Beer Shipping Questions

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Michael7, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. Michael7

    Michael7 Initiate (112) Jan 14, 2017 Pennsylvania

    After a cursory search here it's looking like FedEx is a good be to ship beer out (in my case, from Philly area PA to San Diego). Question tho...what do folks do in order to keep it cold? The beer I picked up was already cold so had to pop it in the fridge. Ice packs? Anything else? Thanks!
  2. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (824) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    If you can get dry ice use that, just make sure it does not touch the can or bottle.
  3. zid

    zid Savant (924) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    Generally speaking, if beer is kept cold in the store, you do not have to keep it at that temperature.
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,448) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    How do you plan to ship? Overnight delivery?

  5. Michael7

    Michael7 Initiate (112) Jan 14, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Really? Wish I knew that before popping them in the fridge. These were canned from the brewery and picking them up today they were quite cold, so didn't think it'd be healthy to not keep them cool.

    Correct...overnight to San Diego from here.
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,448) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    I would guess that for overnight shipping no additional cooling is needed.

    There are ice packs that you could use if you feel compelled:


    I am not sure what brick & mortar stores would sell these items.

  7. Michael7

    Michael7 Initiate (112) Jan 14, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Gel packs and properly lined boxes...sounds perfect.
  8. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (9,268) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Overnight to San Diego via Fed Ex will be expensive. If you don't need it immediately I'd go ground - there's no problem with letting it warm up if it's all canned or bottled (growlers are a different story). Additionally, just my 2 cents, I've never had a problem with UPS but had several damaged or misdirected shipments with FedEx.
  9. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (1,918) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Premium Member

    Are you shipping a growler of beer? If so, then yes you should pack it with ice gel packs. If cans or bottles then you should not have to keep it cold, you just would not want it sitting out on the recipient's deck all day in the hot sun. Ideally, the recipient will track it and make an effort to ensure it does not sit out in the sun long. It's perfectly fine to let cooled beer warm and then refrigerate it again later.
  10. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (457) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    This is what I love about BA. Not only does it have vast amounts of useful info on beer -- but I can also come on here anytime and learn other essential stuff - like how to pack and ship beer. :wink: Someone please tell me this is a good thread.
  11. Michael7

    Michael7 Initiate (112) Jan 14, 2017 Pennsylvania

    All the easier. Popping in a gel pack or two couldn't hurt. And given the above, maybe two-day shipping will work. I appreciate the ideas folks.
    mikeinportc likes this.
  12. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (1,918) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Premium Member

    Yay us :slight_smile:
    mikeinportc and SammyJaxxxx like this.
  13. boilermakerbrew

    boilermakerbrew Meyvn (1,293) Aug 13, 2010 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    Having shipped beer from the desert in the summer, my suggestion is fast service and over use of ice packs. That being said, they are only good for 3 days max. Always line the box with a trash bag to contain any melt or breaks, and if you can find them, styrofoam box liners help a lot with insulation.
  14. jrnyc

    jrnyc Meyvn (1,270) Mar 21, 2010 New York
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    My guess is 99.9% of people here pack the beer without any kind of cooling, just pack the box well and don't worry about it. Don't pay for expedited shipping . If there weather is xtreme cold or heat you might want to wait.
    elgiacomo, sharpski, BSW and 14 others like this.
  15. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (2,149) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Premium Member

    Yeah, I'd also concentrate on the packing to avoid breakage more than worrying about the temperature of the beer.
  16. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,520) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Well not be be a buzz kill if your sending it overnight what difference does it make whether you keep it ice cold or not? Most of the ride is in the underbelly of a frigid cargo hold. Then in an air conditioned facility then to its destination on a short truck ride, SD isn't Kuwait.
    bbtkd likes this.
  17. Jaguar10301

    Jaguar10301 Initiate (162) Mar 1, 2010 Maine
    Beer Trader


    i would ship beers for comps with no cooling and no expedition...
    bbtkd likes this.
  18. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Zealot (580) Mar 28, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Gel packs will stay cold for what a few hours in a box? Skip all that stuff and just make sure you ship the box where it never sits, for instance a Friday. Otherwise, ship it ground. A few days of warm temp won't kill the beer.
    sharpski and bbtkd like this.
  19. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Zealot (580) Mar 28, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    I work for UPS and spent many years loading package cars. I never came across an air conditioned facility. They are way too big. Yes, the offices are but not where packages are handled. The hubs get over a 100 during the summer and the trailers being unloaded can be even hotter.

