Moving Beer Cellar Across Country

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by dercky, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. dercky

    dercky Initiate (44) Sep 8, 2014 New York

    I'm making the move from New York to Los Angeles in September, and I'm considering how I'm going to safely get my beer closet to the west coast. The moving company has agreed to take it (I will pack it, but it will not be covered by insurance). My concern there is that the heat in the back of a moving truck going across the country will have a significant, negative impact on the composition of the brews I've been saving for the past 5-6 years. It's impossible for me to estimate what the temperatures would be, but it will be late September heading across the dessert, most likely.
    The alternative is to ship it all, but I will have about 48 bottles and 48 cans, so the shipment costs will likely be over $300-400. Not a cheap ticket, and although we all do it with trades, technically not legal, so also not insured.
    It's impossible for me to take it all in the car we're driving, as I'll have a wife, dog, and luggage to bring.
    So .... all that said, suggestions on how badly the temperature would affect the beer over the course of 7-10 days in the back of a moving truck, or other suggestions on how to get the beer to Los Angeles safely. Anyone have good experiences with any professional wine/alcohol shippers that refrigerate?
    Thanks in advance, everyone!
  2. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,422) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Premium Trader

    I guess I would begin with the value of this collection? If the value is a lot of $$ and the cost to ship it with a company that uses cooled trucks is way less, then its pretty simple in my eyes, ship it. If you opt to ship using a normal carrier then that is no different that you driving it yourself, except you save the $$ doing it. At the end of the day I think people freak out about this way too much. Your beer will be out warm but of direct sunlight for a week or so, I really doubt that is going to kill it all. If there are some bottles that are really sensitive then pack them in a cooler and keep them in the AC with you, the rest will be just fine.
    Good luck
  3. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,679) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    No worries. 3-5 days, depending on how many drops/pickups your mover has to do besides, your stuff, won't hurt your beer.

    If, as it seems, you live in an urban environment, and your "cellar" is a closet, likely any damage is already done.

    I suggest leaving room in the car, for obtaining beers en route. :wink:
    sharpski, JrGtr, RobNewton and 5 others like this.
  4. BeastOfTheNortheast

    BeastOfTheNortheast Aspirant (288) Dec 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    That's a tough one. I'd take it with me if I had room (or I'd make as much room as possible for it). Start drinking some now, so you have less to take with you.
    JayORear, Junior, raynmoon and 3 others like this.
  5. islay

    islay Aspirant (214) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    Yeah, that sounds like a good excuse to clear out the cellar a bit to me. I know mine could use some trimming. It's also a good excuse for a going away party / bottle share (with you doing all of the sharing), if you have time. Most cellarable beers are on the downswing after five to six years anyway. Perhaps you can drink your collection down enough that you can fit the remainder in the car. Another idea is to put the ones you most care about into a case in the car (you must have room for a single case) and cross your fingers with regard to the rest. (Not trying to skirt the issue, just my two cents)
  6. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,283) May 30, 2005 Michigan

  7. Giantspace

    Giantspace Defender (677) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Buy one of those hard shell roof boxes fill it with your beer and add ice packs. Good to go.

    ZebulonXZogg, PapaGoose03 and Lahey like this.
  8. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (386) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    Be careful when reading the moving company agreement. My sister recently moved across country and the company she used didn't deliver her stuff until the last day allowed per the agreement, which was a couple weeks after she moved her family there. Her family had a couple uncomfortable weeks with no belongings... Most companies should be better than that, but it's something to consider.

    Either way you have them delivered, pack them safely. Maybe the extra insulation will help with heat issues too... good luck with the move!
    #8 Lahey, Aug 9, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  9. Celtics76

    Celtics76 Defender (667) Sep 5, 2011 Rhode Island

    Is there a reason why you're saving beers for that long? Nothing against cellaring (and someone else mentioned this), but generally more than 4-5 years of cellaring gets diminishing returns.

    Between now and the move, I'd drink the oldest 20 beers or so and ship the rest. No worries on temp., etc. You'll be OK.
    Lahey, readyski and PapaGoose03 like this.
  10. readyski

    readyski Aspirant (231) Jun 4, 2005 California

    As mentioned above I'd start drinking that cellar, 2-3 a day. You will also need some for that long drive. It's a good chance to clear that out and later add some new ones.
    ericwo and Celtics76 like this.
  11. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,576) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Premium Trader

    This is what I was going to say, or rent a small trailer from UHaul.
    Lahey likes this.
  12. Dan_K

    Dan_K Devotee (493) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    Google search "moving wine cellar" probably lots of great info out there already. make sure if you box it up and give it to the movers, that you package it well. They don't always treat things well. :slight_smile:
    Beer_Economicus likes this.
  13. raynmoon

    raynmoon Crusader (782) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado

    Start drinking it, like others have stated. Throw a little party/ bottle share with friends to eat a chunk out of the weight and to do what the beverage was intended for: enjoying.

