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How do you legally ship beer?

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Jason Horlacher

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I have some homebrewed beers I want to ship for evaluation and to send to family. I am stationed in Germany and can only use USPS. If I go on base and ship them illegally---my a** is grass!


Any help would be appreciated.
 

Soulive

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If USPS is your only choice, then you can't legally ship any beer. With carriers like UPS/Fedex/DHL, its against policy to ship alcohol but not against the law...
 

PeteOz77

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I have done a few beer swaps with a bloke inTexas. We have both just packaged the bottles very well, then claimed they were "Barbeque Sauce" If the bottles are brown and have no labels, I doubt they will open them to inspect the contents. This worked for USA-AUS and AUS-USA both directions.
 
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Jason Horlacher

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When you put "Yeast Samples"...doesnt that just make it stand out more?
Doesn't the person at the counter know right off what your shipping?
Or is that the "legal" loophole?
 

shunoshi

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Jason Horlacher said:
When you put "Yeast Samples"...doesnt that just make it stand out more?
Doesn't the person at the counter know right off what your shipping?
Or is that the "legal" loophole?
I don't mark the package with anything. In fact, I've never had someone ask what I was shipping. I've never shipped internationally though. Depending on the country and their laws it could be quite illegal.

If UPS was to ask me, I'd just say they were collectibles.
 
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The OP asked about legally internationally.
You need customs bokerage.

Find the world beer festival rules at beertown.org as a guide.
 

HBDrinker008

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I tried shipping via UPS. They told me it is against MN and WI law to ship any kind of alcohol.
 
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Reposted from another post of mine:

Essentially, it's not legal, but it boils down to which agency of the government you want to run afoul of and what is the liklihood of enforcement, siezure, or civil or criminal fines.
1) It is against Federal law to ship alcohol via the USPS.
2) It's against policy to ship alcohol via Fed Ex, DHL, UPS unless you are a valid shipper of alcohol. If your package breaks, they may turn your package to your state's alcohol control board or they may return it to you, or they may dispose of it, or they may re-pack it and ship it. You are at the mercy of that employee.
3) It's undoubtedly against state law (UT inparticular) to ship beer. I read on realbeer that UT's ACB has siezed likely alcohol shipments. Google it.
4) It's against the law to ship alcohol to minors.
5) It's against the law to ship alcohol to another country without using a customs approved shipper. See beertown.org for information about their world beer contest.
So don't do #1 or #4 or #5. If you do #2, make sure your package is bulletproof. Don't identify the contents as alcohol. Dont' get insurance, etc.
#3.... just move.
Deny everything.
 

kappclark

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There must be some accepted way tpo send samples to AHA competitions ...

I think I read to label "Yeast samples for evaluation"

What does AHA tell contestants to do ??
 

Mustangfreak

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I've never shipped beer, I've only shipped "jars of jelly" ;) I also box the "jelly" myself so the workers are even more clueless.
 
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I know it's not legal to ship beer via the USPS, so I don't condone that at all. I think you can argue yourself into a "gray area" with UPS/FedEx/DHL. I tend to ship beer in those fancy new aluminum bottles, most commonly found originally containing Bud Light, at least around here. That way I avoid any breakage, and leakage is only a hazard if the package is REALLY mishandled. I just package them well and usually ship via UPS. I have only been asked once about the contents of the package, and I responded, "live yeast samples."

Surely this blurs the line of morality for some, and I know there are some folks around here with very strict views on ethics (read the threads about kegs, milk crates, and soda containers). To those people, I say: don't ship your beer.
 

ohiobrewtus

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Yuri_Rage said:
I tend to ship beer in those fancy new aluminum bottles, most commonly found originally containing Bud Light, at least around here. That way I avoid any breakage, and leakage is only a hazard if the package is REALLY mishandled. quote]

Hmmm... I haven't thought of that before. I'm guessing that they take caps pretty well then?

I may have to pick up the aluminum bottles the next time I pick up some swill for SWMBO.
 
