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Packing and Shipping

Discussion in 'Beer Trading Talk & Help' started by Aussietravla, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. Aussietravla

    Aussietravla Zealot (90) Missouri Oct 7, 2013

    Hey all, im new to the trading, and was trying to seek some advice on mainly packing of beer. from reading most of the threads, i gather Fedex is the way to ship. can i get some hints and tricks on safely shipping beer please?

    thanks in advance.
     
  2. F2brewers

    F2brewers Moderator (440) Massachusetts Mar 12, 2005 Staff Member

  3. JMagee

    JMagee Aficionado (190) New York Jan 2, 2013

    Someone will eventually come and post the alewatcher blog post regarding trading, but I don't have the link handy, so here are just some random useful practices that I tend to use.

    1. Shipping: Fedex or UPS both work. I haven't had a bad experience with either. The rates for both seem to vary depending on where you're shipping from and to. If you have both locations nearby, I recommend pricing out both options because it's not always $ UPS < $ Fedex or vice versa.

    2. Create an on-line account for shipping. Being able to print out your shipping info from home makes it a lot easier to drop off your package already to go, than have to fill out the shipping form at the UPS/Fedex Store. Also, it's always a safe practice to put an additional copy of the shipping information inside the box. On the odd chance the information is damaged in transit or removed, having another copy inside may help remedy the issue.

    3. As far as packaging goes, you can never have too much. You'll get a lot of useful tips and tricks about how to best package beer.

    Personally, the rules I follow.

    a. Wrap each bottle individually with bubble wrap and use either rubber bands or something like Painter's tape to keep the bubble wrap secure. Being able to salvage bubblewrap and reuse it in the future makes the hobby a bit cheaper for everyone. Some people will put each bottle in a Ziploc bag to prevent leakage from seeping into the cardboard and alerting FedEx/UPS. If a bottle is broken, the result varies wildly. I had a bottle break last week in a box coming to me, UPS repackaged everything else, sent it back to California and credited the guy back his shipping. There are also stories of shipping companies immediately trashing the contents upon discovering it's alcohol and sending strongly worded letters to the person reminding them of their policies.

    b. If possible, you can try and pack the bottles upright. Laying bottles flat on their sides tend to increase the amount of "sloshing" you hear. Not that there's anything wrong with shipping liquids (olive oils, pickles, sodas, etc.) but it can sort of alert an overly sensitive store clerk. Also, you can include something like a package of tic-tacs or a box of rice etc. to try and distract from the sound. That being said, sloshing isn't an issue per se, but I know the first couple of boxes I shipped out I was acutely aware of the most miniscule of sloshes while I was trying to drop off the box.

    c. I like to always double box. The old Box-in-a-box gives you an extra layer of protection in case something happens in transit. Treat your beers more like you're shipping eggs than shipping rocks.

    d. Try and isolate your box from the elements as much as possible. Normal procedure (with exceptions) is to let the box be left without signature. So if the person you're shipping to works during the day, there is a chance the box could sit out in the elements for a few hours. A little extra packing tape around the corners/edges/sides helps maintain the structural integrity of the box.

    e. Don't try and cheat weight and dimensions. If you're super far off on the size and weight of your package you can be given a hard time about it (not always) so being honest is probably the best way to go, at least until you become friendly with your local shipper. Don't insure the box for an extreme amount of money either. Somewhere between $50-100 is pretty standard. I guess the general rule is "What you're doing is illegal, try to be as boring about it as possible."

    f. As a new trader you'll be expected to ship first. The most important thing you can control as a trader is your reputation. Be communicative, insightful, friendly, easy to deal with and you'll be rewarded with good beers in return. Be a pain-in-the-ass, non-communicative jerk, and you won't find anyone to trade with, regardless of what you're offering.

    I'm sure other people will chime in with additional pieces of great shipping information.
     
  4. TequilaSauer

    TequilaSauer Savant (380) Florida Dec 31, 2006

    USPS works fine too. I've shipped all 3 and all do fine. USPS's biggest drawback is that their tracking is terrible and so I tend to not use them too often.

    2 things I can say right now.

    1. You can never use too much bubble wrap or popcorn/peanut packing. Wrap bottles on all sides, make sure the box is densely packed so that if boxes are stacked on it, the box won't be crushed.

    2. Always know the weather for the next few days to where you're shipping. Beer will freeze.
     
    creepinjeeper likes this.
  5. I highly recommend the box in box. @PA-Michigander used this method and the beers survived the FedEx driver not getting out of his truck and throwing the box up the flight of stairs to my house. The first box blew out, but the 2nd held it all in tact. Didn't lose an OZ. I would go to your nearest liquor store and ask for some wine or bomber boxes. They fit in a 14x14x14 box perfectly with some bubble wrap around it. Plus, the dividers will help keep you bottles from moving around too much. Use this method with the other tips in this thread and you should be just fine.
     
    creepinjeeper likes this.
  6. Aussietravla

    Aussietravla Zealot (90) Missouri Oct 7, 2013

    Great, thanks for all the advice. this has been a huge help from all of you. my first shipment is 12x 12oz bottles, so i got a little work ahead of me.

    again, thanks all.
     
