Homebrewed Beer Shipping Tips

Shipping homebrewed beer, and beer in general, can be a legal grey area for people, couriers, and states. Each state has it’s own laws, and each courier has their own policies regarding who can and cannot ship beer. What I’ve laid out below will shed some light on homebrew and beer shipping policies and laws.

1. Shipping Home Brew: Shipping home brewed beer to certified home brew judging competitions is legal.

2. Shipping Beer as Gifts: Each state has different beer shipping laws. Shipping beer to a friend or family falls under “Private Use”, and each state has different private use shipping laws. Be sure to know your destination state’s beer shipping laws.

3. Service Matters: If you are using a service like FedEx or UPS to ship beer, you can use ground delivery as opposed to residential delivery, and send your beer to someone’s place of work. Shipping to someone’s place of work can save you about $4 on your shipping costs because FedEx and UPS have surcharges for residential delivery.

4. Shipping Beer with USPS: Shipping beer with the post office is illegal, however, people still use this service. My advice would be not to use USPS, and stick with a private courier like FedEx or UPS.

5. Package at Home: When packaging your beer, print the labels at home or at your office, then box up everything before you take it to UPS or FedEx drop locations. That way all you have to do is drop off the package and get a receipt. If someone asks what is in the box, just say “souvenirs” or “gifts”. If you say beer, that will raise a red flag.

Hope this info helps! Are the laws murky? Yes. Do people still ship beer anyway? Yes. Basically, shipping homebrew or beer for private use comes down to good packaging, a courier you prefer, and discretion. If you’ve got that then, then you should be all set to get started!

Stephen Sullivan