Now that we’ve discussed how to package your beer, let’s talk about who to ship your beers to. The three most common options people use are the Post Office, UPS, and FedEx. I’ve used all three of these options myself, so let’s dive into each service when it comes to shipping your home and craft beer.
Reading: How to mail beer
In general, I would not recommend shipping through the post office. Shipping beer with USPS is strictly prohibited, and if you’re caught shipping beer, you can be charged with a felony. That said, I have never heard of anyone being charged with a felony by the USPS for shipping beer. At best, I’ve heard of people getting warnings, but most likely throwing their beer away.
The only way the post office will know if you’re shipping beer is if one of your bottles or cans breaks and spills inside the package. wet boxes will be inspected and discarded if they contain beer. Also, if you’re trying to mail to save some money, there’s a chance the post office will open your package to make sure you’re actually shipping items like books. if they find beer, your beer will be sent straight to the trash or to some lucky mailman’s fridge.
even though i would advise against shipping beer with usps, people still do. I get it. USPS has the lowest shipping rates if you ship a package within your region. I also have a personal issue with the post office’s no beer policy when it comes to shipping homebrewed beer. my logic is this: if brewing homebrew is legal in every state and you don’t need a license to brew homebrew, why would it be illegal to ship homebrew with usps? Regardless of how you view this issue, the post office will most likely treat homebrew as craft beer and dispose of it if it finds that you ship beer with their service.
ups and fedex
for the purposes of shipping beer, ups and fedex are almost equal to each other. UPS rates may be slightly lower if you ship local and regional, while FedEx may be cheaper if you ship nationwide. whether you ship with one or the other comes down to personal preference, and the courier will most likely have a location closer to you. Also, because both UPS and FedEx are not run by the federal government, you won’t be breaking any laws if you ship beer with them. If a bottle or can breaks with UPS or FedEx, your package will be disposed of and you will be issued a warning, but you will not be charged with a felony. this assumes you are only sending beer for private use (ie sending beer to friends or home contests). If you ship beer for commercial use or for monetary gain without the proper license, you are breaking the law.
if you ship with ups or fedex, these are the steps to follow:
bottle your beer at home. If you’re not using crafty shipping, whale pods, or beer shippers for your bottles or cans, be sure to use bubble wrap, duct tape, and zip lock bags for your beer.
Print a shipping label at home and put it on your package. Please make sure your dimensions and weight are accurate.
drop the package off at your local ups or fedex location. if an associate asks what’s in your package, don’t tell them it’s beer. Even if you’re shipping homebrew to a certified homebrew competition (which is legal, by the way), this partner probably won’t let you ship your package. you can tell them that they are “gifts” or “souvenirs”. these short answers are usually enough to satisfy your question.
ups and fedex also have flat rate boxes so if you plan on shipping a large quantity of beer long distance then this could be a great option to save some money on your shipping. just make sure you follow the three steps above.
beer on a plane
If you’re traveling and want to bring beer on your flight, you can take beer in your checked baggage. this is completely legal, and it doesn’t matter which airline you use. When I found out about this, I was shocked. I always imagined the tsa would be very strict, but if you’re putting beer in your checked bag, then that’s fine. This most likely has to do with wine being allowed to check in your luggage, and beer just capitalized on that trend.
If you’re putting beer in your checked luggage, the most important thing you want to ensure is that the beer is packaged securely. use your ziplock bags, wrap them in some of your clothes, and make sure your beer is near the middle of your luggage.
I don’t ship a lot of beer in my checked baggage, but when I do, all my bottles and cans have arrived safely. In general, I don’t want to risk all my clothes getting covered in beer in case a bottle or can breaks. That said, good packaging is your friend. double zipper closure if that makes you feel more comfortable. your luggage will be thrown around and exposed to rapid elevation changes, so it won’t hurt to have more packaging for your beer. just make sure you leave room in your luggage for other items like clothes and toiletries 😉
Okay, that’s a good bit of information, so let’s quickly review:
good packaging is your friend. Actually, he can never overprotect his beer during shipping, but he can definitely overprotect his beer and risk it spilling everywhere. find good packing material and protect your bottles and cans during shipping.
Be discreet when shipping your beer. Pack and apply shipping labels at home before leaving the package at UPS or FedEx. I wouldn’t recommend shipping with usps because shipping beer with usps is explicitly against the law.
Sending beer on a plane in your checked luggage is legal. Make sure your beer is well packed so that in case a bottle or can breaks, your luggage doesn’t get covered in beer.
I hope all this information helps you! I learned all these lessons by shipping beer myself. In case I missed something, please comment below. Greetings and happy shipping!