Whether it’s to a competition, or sending a few bottles to friends, shipping homebrew has its challenges. First, how do you package beer to make sure the bottles arrive intact? Then, there are the legal hurdles with knowing which courier to use. Plus, every state has it own unique laws regarding shipping alcohol. It’s a lot to think about, but our friends at Crafty Shipping make the packaging part easy, and they were kind enough to help us put this article together clarifying the rules and regulations of shipping homebrew.
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How to Package Homebrew for Shipment
First, let’s discuss how to properly package beer for shipment.
You can use bubble wrap, plastic bags, packing peanuts, and prayer to go along with a spare box you have at home. For the most part this option works, you just have to be extra careful with the packing to make sure your beer isn’t rattling around during shipping. If you are shipping standard 12oz bottles, then you are in luck! Crafty Shipping’s 12oz bottle inserts are the perfect size insert for you to protect your beer during its long journey. Just make sure the bottles aren’t the short, stubby bottles (like Sierra Nevada’s), which are a little too wide for these inserts. After that, all you need is the right sized box!
Recommended Box Sizes for Shipping Homebrew:
- For shipping 12oz bottles:
- For shipping 22oz bottles, 19.2oz cans, and 500ml bottles:
If you are someone who has done DIY packaging in the past, it may seem weird that all you need is the Crafty Shipping insert and box to ship these bottles, but that really is all you need. Crafty Shipping has passed the FedEx packaging design tests multiple times, all without breaking a bottle. Check out their instagram for test videos!
How to Ship Homebrew Legally
Shipping to Certified Homebrew Judging Competitions
Shipping home brewed beer to certified home brew judging competitions is very common. Some states, like California, go as far to say that it is legal to ship beer to a certified competition, but that doesn’t mean your UPS or FedEx associate knows that. Check out this page, which lists the laws regarding shipping homebrew for each state. The best way to avoid issues with your carrier is good packaging so your bottles don’t break. If a UPS or FedEx associate does ask what you are shipping you can say something like “homemade hot sauce”, however, they most likely won’t ask what your shipping, and if you have a shipping label already attached to your box, all you have to do is just drop off your package. It’s also common to ship “yeast samples” rather than “homebrew” or “beer”.
A quick note, do not ever attempt to ship beer with USPS. It is strictly illegal to ship beer through the Post Office. UPS and FedEx are private companies, so it is not against the law to ship beer with them.
Shipping Homebrew as a Gift for Private Use
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. How strictly these states decide to enforce these laws is up to them, but most state ABC’s aren’t looking to bust a homebrewer sending a few bottles to their Dad. Again, the best way to avoid issues with shipping is good packaging so your bottles don’t break and spill beer everywhere. Check out this page, which lists the laws regarding shipping homebrew for each state.
Commercial vs. Residential Delivery
If you are using FedEx or UPS to ship beer, you can send your beer to someone’s place of work. Shipping to someone’s place of work can save you about $4.00 on your shipping costs because FedEx and UPS have surcharges for residential delivery.
So that’s a lot of info! If you’ve never done it before, it may seem overwhelming. Not unlike brewing beer, however, once you ship your first couple of beer packages you will get the hang of it. Plus, you’ll be able to start getting more feedback on your beers from out of town homebrew competitions, as well as being able to share your beers with more friends!
Thanks for Stopping By!
Huge thank you to our friends at Crafty Shipping for partnering with us on this article! Be sure to check them out at www.craftyshipping.com, or check out their products on Amazon!
Do you ship your homebrew and have any tips to share? Do you have other questions about shipping homebrew for the BrewTogether Community? Leave a comment below or post in the forums!
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