    Then you'll have less to move, you'll have had the pleasure of enjoying the beers, and you can look forward to adding new items from the west coast to the cellar.
    ericwo likes this.
  14. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (838) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

  15. Ahonky

    Ahonky Initiate (133) Feb 13, 2018 New York

    Here's a fucking idea....drink you beer and instead of watching it spoil for another 5 years
    ericwo, Celtics76 and dennis3951 like this.
  16. JrGtr

    JrGtr Disciple (370) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I'd say that if you have some special bottles / cans, fit them in the car - maybe a cases' worth or so. The can's probably aren't as bog a deal, you can stash a six-pack here, one there, and so on in the car. For the rest, look up wine shippers, Styrofoam liners the bottles sit in. Use those, maybe pack them into other boxes if possible. The Styrofoam will insulate them better against any rapid and extreme swings in temp. Yeah, it's not as good as being in a dark, temp and humidity controlled cellar, but for a week or two it should be fine.
    If you have some stuff that is more pedestrian, throw a going away party and drink a few down, only take the best of the best along.
    sharpski likes this.
  17. Houser

    Houser Defender (608) Sep 10, 2012 Pennsylvania

    you sound like a real peach.

    i wouldnt worry about a few days in less than ideal cellaring conditions.
  18. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Disciple (310) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon

    Here's a fucking idea...stop being a fucking tool and let people enjoy their beer in whatever manner they wish. The guy asked for moving suggestions, not snarky commentary.
  19. lightman1

    lightman1 Initiate (78) Oct 19, 2013 Arkansas

    I would wrap them well in bubble wrap and put them in an ice chest. Maybe with some of the dividers that come in cases of wine. Tape the ice chest closed with duct tape.
  20. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,166) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Premium Trader

    Some combination of drinking some, giving some away, and taking your favorites in the car somewhere - up under the dash, under the seats, or with the spare if you have to.
    readyski likes this.
  21. Beer_Economicus

    Beer_Economicus Devotee (439) Apr 8, 2017 Indiana

    It's not much help to offer suggestions until we know what type of value we are dealing wit, as someone already mentioned.

    Personally, any idea that I had for my own beer would depend completely on that. If I have 48 bottles of beer equivalent to OG Rare or 1 off Cantillon, that's a lot different than 48 random shelf beers that I chose to cellar.

    It's not that it's not important, it is, but in one case you are looking at a collection that would cost many many many thousands of dollars to replace if something tragic happened, vs. another that you could probably get individuals in the cellar forum to easily help you replace.

    Since you mentioned insurance, I'm leaning toward the former, but...
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  22. dercky

    dercky Initiate (44) Sep 8, 2014 New York

    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. A few questions of what the worth is. I'd estimate around $1000-1500. A couple Goose Island Rare Barrel, Hill Farmstead, Cantillon, Jester King, etc in there. Mostly stouts and wild ales that I'm aging.
    Beer_Economicus likes this.
  23. Beer_Economicus

    Beer_Economicus Devotee (439) Apr 8, 2017 Indiana

    Sounds like the cans are not part of the valuable collection.

    I'd follow suit with what others have said:

    Ship the cans (60ish dollars max even for 48 cans). Put any of the rarest beers in your car. Ship the remaining for another 60ish dollars (for approx. 24 bottles)
    FBarber likes this.
  24. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (550) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    We shipped ourselves some wine from California to Boston last winter. One box was shipped in styrofoam and another was shipped in "eco friendly" cardboard sleeves. The "eco" box arrived half frozen with all the corks popped out and the styro box was perfectly fine.

    Freezing vs. not could in theory just be the difference of a few degrees which wouldn't help all that much on the hot end of the spectrum, but my guess is the insulation is actually fairly substantial (and some small gel packs could help too). You could grab six, twelve bottle boxes to throw in the moving truck for about $100 which should hold everything assuming you could stack 2 cans in the place of one bottle.

    Good luck whatever you do!
    Beer_Economicus and GuyFawkes like this.
  25. JayORear

    JayORear Meyvn (1,022) Feb 22, 2012 New York
    Premium Trader

    I'm doing the exact opposite move (L.A. to NY), this Monday, in fact, and I just drank down/gave away my stash over a few months. Unless you have seriously valuable bottles, it's not really worth the hassle to move them, IMO.

    EDIT: Just saw your post about the bottles you have. Maybe ship the most valuable, then drink down the others?
  26. Ahonky

    Ahonky Initiate (133) Feb 13, 2018 New York

    Nah, you know my point was valid, if not a little crude. Beer collecting doesn't pay off. In the end much of that beer will be consumerd well below par.