Growler Shipping

Discussion in 'Trade Talk' started by mjshearer1, Jun 1, 2013.

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  1. mjshearer1

    mjshearer1 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Michigan

    So, I'm 0 for 2 in shipping growlers. The first time sabotaged the whole box, and the second time, I got a tip to wrap the contents in garbage bags, and while that preserved the box, the growler (technically howler/mini-growler, etc.) still leaked pretty bad. Am I missing something here? Am I using the wrong types of growlers (screw top vs flip top)? Or is growler shipping generally something that's not done, and growler trades are done IP?
    Nachos4two likes this.
  2. nesarebad

    nesarebad Zealot (518) Feb 4, 2012 Massachusetts

    I have seen many growler trades posted. Did you tape the growlers in any fashion? Curious as I am about to do my first growler trade.
  3. tommyz

    tommyz Initiate (0) May 28, 2007 Michigan

    Screw the private convo..We all need to know..
    Justdoit1234 likes this.
  4. mjshearer1

    mjshearer1 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Michigan

    The brewery taped the growler themselves, so I thought it'd be fine.

    That's one of the logistical problems I'm trying to work out in my head. You can always pack it vertically, but as soon as FedEx picks it up, who's to say they don't immediately put it on its side, or worse, upside down when they put it on their truck?

    Thanks Mongo. I'll shoot him a message to see if he can educate the masses.

    NYCBUCKEYE Initiate (0) Jan 21, 2013 New York

    Sounds like bad luck. I've received several 2L growlers in trades, most of which have been boxed horizontally and none of which leaked. Most were screw tops that were taped well with electrical tape.

    750ML growlers fit nicely in bottle shippers.
    Bluecane likes this.
  6. sphyrn

    sphyrn Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2013 Connecticut

    Theres a rule to growlers. I have received and shipped sooo many, tops being Pliny the Younger and the 2006 Barrell Aged Speedway Stout, ahh those were the days.

    Basically, the rule is they have to be the Russian River/ grolsch style growlers to work. The twist top ones can allow changes in pressure while high up in the atmosphere during flight to create small leaks, which is only in issue in growlers as they are not hermetically sealed. This is especially true if it was not filled perfectly.
  7. RedBeeron

    RedBeeron Initiate (0) Jul 7, 2012 California

    ISO flying growlers. I would save on SO MUCH shipping.
  8. Mjmoser

    Mjmoser Initiate (0) May 6, 2012 Illinois

    FedEx Ground?

    I have sent and received both swing top and screw cap treks with no issues. Electrical tap or duct tap helps a lot.
    SSauce likes this.
  9. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,105) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    I have had problems twice with growlers sent me, both times they were swing tops. Have sent and received about 30 others, mostly screw tops, never a problem.

    Close screw top extra tight. Wrap with plumbers tape in direction of "tighten". Wrap in garbage bag, then wrap in bubble wrap, then put it in its own small cardboard box, making sure to fill in with bubble wrap so it is tight in box. Duct tape box tightly closed. Add to trade box with rest of beers that are being sent, or if it is the only beer being sent, wrap it in another cardboard box with bubble wrap shielding it. Don't send when extreme weather will be experienced by box.
    Curb71, Mangbus, Coronaeus and 6 others like this.
  10. bb8189

    bb8189 Initiate (0) Sep 25, 2008 Ohio

    I've shipped a bunch of growlers and have never even had a leak (or no one has ever mentioned it). And I have shipped them horizontally once or twice.

    The best advice I can give on top of what others have offered is to tighten the hell out of the cap yourself. I can almost always get about an extra 1/4 turn of the cap after the store has screwed it on. Then, as others mentioned, I tape it up, wrap up, bag it up, and box it up. I double box if I have suitable boxes, otherwise, I just pack it up with generous amounts of bubble wrap and peanuts.

    Also, a note on using a bag in shipping in general - I use big ass heavy duty drum liners in my boxes. The first thing I do is line the box with the bag and fold it over the sides. Then I fill the box with the beers/growlers/packing materials. Once the box is all loaded up, I tied off the bag nice and tight. I try to make it so that the bag is very slightly inflated so that it's like I'm closing the box on a balloon. The slightly inflated bag acts as extra cushioning for the trip.
  11. sandiego67

    sandiego67 Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2008 California

    I would imagine that 95%+ of the domestic beer trades are shipped via ground so the atmospheric pressure wouldn't be an issue. I don't know if anyone is paying a premium for overnight.
    algebeeric_topology likes this.
  12. elNopalero

    elNopalero Poo-Bah (4,711) Oct 14, 2009 California
    Society Trader

    This thread is really helpful! Does anyone have pictures of growlers packed for shipping/check-in luggage? Like a step-by-step specifically for growlers?

