Ordering Tax-Free Alcohol (Ethanol)

Procedures for Ordering Tax-Free Alcohol (Ethanol)

These instructions are for the purchase of alcohol for academic and research purposes, NOT for alcoholic beverages. Refer to the How Do I Buy guide for information on purchasing alcoholic beverages.

Contact UC Davis Health Purchasing for tax-free alcohol ordering procedures at the UC Davis Medical Center. If you require alcohol at a remote (non-Davis campus) location, contact Distribution Services customer service support at 530-752-0370.

Benefits of the Program

UC Davis has a special tax-free alcohol permit, issued by the federal government, which allows departments to purchase ethanol free of any federal taxes added.  in 2019, UC Davis saved over $500,000 through the use of the tax-free permit.  As of July 2020, alcohol with federal taxes added was $95 per gallon, while alcohol without federal taxes added was just $15 per gallon! 

There are strict federal regulations associated with the permit.  In order to maintain the cost savings associated with the permit, departments are required to follow specific purchasing, receiving, storage, disposal, and record keeping protocols, as identified on this page.

Required Training

The tax-free alcohol custodian is required to complete the online Tax-Free Alcohol Training before ordering or receiving tax-free alcohol.  This online 25-minute training will ensure that the tax-free alcohol custodian is compliant with all applicable university policies and federal regulations. 

General Tax-Free Alcohol Process: Responsibilities

The procedures below apply to UC Davis campus departments purchasing tax-free ethyl alcohol:

  1. Before a department purchases, uses, and stores alcohol, they must have a designated department tax-free alcohol custodian on file. You can look up your department's alcohol custodians online.  

  2. To obtain authorization to purchase and use alcohol, or add/ delete designated custodians, the department chair must complete the Tax Free Alcohol Custodians form, signed by the chair and any proposed custodians, and emailed to storehouse@ucdavis.eduThere is no restriction on the number of alcohol custodians assigned to a department/unit/organization.

  3. For authorization to purchase tax-free alcohol in excess of 25 gallons the department must also complete the Permit to Purchase Tax Free Alcohol in Excess of 25 Gallons request.

  4. Distribution Services will notify the department in writing of its authorization to purchase alcohol.

  5. The alcohol custodian is responsible for keeping a record of receipts and disbursements on the Alcohol Stock Control Custodian's Inventory Records form (available on the Forms page).

  6. The Conditions of Use of Tax-Free Alcohol form (available on the Forms page) must be fully completed and posted wherever tax-free alcohol is stored and/or used. 

How To Order Alcohol

  • Tax-free ethyl alcohol is available in AggieBuy from the Central Storehouse Catalog.
  • Designated department custodians are the only persons authorized to sign the Storehouse receipt for alcohol.
  • Designated custodians must pick up their orders, in person, at the Central Storehouse. Per hazardous transportation policy, PPM 290-65, alcohol can only be transported in an official UC vehicle.
  • For information regarding delivery, please contact specialservices@ucdavis.edu.
Size Packaging Description Central Storehouse Catalog Number Unit of Issue
54 gal.  Poly Drum TAX-FREE ETHANOL 190PRF 54GL 43196-113 GL

5 gal.

Poly Bottle TAX-FREE ETHANOL 190PRF 5GL 43196-118 GL
1 gal. Poly Bottle TAX-FREE ETHANOL 190PRF 1GL 43196-117 GL
54 gal. Poly Drum TAX-FREE ETHANOL 200PRF 54GL 43196-139 GL
5 gal. Poly Bottle TAX-FREE ETHANOL 200PRF 5GL 43196-110 GL
1 gal. Poly Bottle TAX-FREE ETHANOL 200PRF 1GL 43196-112 GL
16 oz. (1 pint) Poly Bottle TAX-FREE ETHANOL 200PRF 1PT 43196-115 PT

Disposal Process

Empty alcohol metal containers should be put in the green recycling bins with other aluminum cans. The cans must be empty, uncapped to allow all drops of alcohol to evaporate, and marked "empty".


More information is available in the Policy and Procedure Manual, section 350-20

Contact Noreen McIntrye or call 530-752-3882.