    @upsbeernut can probably add his two cents.
  20. SMH_NWI

    SMH_NWI Devotee (409) Jan 8, 2015 Texas

    This was made way too complicated. Shipping beer is not hard. Expensive hobby, yes, but I've never even considered using ice packs. As someone else said above, it's San Diego not Kuwait.
  21. jzeilinger

    jzeilinger Poo-Bah (5,415) Dec 4, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member Beer Trader

  22. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,520) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I only hesitate to ship in the extreme cold, heat no. If you pack it well it's incredibly well insulated. I can't even imagine the shipping cost to SD overnight. Is it beer or gold? Not a chance, ground is more than adequate. The only lost beer I've sent has been in the winter into Chicago.
    Dragginballs76 likes this.
  23. WesMantooth

    WesMantooth Poo-Bah (2,345) Jan 8, 2014 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I wouldn't worry about keeping it cold. Also, USPS flat rate gets it there in 2 days for a lot less money if it is a small amount of beer. I use it all the time for west coast shipping.
    Jag237, CNoj012 and Harrison8 like this.
  24. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (299) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico
    Beer Trader

    Air conditioned facilities. Lol. Where have you been? Itll likely sit at the philly facility from 5pm to say 9pm. Then onto Memphis and then onto Sd. It'll likely reach SD early am and then go through processing. At best 18 hours un refrigerated with cooler conditions in the plane. So it'll vary quite a bit over just a one day period.

    I too have never worried about shipping temperatures and this is with ground in May from here to NY. 6 days total in varying degrees and never a complaint about the beers quality dropping off.
    Harrison8 likes this.
  25. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (2,314) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    If you really want to get picky with your shipping temperatures, I'd pick up a Styrofoam wine shipper, place your beers in each slot (rolled in bubble wrap), and then put an ice pack at the top (cold air sinks). Just make sure to wrap each bottle/can, bubble wrap, and ice packet in a plastic shopping bag or trash bag to prevent leakage. It's important to prevent any breakage leaks, but in this instance, it'll also keep run-off or condensate from the ice bag from seeping out of the box.

    That seems a little hardcore, but considering how many folks use wine shippers, it'd really just be another couple bucks per beer for a few more hours of temperature regulation. If it's a regular trading partner, you could exchange the cold packs in future trades.

    Otherwise, I'd say don't worry about it. I just avoid shipping when the box can sit over the weekend, and extreme temperature one way or another.

    Cheers. Enjoy the trading journey.
    #25 Harrison8, Jul 3, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
    sharpski, Beer_Economicus and pinyin like this.
  26. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,520) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    He said it's going next day , so if it's packed right it's also well insulated. So there's no worries there at all. I give some thought to hot weather, but I opt for smaller trades or bigger boxes, dense foam is a nice insulator. Depends where the west coast is 7 days till delivery. I've never had a summer ship go bad and ive has 2-3x the trades listed. Cold weather is a different animal though, if it's under 25 I might not ship.
  27. KingCobra686

    KingCobra686 Aspirant (202) Aug 13, 2014 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    What exactly are you sending? If youre sending a box full of crazy whales, it might be worth trying to keep the temperature stable. If you're just sending a standard beer trade, I wouldnt bother.

    Some tips:
    1) Coordinate with the other end of your trade. Make sure you have tracking and that they are ready to grab the box when it arrives, and not let it sit on their porch for 3 days because they are on vacation and didnt realize you already shipped.
    2) Avoid trading during the hotter parts or the summer and the colder parts of the winter when beer could potentially freeze outside.
    3) Worry more about packing it well. The temperature of the beer doesnt matter all that much if it arrives dripping out of the sides of the box from a broken bottle.

