If you have ever brewed up a batch of your own beer you have probably wondered, “How can I send this to people so that they can give it a try?”
If you love craft beer and you move to a new city then you have probably wondered “How can I get some of that great beer I loved back in my old home?”
If you look around forums, blogs or ask people what they do when they are trying to ship beer then you can be led to the conclusion that there really is no wrong way to ship your beer.
As long as you get the bottles and cans safely to your intended destination, then you are doing it right.
The History Of Beer Shipping
We all learnt in school that once upon a time the federal government decided to ban all production, importation and distribution of alcohol within the United States.
Thankfully the idea did not last very long and prohibition was lifted in 1933.
However its passage also gave the states the power to create their own legislation pertaining to the regulation of alcohol. To this day there is still not one overarching set of rules that clearly explains how to ship beer.
The law can vary from one county to another within the same state. The big players in the shipping world make it very specific when outlining their policies and who they work with.
Within the Postal Services shipping restrictions alcohol is listed as a restricted domestic item.
Shipping beer is not as simple as throwing it in a box and dropping it at your local FedEx. Typically you are not permitted to ship beer on your own accord to someone else regardless of where you live.
However all is not lost as if it was this article would end here. There are companies specifically designed to allow you to ship beer to whoever you want and we will be covering them shortly.
How To Pack Beer
So now you know the history lets cover how you pack the beer you wish to send. You will need the following supplies:
- A corrugated cardboard box
- Packing tape
- Bubble wrap
- Zip lock bags
These materials are all easily accessible from your local Staples, Office Max, or Walmart any of them will have what you require.
Now you have everything you can wrap your beer bottles and cans in bubble wrap and then tape the bubble wrap together, then put your bubble wrapped beer into a zip lock bag.
Once you have the beer packed up then you can put the beer into your corrugated cardboard box.
Add some padding to make sure the beers do not shift around and finally tape up the box. Make sure to apply your shipping label and then drop off at your local courier.
The drawback to shipping beer with basic materials is how well you package your beer comes down to your preference.
Maybe you want to protect your beer and you use a lot of bubble wrap. Your beer will be safe but at the cost of filling the box with bubble wrap and leaving little room for any other bottles.
If you wish to do the opposite and fit more beers in the box then you are leaving it open to damage.
So if you are looking for the best way to protect your bottles and cans without having to invest in lots of different packaging material then there are some options available that work really well.
Crafty Shippers are the perfect packaging material for shipping 12oz bottles of beer. The inserts work great for homebrewers who are shipping to family and friends, as well as any competitions in the local area.
It works perfectly for shipping your standard bottle size too, they can be sold on sites such as Amazon and will always ensure that the beer arrives perfectly with no damage.
A company like Whale Pod is perfect for shipping cans. Many breweries are now making their beer in cans and this service is ideal for people who plan to trade beer, as well as the breweries who churn out their 16oz cans.
They also have 12oz cans available for shipping in their containers, both of these shipping options are available on the Whale Pod website.
Much like Crafty Shippers the containers work great and will make your cans be perfectly undamaged upon delivery.
Now you know how to pack and companies you can go to, let’s find out which couriers you can entrust with your beer.
Shipping beer with the Postal Service is strictly prohibited and if you are caught then you can be charged with a felony.
However the odds of being charged are incredibly low, most people who are caught will be issued a warning and your beer will be thrown out.
You will only be caught if your beer spills in the package as wet boxes are investigated and then disposed of.
If you ship with media mail to save money, there is also the chance that your box will be opened to ensure you are shipping the media you claim to be.
Overall you should avoid the USPS unless you have no other options.
UPS and FedEx
UPS rates can be less if shipping locally and regionally whilst FedEx can be more economical if you are shipping across the country. It is personal preference and will come down to which is closer to you.
You will not break any laws shipping with them as neither are run by the government. Much like the USPS if any bottles break the package will be disposed of, and you will be issued a warning.
Both have flat rate boxes so if you plan to ship a lot of beer over a large distance then this is a great option to save money on your shipping. But always be careful.
If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘How To Perform A Swamp Cooler Homebrew Experiment‘.