Small Batch Brü

Recipes, techniques and tasting notes

preparing to ship beer

Competition Brewing Series: Shipping

The shipping window for NHC has come and gone, but don’t worry! There will always be a need to ship your beer. When it comes to shipping, there are some important things to keep in mind – even before your start wrapping up your bottles to put in a box for shipping.

Follow the Rules!

Follow the contest’s instructions when it comes to labeling your entries. It can really suck to be disqualified becasue you attached your label with tape instead of rubber bands. Pay attention to allowable bottle sizes and shapes. There are also sometimes rules on cap color. Don’t send your beers in recycled Sweetwater bottles (their bottles are branded around the neck) with American flag bottle caps.

These rules are in place for a reason. Generally, it’s so there are no distinguishing characteristics that would lead a judge to believe a beer belongs to his buddy. Read the contest guidelines. And then read them three more times.

There are also shipping rules. Make sure you write the address exactly as they have it posted on their website.

Keeping Your Babies Safe

You worked hard! (I think) You don’t want those bottles to break on their way to the competition location. I’ll just share my shipping technique. I have yet to have a bottle break in a box….knock on wood.

1. Wrap each bottle in bubble wrap and tape

This keeps the bottles from banging against each other

2. Place up to 2 bottles in a gallon size zip top bag

I only use name brand ZipLoc bags

3. Wrap the bags in a few layers of bubble wrap

4. Line the box with peanuts, more bubble wrap or old newspaper

5. Tape up the box and label accordingly

Who Ships Beer?

The short answer is – no one, unless you have a special permit / license.

Please, please, please DON’T USE THE US POSTAL SERVICE. This is illegal, and can get you into some serious trouble.

Instead, use a private delivery service. These private shipping services still require special permits to ship alcohol. That’s all I’ll really say about that. The best way to go about using these private shipping services is to create an online account and print your labels at home.

Try to choose the fastest shipping method possible. Avoid shipping long distances in the hotter months since most of these trucks aren’t air conditioned. Maybe keep your competitions within your home state during the hottest parts of the year.

If you have any questions about packing beer or shipping your beer for competitions, feel free to comment below or shoot me an email at [email protected]. Thanks for reading!