How To Ship Beer
Shipping beer has a lot of logistical perils. Whether it’s the packing of your beer, or the legal hurdles you must how when it comes to shipping, it’s not an easy task. If you’re an experienced beer shipper, then this won’t come as news to you, but if you’re just getting into homebrewing or beer trading, then there are some basics you need to know to make this process as smooth as possible.
HOW TO PACK YOUR BEER: If you are shipping 12oz bottles, then you are in luck! Craft Shipping’s 12oz bottle inserts are the perfect size insert for you to protect your beer during shipping. Just make sure the bottles aren’t the short, stubby bottles, which are a little too wide for my inserts. After that, all you need is the right sized box!
RECOMMENDED BOX SIZES: 12"x8"x4" box for 2 bottles, 12"x8"x8" box for 4 bottles, 12"x12"x8" box for 6 bottles, 12"x12"x12" for 9 bottles.
GETTING BOXES: Amazon is an option for finding boxes, and I have links to the recommended box sizes on this Crafty Shipping page. Also, if you have a local box supply store, they will most likely have the sizes you need.
BEER PACKING ALTERNATIVES: If you’re shipping cans, then there are a couple good options for you as well. Check out Whale Pod Shippers, or Beer Shippers. If you are shipping larger format bottles, like a 750mL bottle, then Uline or a local packaging store will have good options for you.
DIY PACKING: If none of those options sound good to you, then there is always bubble wrap, plastic bags, and packing peanuts. For the most part these options work, you just have to be extra careful with the packing to make sure your beer isn’t rattling around during shipping.
SHIPPING HOMEBREW: Shipping homebrewed beer to certified home brew judging competitions is legal. If the competition is certified by the BJCP, then you can definitely ship beer to it. Just make sure to use UPS or FedEx when shipping beer because shipping with USPS is strictly illegal.
SHIPPING BEER AS GIFTS/TRADES: 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.
SHIPPING SERVICES: 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. Although shipping beer with FedEx and UPS isn’t strictly illegal, you technically do need a contract to ship beer with them. For the average homebrewer or beer trader, you won’t get that contract. What you can do is just tell the courier you are shipping “gifts”, “glassware”, or better yet just don’t tell them anything. Most associates won’t ask what’s in your box, so just drop off a pre-labeled package and you’re good to go.
COURIER RATES: In general, if you are shipping less than 1,000 miles, then UPS has lower rates. If you are shipping beyond 1,000 miles, then FedEx will have better rates.
I hope this information comes in handy, or if I’ve missed anything, then feel free to let me know! Happy brewing, happy shipping, and happy sipping!