  7. nc41

    nc41 Advocate (660) North Carolina Sep 25, 2008

    Rule 1. Don't ship in freezing weather, you ship into the Midwest or NE right now your losing beer. Most ships are 2-3 days in un heated warehouses and trucks.



    foam the bottom of the box

    baggie each bottle and wrap each bottle with dense foam or bubble wrap

    layers of foam in between each layer.

    lots of foam around the perimeter of your bottles so much they cannot move

    it protects, insulates and helps buffer the sloshing too more is better

    foam is more important than a ton of xtras, your first priority is to get your base trade beers there safely,if you want to send multiple xtras use a bigger box
     
    creepinjeeper likes this.
  8. Jaycase

    Jaycase Advocate (740) Illinois Jan 13, 2007

    All great advice in the thread. I cannot recommend enough using rubber bands to secure the bubble wrap. This easily allows the next person to be able to reuse the bubble wrap (& the rubber bands too). With tape it's hit or miss (mostly miss it seems) whether the bubble wrap can be reused easily. As pointed out, every little bit of savings for the next person is a nice bonus.
     
    RavenForBeer and creepinjeeper like this.
  9. I'm going to have to start doing this next time I ship a box out, most of the boxes I'd received so far had used tape. So I did the same.

    Another way to save money is to check out dollar stores for packing supplies like bubble wrap. Make friends with places that normally receive shipments and ask if you can snag some boxes. They'll more than likely be thrown out, so many places are usually happy to give them away; just make sure they're in great condition and search for double-walled. As an added bonus if you can pick up boxes that originally held a non-dangerous liquid, that could mitigate "sloshing" speculation; I recently received dish detergent box, which I thought was clever.
     
  10. In addition to all of the great tips listed above, if foam is not readily available to you, use crumpled newspaper to secure the perimeter of the bottles so there is no movement. I also roll the bottle in newspaper before placing in a baggie, to absorb some liquid if it breaks. Great way to recycle that Sunday paper.
    I never mark my box "fragile" or place noise makers in the box to hide sloshing. I do not want to attract attention to my shipment. If you double box and use foam or newspaper, you can deaden a lot of that sound.
    One thing that I feel is absolutely necessary is to line you inner box with a contractors grade garbage bag, before you fill will padding and beer goodness. It should catch any leakage from seeping through the box and help to prevent discovery. Have fun and welcome to wonderful world of trading!
     
  11. nc41

    nc41 Advocate (660) North Carolina Sep 25, 2008

    I've been using stretchy wrap on my bottles to tighten the foam, no complaints not a clue if they're hard to open I've never opened one. But keeping it tight helps the slosh and quiets the box, trial and error, I hate sloshing boxes, but I also get used foam from work so volume costs me zilch.
     
    creepinjeeper likes this.
  12. Your talking about those foam sheets, right?
     
  13. nc41

    nc41 Advocate (660) North Carolina Sep 25, 2008

    Yea we get them everyday I just bag them up and take them home. Bubble wrap offers a lot of protection the foam protects and kills slosh. It's free it's what I use
     
    creepinjeeper likes this.
  14. Siggy125

    Siggy125 Savant (470) California Nov 10, 2006

    the sound of slosh is pretty hard to mask when shipping mult 750s on their side. I use an empty plastic water bottle with a few pieces of macaroni inside. Makes a hell of a racket and not a pain in the ass for the recipient to unpack. I've never had a problem.
     
  15. Thanks for the tip! I will have to be on the lookout when the trucks are unloaded at work. Before you posted, I actually did this with four bombers I shipped in a present trade. I was gonna wait for the feedback, but I am going to try to do this more often. Always looking for non-obvious ways to kill the sloshing. I'm always afraid that more noise makes the box a curiosity.
     
  16. nc41

    nc41 Advocate (660) North Carolina Sep 25, 2008

    Me too, silence is golden, no tic tacs, corn, etc
     
    tommyguz and creepinjeeper like this.
  17. Djsaturn1

    Djsaturn1 Savant (390) Minnesota Dec 12, 2012

    Hello Fellow BA's
    Just had UPS damage a package. I don't know how as it was a doublewall bottle shipper and the bottles were wrapped in bubble wrap. Anyway, has anyone had experience with a UPS claim? Do they reimburse for the beer although the legality is questionable?
     
  18. My one damaged box was not reimbursed by UPS. And I packed the shit out of it. Was totally their fault.
     
  19. I'm sorry to hear you lost some beer despite the packing. Shipping beer through UPS, as you know is a violation of their policies and the risk we take. I don't think it's a wise idea to bring more attention to the fact you did something against their company policy and ask for them to compensate you for it. Losing beer sucks, but it happens. I personally wouldn't pursue it.
     
    Aussietravla likes this.
  20. Aussietravla

    Aussietravla Zealot (90) Missouri Oct 7, 2013

    great advise all, thank you very much, as for UPS, with my past experience as a buyer for many companies. Do not use UPS. they are so careless and i have never had good luck with claims with them.
     
  21. Shamb

    Shamb Savant (265) California Jan 13, 2014

    I just found out a box I shipped got "damaged" and according to the UPS website via the tracking number all items were disguarded.
    My question is, should I have someone else RE-ship the items for me? I just dont want to go back into UPS and them tell me i've been black listed or something for violating their terms.

    Thankfully i'm able to get more of what broke.
     

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