    BREWSnTATTOOS Initiate (0) Nov 19, 2012 Florida

    Swing top, Lace pieces of electrical tape around the growler top on the Inside of the swing top cage pulling it a little tight as you wrap it. I wrap it about 3 times right where the cap and the red grommet meet the glass. After doing that I wrap it again around the same area but this time I go around the outside of the swing top cage. This prevents leaks as well as keeping the top from popping open. This seems to be the best way that I have found. I have shipped them both sitting up and on there side. Bagging it is for sure good and double boxing as well.
    My Alpine growlers come by air every time. Still pretty cool temp wise when hitting my door step. One of the perks of having a trade partner with great shipping discounts.
    algebeeric_topology likes this.
  14. nesarebad

    nesarebad Zealot (518) Feb 4, 2012 Massachusetts

    I am about to find out if my first growlers made it without a leak. Swingtop HF 750's that were taped with electrical tap, bagged, and then bubble wrapped. I also always line my box with a plastic drum liner to try and catch anything that might leak out.
  15. incubuscience

    incubuscience Initiate (0) Jul 26, 2012 Illinois

    Of course I see this now, @Routson . But hopefully it's info you already stumbled upon!
  16. Yohann

    Yohann Aspirant (215) Apr 29, 2014 Wisconsin

    I would suggest using self-fusing rubber splicing tape on the growlers (and bottles, for that matter) before shipping. Doesn't cost much, seals way better than electrical tape, and leaves no residue.
    NEBeerGirl and Coronaeus like this.
  17. F2brewers

    F2brewers Champion (820) Mar 12, 2005 Massachusetts
    Fest Crew Society Trader

    Ask @DrewGingras how he seals flip top growlers. Zero chance for leaks.

    Of course, you they may get stale before you can actually get them open... :grimacing:
    cavedave likes this.
  18. BobCobb

    BobCobb Aspirant (299) Jul 10, 2012 Illinois

    Hope some people can chime in with thoughts on this:

    I have some HF growlers filled Wednesday (yesterday) coming my way. Have two options:

    1. Person ships tomorrow (Friday). I'm guessing they wouldn't make it (coming from NY to IL) until Monday at earliest. Not sure what kind of temp they'd be sitting in over the weekend. Also, does something like FedEx Home Delivery actually move things in transit on a Saturday, or just deliver?

    2. Wait and ship Monday. Keeps them refrigerated in meantime, get here Wednesday probably. Will be a week then from when they were filled.
  19. BigStein88

    BigStein88 Disciple (318) Nov 5, 2007 New Hampshire

    My guess is that neither option will be an issue. HF does a great job and their stuff will stay fresh for a good long while barring any kind of crazy leak that can't be explained...

    All of the above are great tips. I ship and receive plenty of growlers in two day USPS boxes and other boxes. Not possible to keep them upright all the time. I used to tape all the time, but that did not stop small amounts of leakage from time to time. Now using stretch wrap to see if that helps. Screw top or flip top, both can leak, at least in my experience. Do garbage bag it, but I have never found a need for industrial strength. I use typical trash bags but have also gotten some in in a couple of tightly wrapped grocer bags. More important to me is good packing. If the growler actually breaks it may well pierce any bag...any leakage is likely to be minimal, I have received some with no bag an the packaging absorbed the minimal leaks.

    Bottom line, don't be afraid. Ship that thing!
    mythaeus and BobCobb like this.
  20. BobCobb

    BobCobb Aspirant (299) Jul 10, 2012 Illinois

    I'm actually the one receiving them. Mostly concerned about temperature and time from fill. Trust that other BA will pack well.

    This was so much easier when I didn't have to trade for HF.
  21. Graffy

    Graffy Aspirant (292) Jan 10, 2014 California

    Take a 12 bottle shipper and hollow out the middle of a 4 bottle section of the styro. You can ship up to 2 growlers at a time with 4 bottle slots left open
    Brewzer1010 and Thirsty_Moe like this.
  22. dmbforever

    dmbforever Aspirant (284) May 8, 2013 Wisconsin

    @mythaeus is definitely a BA who has shipped a ton of growlers. Well, I don't know the exact amount, but he would be my "expert" :slight_smile:. He either could reiterate or add some insight to some already good advice.
    creepinjeeper likes this.
  23. dphalpin

    dphalpin Initiate (80) Jul 3, 2012 Virginia

    I would probably be more comfortable waiting until Monday since the shipper can control the temps of the growlers. I have had HF growlers last a few weeks with no noticeable drop off. I recently shipped HF growlers to IL and CA two days after getting them filled (bought them on a Friday and shipped on following Monday). Both of my trade partners were happy with the growlers.
    Thirsty_Moe and cavedave like this.
  24. mythaeus

    mythaeus Crusader (770) Jul 22, 2013 Pennsylvania

    I pack growlers the same way I pack bottles, same method: . HF 750 are essentially 750ml bottles. I don't usually ship large growlers, but I'd treat them exactly the same.

    The key is in guarding against leaks with taping and bags. I'd always ship ASAP. Temperature changes don't impact the beer unless it extreme changes (there have been extensive discussions on this). I have asked about the "sitting in the warehouse over the weekend" but no one seems to be able to confirm that this is typical. The sooner you ship it, the fresher the beer will get to you.
    dphalpin likes this.
  25. FrankenMiller

    FrankenMiller Aspirant (218) Mar 5, 2014 Florida

    When I ship a flip top growler I zip tie the top. This way the actuall flip top cannot open. I also tape the hell out of them.
    Have yet to have one leak.
  26. dphalpin

    dphalpin Initiate (80) Jul 3, 2012 Virginia

    Interesting! I guess I was always told to keep growlers cold and never had reason to investigate those claims (just started shipping growlers a few months back). I will definitely dig up those conversations, thanks for the info.

