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West Coast and California Logistics Blog

Key considerations in finding an alcohol logistics services provider

Thu, Mar 14, 2024 @ 06:38 AM / by Jim Marcoly

When looking for an alcohol logistics services provider, there are several considerations you should address to ensure that your products will be handled and distributed safely, securely, legally, and efficiently. In this article, we’ll tackle some of the most important of these and help you identify the type of 3PL that may be right for your business.


5 alcohol beverage logistics considerations

alcohol logistics services1. Does the 3PL comply with necessary regulations? The federal government has specific regulations governing the sale, distribution, and transportation of alcohol. As such, you will want to make sure that your 3PL provider is registered with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and in compliance with all federal regulations.

Different states also have their own regulations. To legally store alcoholic beverages in California, including beer, wine, and spirits, a 3PL must possess a Type 14 ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) license. This license, specific to the state of California, is obtained through a fairly invasive process involving ownership-level background checks and fingerprinting, along with adherence to various commodity-specific regulations and penalties. Without this license, a logistics company cannot legally store alcohol.

Compliance with these regulations is paramount to avoid legal issues, including obtaining the necessary permits and licenses.


2. Does the 3PL offer integrated logistics services? Many companies have taken a siloed approach to 3PL partnering for product distribution: hiring one for drayage, one for warehousing, and several for OTR transportation. With an integrated logistics service approach, however, most or even all of these services may be performed and/or coordinated by a single provider, if that provider has the core competencies to handle all these services proficiently. The benefits of outsourcing logistics operations to an integrated 3PLinclude the following.
  • Integrated 3PL services simplify your supply chain while removing any guesswork in terms of accountability
  • Integrated 3PL services speed your distribution operations as it owns the entire process
  • Integrated providers simplify systems integration and data sharing, allowing for a centralized hub for all EDI communications. 
  • Integrated providers offer flexibility (e.g., opening the warehouse or performing a pickup/delivery outside of normal hours)


3. Does the 3PL offer temperature- and/or climate-controlled services? Certain types of alcohol, like wine, can be sensitive to temperature changes. Maintaining the right temperature throughout the supply chain is thus crucial to preserving the quality and taste of these beverages.

Some 3PLs that provide integrated logistics services, like Weber Logistics, can also manage temperature-controlled distribution across drayage, warehousing and final delivery services. Our integrated refrigerated services – including our own fleet of trucks with reefer units – have the flexibility to handle multiple temperature ranges, support any stock rotation protocol, and provide time-defined delivery.

The same goes for our West Coast distribution centers, which can accommodate a wide range of temperature zones for everything from ice-cold frozen goods to specialized products that need to be stored at 80 degrees. Even our docks are temperature controlled. 

Importantly, Weber also has the food-grade standards, systems, security, and the space to keep products with high value and varying temperature needs intact and in the high-quality condition that you expect.


4. Does the 3PL have modern inventory management capabilities? Efficient inventory management is vital to ensuring that supply meets demand without leading to overstock or stockouts. This includes tracking stock levels, expiration dates (for products like beer that have a limited shelf life) and managing product returns.

In the modern 3PL warehouse, inventory is managed in real time through a warehouse management system (WMS). The WMS is a technology platform that enables the following inventory-aiding capabilities:

  • Real-time visibility and processing of all warehouse functions
  • Completely RF-driven warehouse functions throughout all warehouse activities
  • Ability to manage lot numbers and expiration dates for tracking and stock rotation
  • Custom business rules to manage and monitor potential supply chain issues that could cause delays, detention or chargebacks
  • Ability to perform kitting functions (assembling multiple SKUs into a single item), either before allocation or during the picking process
  • Flexible storage locations, sizes, and types (bulk, rack, shelving, etc.)
  • Customizable product rotation methods (by lot, receiving date, manufacture date, expiration date, etc.)
  • Customizable product allocation methods (days before expire, minimum shelf life, etc.)
  • Retailer compliance for ASNs, UCC case or pallet labeling, custom packing lists
  • Hundreds of reports available with ability to customize or create new ones as needed


5. Does the 3PL follow green logistics practices? With growing consumer demand for sustainable and eco-friendly practices, logistics services are increasingly required to implement green initiatives. This could include using fuel-efficient vehicles, optimizing delivery routes to reduce carbon emissions, and sustainable packaging solutions.

Such initiatives are right at home on the US West Coast, particularly in the Golden State where laws and regulations often mirror those of the EU instead of the US. The good news here is that any reputable logistics partner you work with inside of California will likely be compliant with the most stringent environmental regulations in the US (e.g., recent changes to California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations) and thus fall in line with your company’s own green logistics initiatives.


Turn to Weber for alcohol logistics services 

If you’re looking for the right 3PL to handle your alcohol beverage supply chain in the Western US, look no further than Weber Logistics. We offer:

  • Integrated 3PL services (distribution centers throughout California, asset-based drayage near the ports, and final-mile delivery services throughout the region)
  • Regulatory compliance at the federal, state and local levels
  • Vendor compliance expertise – and standing delivery appointments – with many of the top retailers and grocers in the region
  • Distribution capabilities from the Overweight Corridor just outside the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach, as well as service from the Port of Oakland

To learn more about what we can do for you and your customers, contact us today.

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Topics: Temperature Controlled Warehousing, logistics in California, integrated 3PL services, alcohol logistics

Written by Jim Marcoly

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