I really like beer. No, I really like beer. That means I’m constantly on the hunt for beers I can’t get in my current hometown of San Francisco and broker deals with buddies to mail me goods from across the country in exchange for sending them a few bottles of local stuff from the west coast.
Over the course of the past decade, I’ve probably mailed 100 boxes of beer to myself (sometimes postage is cheaper than checking a bag or finding room in my suitcase on a trip) or to friends around the United States. Of all those shipments, I’ve only had one mishap: a crushed can that managed to slowly explode and soak a box. Luckily for me, and the recipient of the box that happened to be a friend of mine, the beer-soaked box was still delivered, although a few weeks later than planned (my guess being so it could dry and still, you know, be a box). In contrast, I’ve had a number of boxes sent to me with broken beer (the saddest thing in the world) inside.
Through all those packages I’ve come up with a few tips for success.
Line Your Box with a Garbage Bag
Accidents happen. What you don’t want to happen is for a small accident like a crushed can or broken bottle to soak your box, cause it to break, and result in a whole box of lost items. For that, I recommend lining your box first (just as if you were putting it in a garbage can) with a plastic garbage bag. Sure, it’s not unstoppable, but it gives you an extra line of defense in case the worst happens. Also, a plastic bag means that if the box does get soaked it will be harder for individual bottles to fall out.
Some beer trading message boards also recommend using a smaller box inside a box when you mail beer. I’ve never tried that personally (or had it done with beer sent to me), but if you happen to have two similarly-sized boxes available, it wouldn’t be the worst idea.
Line the Sides of Your Box with Bubble Wrap
Since I do this a lot, I have a TON of bubble wrap readily available in my house. If you don’t, then using crumpled up newspaper or packing peanuts can have the same effect. The goal is to have a line of defense around the sides and bottom and top of your box. This box is absolutely going to get tossed around. Don’t let your beer be right up against the sides.
Wrap individual bottles with Bubble Wrap or Newspaper
Of the few dozen broken packages I’ve gotten over time, the majority of them happened because someone didn’t wrap each bottle in its own. DO NOT just put a 6 pack in a box and mail it to someone. It will break. The person you sent it to will hate you. The mailman will hate you. It’s a waste of good beer. Don’t be that guy.Sad broken bottle that was wrapped poorly (Photo: Emily Price)
The place where bottles are going to break is at the neck. Wrap the heck out of it (and the whole bottle). The best way to do this is with (a lot of) bubble wrap secured with a rubber band. If you don’t have bubble wrap, then you need something that’s going to keep the neck of the bottle protected. Think to yourself: “If I dropped this on the floor, would it break?” If the answer is yes or maybe, then you need to wrap it better. Seriously.
If I’m mailing 12oz bottles I sometimes pack them in freezer bags as well. It doubles up the water protection, and I can shove a lot of newspaper in the bag as an extra layer of protection.
If you’re really fancy, you can buy these sleeves made for wine that will keep individual bottles secure. There are also a lot of styrofoam setups for mailing wine. They’re a bit pricey IMO for a one-time shipment, but if you’re trading regularly with the same friend then they could be a good investment and something you could use over and over again to send back and forth.
Keep It Tight
When you seal the box up, you want to make sure nothing is moving inside. When stacking bottles I recommend going top to bottom. So the top of one bottle is next to the bottom of another and packing them on their side, not up and down. Ideally, you want to have an additional layer of protection (not just the bubble wrap surrounding the bottles) between each bottle.The beginnings of a successful box (Photo: Emily Price)
That busted can incident I mentioned earlier? It came from me thinking “Oh, a can won’t break” and putting it next to a bottle that crushed it mid-journey. Don’t be me. Before you seal the top, give the box a little shake and make sure there’s no movement. If there is, stuff some more bubble wrap/newspaper in there. Protect those cans just like bottles, and think about situations where they might get crushed.
Tape Every Part of the Box
Beer is heavy. It’s best to just presume that your box isn’t going to make it and reinforce it with tape. I’m not saying cover the box with tape, but make sure to reinforce the seals at the top and bottom of the box with tape in case the glue gives out while it’s being tossed around.
Don’t Mail Beer in the Summer
Heat is bad news for beer and the summer is hot. At some point of your box’s journey (or most of it), it’s going to be sitting in a hot warehouse or on a hot truck... or on your hot porch. That’s going to hurt your beer. Save your beer trading for autumn and winter when the temperatures are cool, your beer and its recipient will appreciate it.
Know the Rules
USPS doesn’t allow you to mail alcohol. USPS flat rate boxes are pretty great, and let you mail anything you can fit in a box across the country in two days for not a ton of cash. I will let you use that information how you’d like.
Here’s a rundown on what you need to do to mail alcohol using traditional shipping services. Inform yourself before you show up with a box, not after.
Source : https://lifehacker.com/how-to-mail-beer-across-the-country-like-a-pro-1795988143