growlers, or crowlers
Wine: Ship (2) 750ml (or equivalent) bottles
Spirits: Ship (2) 750ml (or equivalent) bottles

WHICH CATEGORY SHOULD I ENTER MY PRODUCT INTO?

You can refer to our review schedules as a guideline. If you need more guidance, please email us.

WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENTS DO YOU ACCEPT?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, wire transfer (additional fees may apply), and U.S.-bank-checks. Please remember that payment is required for all entry and shipping fees before results will be released or published.

WHAT IS INCLUDED WITH MY ENTRY FEE?

Each scored entry receives:
– A blind tasting in dedicated sensory laboratory with expert judges
– A 100-point score based on our proprietary methodology
– A Professional tasting note
– Free digital shelf-talker image
– Use of our standard BTI award logo artwork
– A 3-year published review with your bottle image and your company information on Tastings.com for 3 years
– A Buy-It-Now button on your product’s review page to help boost your e-commerce sales

DO YOU HAVE VOLUME DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE?

Yes, please contact us for more information.

WHAT IS THE DEADLINE FOR ENTRY AND PRODUCT ARRIVAL?

Submission are due by the 1st of each month and samples are due by the 15th.

CAN I DROP OFF MY SAMPLES AT YOUR OFFICE?

Yes, our offices are open Monday thru Friday, 9am -5pm:

Beverage Testing Institute
4849 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Suite 304
Chicago, IL 60630

If you’re not able to drop off during those times please email us or call the office at 773-930-4080 to make other arrangements.

DO YOU OFFER PRIVATE UNPUBLISHED REVIEWS, EXPEDITED TASTINGS OR REVIEWS OF PRODUCTS NOT YET COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE?

We have a full-service consulting division available to help. We offer a range of confidential services: Quality control checks, pre-release/pre-launch reviews, developmental tastings, or comparative tastings and analyses with competitive brands. For more details, please email us.

WHERE WOULD I FIND INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR METHODOLOGY?

You can find more information about our methodology here.

CAN YOU HELP ME FIND A ILLINOIS DISTRIBUTOR?

Upon reviewing your product, we offer a unique solution for making connections with Illinois distributors. Contact us to learn more.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I CHANGE MY MIND AFTER I ENTER?

Entries may be cancelled up to 14 days after the deadline date. The entry fee can be refunded or be used as a credit for future use. We also offer the chance to replace your entry with a different product at no additional cost if you desire. Please email us and we will process this change in our system.

WHEN DO I RECEIVE RESULTS?

Wine and Beer category results are released and published 45 days from their deadline, and Spirit category results are released and published 60 days from their deadline. All paid products that have been entered and reviewed will be published on Tastings.com, no exceptions.

For non-published review options, please contact our consulting division.

WHAT IF MY PRODUCT RECEIVES A NOT RECOMMENDED (NR) REVIEW?

Upon release, you will receive a private link for your eyes only to see the tasting note describing the issue. NR reviews are not searchable on our site or by search engines.

HOW LONG ARE MY RESULTS GOOD FOR?

Your full reviews are published on Tastings.com for 3 years. After that they will be moved to our results archive. We offer the ability to renew your review, please contact us for more information

WHAT KIND OF POINT-OF-SALE MARKETING TOOLS DO YOU OFFER?

You can download your digital logo and certificate free of charge on the portal.

Soon, you will be able to order stickers, trophies, medals and other POSM from the portal as well.

Presently, please email our POSM Department to learn more and to place an order.

WHO DO I CONTACT FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT MY RESULTS?

You can reach out to one of our Directors for more information.

Published Review Program Rules of Entry

The Beverage Testing Institute published review program reviews alcohol beverages and related products that are commercially available in any country. It is open to all producers, distributors, retailers, agents, importers, ad agencies or public relations offices. Samples submitted must be the commercial, government label-approved package and MUST be available for purchase, either in the US or in their country of origin, at the time of entry. Entries that do not meet these criteria will be disqualified from the competition without refund. Do not place any stickers or obstruct front labels, your bottle will be photograhed for online publication. All participants agree to our usage policy. Entrants pay all shipping, customs and duty fees, no results will be released or published without full payment on account. Wine and Beer category results are released 45 days from their deadline, Spirits category results are released 60 days from their deadline. All paid products that have been entered and recommended by the panel will be published on Tastings.com, no exceptions. Entries may be cancelled up to 14 days after the deadline date. The entry fee will be refunded minus any banking fees within this period. You may replace your entry with a different product at no additional cost. If you entered and failed to ship samples or make payment, the record for your entry will be canceled after 21 days. We reserve the right to refuse service for any reason and refund your entry fee(s). Any samples shipped to BTI become BTI property 14 days after a given category deadline date and will be disposed of at our discretion. We reserve the right to modify these rules at our discretion.

Published Review Program Usage Policy

Beverage Testing Institute (BTI)is an independent, privately-owned corporation that conducts professional, blind tastings and reviews of beverage products for marketing and educational purposes. We do not accept sponsorship or advertising from any alcoholic beverage brand. Participation in BTI’s open-forum tastings and competitions is completely voluntary. The producers, brand owners, or marketers of the relevant brands enter the products that we taste into our competitive tastings. Each producer pays the standardized, per-product registration fee to enter their products into these tasting sessions or competitions. The registration fees cover the cost of administering the tastings and overhead associated with the distribution of the tasting results through various media.We conduct monthly tasting sessions by product category according to our annual wine, beer, and spirits tasting schedules, see our review schedules for more information. Participants are entitled to use only their individual product’s tasting note and score for marketing purposes. BTI’s logos can be licensed for the purpose of supplementing the promotion of an individual product’s review. Use of unauthorized copies or approximations of BTI’s logos for any purpose is not allowed. All uses of BTI’s name and content in press releases must be approved by Tastings/BTI prior to dissemination. You may submit a press release featuring our name, reviews, and awards, or any print ads featuring our results and logo, by sending it to us at support@bevtest.com. Because wines have the potential to beneficially change in flavor and structure over time, if we have reviewed a wine more than once, we will publish multiple reviews for the same wine (exact brand and vintage) and always note the date of tasting. We do this to track the evolution of a wine for our readers. Since spirits, and the majority of beers, are based on a fixed recipe and do not beneficially change over time once bottled, we only publish the most current review for a given spirit or beer, so that our readership knows the quality level of the brand currently in the market.

It is our policy to allow licensed, approved reprints of the total results of any specific, individual tasting session for advertising purposes for a specified period of time. Because subsequent or prior sessions may be conducted by different panels, feature different groupings of products, and the possibility of product recipe re-formulations, we do not allow compiled listings of products from different sessions for advertising purposes. Results of various tastings are published on Tastings.com in the format of a searchable guide that is updated with the most current review for a given product, as we taste it. If you wish to license our category results or review content, contact us at consulting@bevtest.com.

Our tasting panels include senior staff members of Tastings/BTI, all of whom have had a minimum of three years experience as Tastings/BTI panelists and are recognized as world-class sensory evaluation experts in the field of alcoholic beverages. We also draw on a large pool of qualified members of the wholesale, retail, and on-premise sectors that have been trained in the use of our proprietary evaluation methodology and software. All products are tasted in flights by category, in random order. Samples are tasted blind and neat in Riedel stemware. No more than fifteen-to-thirty products are tasted in a two-to-three hour morning tasting session. Our tasting room has been designed to minimize outside factors and optimize the critical perception of our panelists through a combination of natural and synthetic lighting and a standardized color and descriptive template.

Review Schedule

Deadlines are set for category reviews to manage of our tasting, production, and marketing schedules. Please enter and submit your wine, beer or spirits samples by the deadline dates to be included in a category review. We can taste your wine or beer out-of-schedule in our new release and portfolio review tastings.

Below are our wine, spirits, and beer deadline calendars. All entries must be registered by the 1st of each month and samples received by the 15th of each month.

"The consistency and broad consumer reach of BTI ratings and reviews really solidified the quality message of our artisan brand and helped us build a well-distributed and highly regarded specialty portfolio of beers."
Laurent-Xavier Gilbert,
VP Development at La Brasserie Unibroue
"The BTI rankings have an effect on what restaurants put on their wine lists, and ultimately on what you might be drinking."
Joe Gray,
Editor, Chicago Tribune
"BTI is still the outstanding tasting organization, uniquely independent. Keep up the good work!"
Jan Wells,
VP of Marketing, Cannon Wines
"Beverage Testing Institute is a professional operation with a professional approach. I like that they are committed to truly blind tastings and that their reviews are comprehensive and informative. We highlight the reviews in our tasting room and post them on social media; the consumer response is very positive. "
Edwin Richards,
Winemaker/Owner, Adastra
“Our BTI awards have helped us with our US distribution. Sales have increased form 0 cases to 250 cases in just a couple of months. We opened two new accounts in Seattle and New York.”
Eduardo Aguirre Victoria,
Terre de Vignerons
“[BTI's] Tastings.com is well known as a main reference for connoisseurs, experts and followers of spirits.”
Otto Flores,
Ron Barcelo
"We have used Tastings.com (BTI) for the last 5 years and couldn’t be happier. They always have great customer service and support! Not only do they have detailed professional reviews and tasting notes, the addition of the metallic stickers and shelf-talkers help us capture customers, and drive bottle sales. The trophies, medals, and printed awards are displayed as center pieces in our tasting room. Their website is easy to navigate and has great product information."
Mike Huffman,
Whidbey Island Distillery
“Our winery has had BTI rate our wines for a number of years. We use the bottle stickers and shelf talkers for both education and to enhance our marketing. We have had distributors request bottle stickers, and during wine pourings, we use the shelf talkers as a customer take away. We appreciate the information written by BTI since we find it to be concise, descriptive, informational, and a well rounded review of our wines.“
Janet Soderberg,
Alamira Wines, Vistaflores Estate

Brand Partners