    Re: sitting in the warehouse, I could only add another piece of anecdotal evidence that may mean something or nothing at all. My trading partner in CA and I have sent packages coast to coast a few times now. We have both always shipped on Monday and received on Friday. This last time he shipped on Friday afternoon and I am supposed to receive today. Whether it sat in a warehouse or not it did not get to me any faster. This could have been holiday volume or some other delay, it was originally estimated for delivery yesterday. Sent Fedex, not using home delivery for the record.

    Cheers, this is great information!
    mythaeus likes this.
  27. mythaeus

    mythaeus Crusader (770) Jul 22, 2013 Pennsylvania

    It's mainly age, not temperature fluctuation, unless you're going boil the beer:

    I agree that shipping Monday is ideal for coast to coast. For certain distances though, shipping Thursday arriving Monday gets the beer faster to your partner than shipping Monday arriving Wednesday.
    dphalpin likes this.
  28. dphalpin

    dphalpin Initiate (80) Jul 3, 2012 Virginia

    Thanks for the links! One thing these articles do not address though is growlers specifically. I was always told that the reason that you keep growlers cold was because they kept their carb better at lower temperatures. From Dogfish's site:

    Two other enemies of growlers are heat and light. Carbonation is more volatile in warm beer, so when the temperature goes up, the carbon dioxide evolves, or escapes. Once it's gone you can't get it back. Light, particularly through clear glass, will react with the hop compounds to produce a skunky flavor. (Hey, college was fun, but that's one memory we can do without.)

    Not trying to beat a dead horse here, just curious. I have sent growlers out multiple times now and each time to good results so I guess that evidence speaks for itself. Cheers!
    mythaeus likes this.
  29. mythaeus

    mythaeus Crusader (770) Jul 22, 2013 Pennsylvania
    Trader focus was on fluctuation, i.e warm to cold to warm and back, etc. which is thing that people seem to be concerned about and does occur during shipping. If well-sealed, increased in volatility of carb shouldn't have a drastic impact on carb loss with normal temperature (i.e room or warmish, not excessive heat). If not well-sealed, it doesn't matter what temperature, you will lose carb. I have shipped "many" growlers in over a year in all weather conditions and fluctuation and the only time I got a flat one was when the swing top cap not on properly (growler leaked). I do avoid shipping when it's extremely hot or extremely cold regardless of beer being in growlers or not.
    dphalpin likes this.
  30. dphalpin

    dphalpin Initiate (80) Jul 3, 2012 Virginia

    This is good to hear. Ultimately, I guess, it is about minimizing risks since there is no foolproof way of doing things. I am glad to hear you have had good luck since I am sure you have sent more than I have. I was really nervous the first time I sent a growler and then again when I sent two across the country. Your posts on packaging for beginners really helped me develop my strategy for shipping, thanks for the help!

    I would add that I have also become a big fan of the waterproof splicing tape that Home Depot sells. It doesn't leave behind a sticky residue and I use where the swing top meets the bottle. I think I got that idea from another BA :grinning:

    Thanks again for all of the good info.
    mythaeus likes this.
  31. BeerMeBro720

    BeerMeBro720 Initiate (0) May 2, 2013 Ohio

    I would like to reiterate the fact if you ship a screw top growler make sure you tighten it yourself. I've received a few from bartenders where they haven't completely secured the top. Flip tops are easy peasy :slight_smile:

    Good luck!
    Thirsty_Moe and mythaeus like this.
  32. Thirsty_Moe

    Thirsty_Moe Initiate (127) Jul 29, 2012 Florida

    Don't know why I haven't thought that before, that's a great tip!
  33. bhart

    bhart Initiate (0) Nov 12, 2013 Ohio

    I have shipped several growlers with pretty good success. As noted before, make sure the cap is on as tight as possible, but I also like to use silicone, self-fusing plumber's tape around the top. It completely seals in any areas for potential leaks. After this, I place the growler in two, 2-gallon ziplock bags to prevent any other leakage. From there, I wrap the entire thing in bubble wrap and place snug in a vertical position within the box.
  34. PatrickInAustinTx

    PatrickInAustinTx Devotee (409) Nov 16, 2013 Texas

    Lots of good answers here. Here is how I do it.

    -I almost always use bottle shippers and 32oz/750ml swing tops. Because it's safer and upright (usually).
    -Tape around the clasp on the top really well but make sure to leave a folded over nub so the recipient can open easily.
    -Wrap in bubble wrap (no tape so they can reuse bubble wrap)
    -Wrap again in shrink wrap (I use a huge roll of it) and go around it several times both around the bottle and over the top/bottom of the bottle to make sure it doesn't leak. The shrink wrap also helps to hold the clasp tight as well. Again, leave a nub to help the person unwrap.

    I haven't had a single growler leak as far as I know. I also wrap my bottles and cans in this same fashion.
    ArkyVaughan likes this.
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