In addition to excise tax, the government also applies a 7% GST to all imported goods.
Most imported spirits and liquors also have this tax of $88 per liter of alcohol, while beers and ciders carry a $60 per liter excise tax.
Permits and permissions
In addition to excise taxes and duties, you’ll need a permit to become an alcohol importer. The Singapore government has a really clear, well-explained guide to importing for those looking to make their start.
Check out this link for more information on permits and licensing requirements, depending on what you’re looking to do here.
For more information on all the legal stuff, have a look at this guide from Singapore tax authority. It’s a great overall resource for importers regarding warehouses, free trade zones and excise factories.
3PLs, bonded warehouses and delivery
Are you thinking of using a 3PL or a bonded warehouse to expand your business here? A bonded or liscensed warehouse can be an ideal option. Use a liscensed warehouse to store your wine in designated areas with the excise taxes and GST tax suspended until they're removed from the warehouse for sale or consumption.
As a further advantage, duty and GST are also suspended if the goods are sent back out for export or if the sale of the goods takes place from the warehouse itself. A bonded warehouse brings cash flow relief and can be great if you're using Singapore as a transit hub for the rest of the region.
There are literally hundreds of 3PLs or bonded warehouses to choose from, but here are four we’ve seen many of our customers using.
This global 3PL transports beverages and liquids all over the world, making them a good choice for alcohol distributors.
JF Hillebrand focuses on beer, wine and spirits. They offer temperature controlled warehousing and global frieght forwarding.
This liscensed warehouse specializes in the handling and storage of goods like alcohol, tobacco and other dutiable items.
CWT Limited is one of Singapore's largest chilled storage warehouses for wine. It offers bonded/liscensed warehousing options. Under CWT Limited, you'll find the Singapore Wine Vault, experts in wine handling.
These 3PLs and their warehouses know what they’re doing when it comes to warehousing wine, including having temperature controlled spaces, knowledge about excise taxes, and the best storage and import model for a business.
Once you've got the warehousing and distribution set up, here's a look at a few of your external delivery options in Singapore:
Zyllem: Same day delivery service around the island that connects companies and delivery drivers on their platform.
NinjaVan: on-demand delivery service across Singapore.
A few local distributors to look out for
All the dry stuff out of the way, who can you do business with once you get here? We have a few suggestions of distributors you should check out in Singapore:
TSA stands for Tastes So Awesome and that acronym says everything you need to know about these wine wholesalers. Founded by two wine lovers who are just looking for good tasting wine and beer to bring to Singapore, they import an interesting mix. They’re the exclusive distributors for several brands. Find out more on their website here.
Laurels Wines comes into the picture as one of the major alcohol distributors and wholesalers in Singapore. Positioned more for the luxury market, you’ll find they carry a wide range of wines from sparkling to non-alcoholic. Check out their website for more information.
Among the most established wine wholesalers and distributors in Singapore, CornerStone Wines has been in business since 1938. Now on its third generation of owners, CornerStone distributes wines, beers and spirits all around the region. They offer a range of storage options in their duty-paid and bonded warehouse. Find out more online.
Proof and Co.
Moving away from wines a bit, the artisanal cocktail is also becoming a favorite in Singapore - requiring the importation of craft spirits too. Proof and Co is a liquor distributor, offering highly curated unique spirits, mostly from the USA. They started as the suppliers behind 28 Hong Kong Street, (voted Asia’s number 1 bar), and have grown from there. Their website is here.
If you're looking for more information on distributors and retailers in Singapore, there's an extensive list here.