    Question for everyone else: Has anyone sent a trade with dry ice or lots of ice packs? I worry that it would call a lot of unwanted attention to a package if it was strangely chilly to anyone handling it.
  28. Michael7

    Michael7 Initiate (112) Jan 14, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Just sending about 8 cans out to friends in SD, CA. Picked up all the fixins for packing and such and plan to send out this week...thanks for all the help here folks.
  29. SammyJaxxxx

    SammyJaxxxx Poo-Bah (2,170) Feb 23, 2012 New Jersey
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    8 cans fits perfectly in a USPS Medium Priority mail box. For $13 it will arrive in 2 or 3 days. You just need a little bit of bubble wrap to keep everything from bouncing around.
    johnyb likes this.
  30. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (299) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico
    Beer Trader

    The more you ship, the less of an impact, financially.

    If I ship to NY, even just two cans, its something like $18 GROUND. If I ramp it up to say 20 cans, its really no more than $30-$35.

    Scaling is essential in trades. Its the only way I find value in doing such a thing.

    OP, I'd send more than 8 but thats just me
    Beer_Economicus and AZBeerDude72 like this.
  31. Michael7

    Michael7 Initiate (112) Jan 14, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Call this a trial run...

    so there's a range here...UPS/FedEx and USPS...while the USPS can be the cheaper route the risk seems greater...folks have any preference really? Thanks!
  32. jvgoor3786

    jvgoor3786 Meyvn (1,478) May 28, 2015 Arkansas
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    I always use FedEx Ground and have had no issues. I've received beer from all three, also with no issues. I'll probably try the eight cans in a medium USPS box at some point. That sounds cheap and easy.
  33. azurel

    azurel Disciple (348) May 27, 2016 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Overnight FedEx is going to be around $75-$100 depending on weight and the size of the box. I have shipped frogs and corals overnight for years and the cost is enormous for FedEx overnight.

    Also isn't illegal to use USPS shipping for alcohol? If so that's a huge risk....Better to use ground shipping UPS or Fedex...
    Beer_Economicus likes this.
  34. Hoos78

    Hoos78 Aspirant (271) Mar 3, 2015 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    One other suggestion to avoid sitting in inclement weather at the recipient's location...

    Just ship to their nearest FedEx or UPS store with their name and phone # included in the store's address. The store will hold it for them provided they pick it up in a timely fashion.
  35. Redrock

    Redrock Aspirant (204) Mar 15, 2013 Virginia

    I have had a couple damaged shipments via FedEx ground, and I have my own account setup so I can create my own shipments and drop off at a FedEx spot to have shipped. I have shipped man boxes, but one time I thought I was out the $100 as I got the dreaded damaged delivery notice and thought for sure I had to eat the cost of beer but I got a claim check a couple weeks later...guess I was lucky. I ship all the time and my advice is but the wine shipper kit from U-Haul and I recommend the 6 bottle shipper it gives you the most bang for your buck.
  36. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (1,837) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    I expect ground shipped packages to occasionally get rough treatment which is why I bubble wrap each can or bottle, double box and line each of those with a tightly bound garbage bag in case of leaks, then add as much padding needed (little twisted donuts of plastic grocery bags work well) to fill any remaining space in the large shipping box.
  37. jageraholic

    jageraholic Devotee (408) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    It's illegal shipping alcohol using any of these services. It's why I ship homemade pickles.
    azurel and dcotom like this.
  38. jageraholic

    jageraholic Devotee (408) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    The only reason I dont like using USPS is I find there tracking dates are always very optimistic and rarely accurate. The Priority 2 day mail isn't a guaranteed 2 day mail but best case. Priority express (bigger cost) has guaranteed delivery.
  39. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (457) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    your typical beer trader is shipping cans and /or a mix of cans and bottles -- the uhaul package is great but how often does the typical trader need that kind of capacity? Love this thread btw -- so glad it's back. :slight_smile: