1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Shipping to the States? and Bottle Shops in Brussels?

Discussion in 'Benelux' started by Davihaw, May 1, 2013.

  1. Davihaw

    Davihaw Savant (320) Illinois Jun 19, 2012

    I have a friend that travels to Brussels once a month and I am just finding this out now! He has agreed to bring me some beers back on each trip, but insists that they be shipped. He stays at the Hotel Ibis in Grand Place:
    Rue du Marché aux Herbes 100
    1000 Brussels, Belgium
    I don't want him to have to go too far out of his way. Is there a shop close to that hotel that sells Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen and I have heard a few shops will occasionally carry Westy.
    Also, what is the process of shipping beer back to the states? Does it have to be declared? Can I send a pre-paid shipping label with him?
    Any info is greatly appreciated.
  2. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    Can't help you with the process, but I know it's expensive. Like, more expensive than paying $100 for a 2nd checked bag.
  3. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    Thecherryman likes this.
  4. Davihaw

    Davihaw Savant (320) Illinois Jun 19, 2012

    Ha! Thanks. I knew it was going to cost a lot, but I'm hoping not $100+
  5. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poobah (1,125) Wyoming Sep 14, 2002

    Prepaid shipping label? As in Fedex/UPS? Every one of my purchases from Belgium started off with their local PO and was delivered by the USPS. Expensive as hell but worth it to me for what I bought. I shudder to think what charges you'd have to belly up to if you went the Fedex/UPS route.
  6. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    So what does it cost to ship a 12er of bombers using the Belgian post? I'm going next week and was planning on sending a case back as checked luggage...it costs $100.

    Also, Pako's! Most underrated IPA ever.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  7. Depending on the airline, it's much cheaper and legal to bring it back as additional baggage on the plane.
    tacosandbeer and DStoked like this.
  8. Dennoman

    Dennoman Savant (495) Belgium Aug 20, 2011

    Regular bPack World is by far the cheapest and best option to get something out to the States. The US falls into a cheaper category than "Rest of the world" and is somehow equal to "Europe outside of EU".

    Up to 5 kgs: €32.40 (2 bottles with packaging)
    5-10 kgs: €64.80 (5 bottles with packaging)
    10-20 kgs: €97.20 (11 bottles with packaging)
    20-30 kgs: €129.60 (23 bottles with packaging)
    claaark13, riko and MrKennedy like this.
  9. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    This is what I figured.
  10. Duffman929

    Duffman929 Savant (360) Illinois Nov 27, 2010

    Dave, you don't really need clothes on the trip. Seriously, think about it.
  11. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    Oh I'm not planning on bringing many. I'm just planning on bringing back 2 pieces of luggage full of beer.
  12. On Delta/KLM last year it $70US to bring a 12 bottle styro shipper back full, as luggage, no problem what so ever.
    claaark13 likes this.
  13. 70 dollar is cheap. The lowest i can ship those 12 bottles would be 66 euro/85 dollar or so...

    Biggest problem at the moment is that a lot of parcels get into problems lately @ customs and/or the shipping company....

    claaark13 likes this.
  14. Definitely the extra carefully packed checked in bag ! ! !
  15. claaark13

    claaark13 Advocate (635) Indiana Nov 29, 2007

    I agree with the other guys about bringing it as additional luggage. Luggage will save you some money when compared to bPost prices. The problem you'll run into though is knowing exactly where you are on weight. I had to leave 2 bottles behind at the Brussels airport because we were over. Even then, it came down to the nice guy at our airline just giving me the go-ahead when I was about 1kg too heavy on one of the bags. My wife was unhappy with me that day.
  16. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    We too left bottles in the airport (still hurts to think about), but flying on British Air my second bag was only 46 Euro, which wasn't bad. Many airlines charge $100 for the second bag, which is pricey, but I would argue it's still worth it. Also, the lady at British Air was very nice and allowed my bag to be 1 kg over and my friend's to be about 3 kg over. She asked what was in it, and he said rare beer, and she let it through.
    claaark13 likes this.
  17. Hey Everyone,

    So next month I'm traveling to Europe and spending a week touring the breweries of Belgium. While I'm there, I'd love to take home as much as I can, particularly from places like Westy and some of the smaller breweries that don't export to the US. However, you're no longer allowed to bring liquids onto planes, and I don't trust putting it in my checked luggage, as it's likely to be smashed by baggage handlers. Gathering up all of the beer that I want, then shipping it back to myself in the US, though costly, seems like the best method.

    Has anyone done this before? Do you know what the rules and regulations are? Any other advice?

  18. Not sure about Belgium, but shipping is not cheap. I was shipping stuff from NL a few years ago and the rate was 100 Euro (about $133) for 20kg box at the post office (smaller boxes even more expensive per kilo). Insurance extra and that's the largest box that was allowed (size limitations as well, but with beer bottles you won't reach those). Some services (DHL and TNT Post--the latter being the Dutch postal service that acts as a private service in the rest of Europe) were in the same price range but with different policies--note that postal service is nominally private. There are some private shipping options that involve the old-school methods (literally shipping). I'm not sure that's the best option, however, even if it's cheaper--there is extra exposure to moisture and the handling is far more unpredictable. Final option--you can always ask at the breweries if they will ship. Costs may be higher in some cases, lower in others, but it's always the least risky option, as they usually know what they are doing. If you're shipping several $20-30 bottles, the shipping costs are easily justified. But don't expect to save money on regular stuff you can get here--it's much cheaper in Belgium, but the shipping will raise costs above what you can get it for here.
  19. Stugotzo

    Stugotzo Savant (495) Florida Jun 13, 2012

    Bring an extra suitcase, a shit-ton of bubble wrap, and pack it in your checked baggage.

    Search the threads - there are dozens already covering this. This is how 99% of people do it with 99% success rates.
    tacosandbeer and DStoked like this.
  20. shnsajax

    shnsajax Savant (295) Texas Jul 2, 2013

    I just bubble wrap the bottles and check my bag, so far has worked every time. Either way considering how much you can get in Belgium that is not available here and for the price it's worth it. For example you can get 33cl bottles of St. bernardus for $1 euro in grocery stores. There are some great stores everywhere, if in Brussels there is a store over in the Grand Square by Manneken Pis, I think its called Delirium (just like the beer). Great store with lots of memorabilia too.
  21. I've brought many bottles back on many flights, including beer from Belgium and never had a single one break. If packed well, your bottles will be fine in checked bags. I put each bottle in a sock and pack clothes around them so they can't move.
    tacosandbeer likes this.
  22. Just note--I have nothing against this method. But consider the following: 20kg~44lb/100 Euro; Extra luggage <50 lb/50-90 Euro, depending on airline, plus cost of shipping supplies, but you need that anyway. Airlines hold no responsibility for anything damaged, broken in transit, except for the bag itself. Your success recovering from various postal services may vary, but they are, on average, better than airlines for that. Convenience? Luggage wins for sure. And you can distribute the bottles between different pieces of luggage, so that they are not all in one place.

    PS: It just occurred to me that if Cantillon was able to sell through the duty-free shops, they'd make a killing. As is, it's mostly InBev/Leffe controlled...
  23. Stugotzo

    Stugotzo Savant (495) Florida Jun 13, 2012

    When I flew to Belgium in April 2011, one checked bag was included in the airfare. The limit was 50 lbs. (22.7kg)

    At the time, I wasn't into beer really. I drank Stella, Leffe, Guinness... and tried a lot of the local beers while there. But, I wouldn't have known a Delirium Tremens from a Palm.
  24. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    Don't mess around with shipping. Just pack your bags carefully. Between my friend and me we brought back 3 suitcases stuffed with beer, and not a single bottle broke.
  25. Does stuffing a suitcase full of beer matter to customs? Do I need to declare it all?
  26. tinypyramids

    tinypyramids Savant (445) Illinois Jul 19, 2012

    the worst thing that can happen if you declare it is that you'd have to pay some duty (some miniscule amount compared to the price of the bottle). the worst thing that can happen if you don't is some customs official making your life difficult. just declare it.
  27. rrryanc

    rrryanc Savant (400) California May 19, 2006

    Ya, do this. If they charge you a fee (I haven't been charged yet, going either direction), in the US it's $.08/liter. Way cheaper than any fines they might impose for not declaring it.
  28. I just flew to the U.S. with 8 750ml bottles. bubble wrap, clothes and no problem whatsoever.
  29. My shaky understanding of US law is that you can bring in as much as you want for your own consumption, but can be subject to duty if bringing more than a liter of alcohol. I say shaky b/c it seems in some descriptions to be a liter of actual alcohol, not the beverage -- So, even bringing back biggees of the 12-degree stuff, 1 liter would be more beer than I would stuff into a suitcase. (I do love to stuff a suitcase, always bubble-wrapped since ruining a suit that had bottle haphazardly rolled in.) Still, it's not totally clear from the US Customs web page, which must be a finalist in the contest for least clear govt site, written with the grace of the Federal Register. (I've submitted some feedback.) It does helpfully say that anything up to a case is generally assumed to be personal, and beyond that you can explain yourself. In any event the potential duty seems pretty low -- a few cents a bottle.

    Confession: I have always just declared "gifts" of somewhere between $50-100, which has the advantage of being true, without getting into the specific contents. (From Belgium, it's invariably beer, chocolate and maybe Jules Destrooper cookies.) I've never been questioned but next time I'm curious to be more specific and see how it goes.
  30. oregonskibum

    oregonskibum Savant (405) Oregon Mar 14, 2009

    You think baggage handlers are bad? Go talk to a FedEx or UPS employee about throwing boxes around. If the box you check in as luggage isn't packed well enough to survive a little bouncing around by a baggage handler, it's definitely not packed well enough to be shipped.
    tacosandbeer likes this.

Share This Page