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ohiobrewtus said:
Hmmm... I haven't thought of that before. I'm guessing that they take caps pretty well then?
Yes, but you need a bench capper. They don't have the "lip" below the crown top that wing cappers grab for leverage.
 

ohiobrewtus

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Yuri_Rage said:
Yes, but you need a bench capper. They don't have the "lip" below the crown top that wing cappers grab for leverage.
Meh, there's always a catch. I'll just have to continue packing the heck out of everything, I'm not about to go out and buy a bench capper.
 

alison200699

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I have some homebrewed beers I want to ship for evaluation and to send to family. I am stationed in Germany and can only use USPS. If I go on base and ship them illegally---my a** is grass!


Any help would be appreciated.
:fro:alison
 

gpogo

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Shouldn't there be a sticky about this somewhere? It's asked nearly every month.

That being said, I'm always interested in good replies.
 

carnevoodoo

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I've sent beer to three comps. I've used USPS every time, and it has always made it.

I don't recommend this, but I'll do it until my package gets broken and I go to jail or something. I can plead ignorance with the best of them.
 

jvlpdillon

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I guess I got lucky recently.

Last week a buddy in South Carolina who couldn't get this year's Vertical Epic asked if I could ship some from Colorado. I abliged, I also decided to put in a bomber of my yet to be sampled Belgian Style Strong Golden I had just bottled. The Vertical epic made it, but my buddy got a message from FedEx saying in a slow southern drawl "that the packaged arrived to them soaking wet and it smelled like an alcoholic beverage". They repacked the good one and sent it on. Phew!

Since I hadn't tried one of these yet myself. I wanted to see if I was to blame. Yes. I overcarbed. Not bottle bombs, but a minor gusher. Apparently this doesn't travel well.

Also thanks for posting the right way to ship to international competition.
 

bcounsellor

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in order to ship beer legally by any method you have to first apply for a liscense with the state you are shipping from. This is regulated by the TTB. Here is the link for the individual state contacts to do so.

http://www.ttb.gov/wine/state-ABC.shtml

the catch is the cost. in addition the person you are shipping beer to also has to have a liscense.

$$$

this being said, and as mentioned in other posts on this subject, and as Nike says, "Just Do It" unless you are on a millitary base.

there are no solid laws on what happens if you do as of yet.
 

jonmohno

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in order to ship beer legally by any method you have to first apply for a liscense with the state you are shipping from. This is regulated by the TTB. Here is the link for the individual state contacts to do so.

http://www.ttb.gov/wine/state-ABC.shtml

the catch is the cost. in addition the person you are shipping beer to also has to have a liscense.

$$$

this being said, and as mentioned in other posts on this subject, and as Nike says, "Just Do It" unless you are on a millitary base.

there are no solid laws on what happens if you do as of yet.
I think this only applies to a retailer or someone selling the beer. Not someone sending it to a friend or relative.
 

dantheman13

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I have done a few beer swaps with a bloke inTexas. We have both just packaged the bottles very well, then claimed they were "Barbeque Sauce" If the bottles are brown and have no labels, I doubt they will open them to inspect the contents. This worked for USA-AUS and AUS-USA both directions.
I know that Aus has some strict customs laws. For example, nothing with soil can enter the country. I wonder if something that implies there is yeast such as "root beer" or "ginger ale" would get through? BBQ sauce just sounds a little strange if they open the package and find a glass bottle instead of a plastic container. Any other Aussies have success receiving beer from outside the country?
 

zgardener

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I tried to ship a box with some local Austin brews up to Michigan for a beer swap, and just saw on the tracking site that the package is being held for unauthorized alcohol shipment...They it says that they'll be contacting the shipper (me), haven't received any calls or emails yet... Time to practice playing dumb...
Totally sucks, doubt that he'll be getting his package. Debating whether or not I should try to resend, or reimburse him for the lot he sent down to me...
 

Wakadaka

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A lot of gray areas here. What if you took some wort put it in a 2 liter or something that could handle a lot of pressure, and pitched the yeast right as you were dropping it off at the store. haha only the shippers would be doing the illegal part, because you dropped it off without alcohol.
 

nebben

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I tried to ship a box with some local Austin brews up to Michigan for a beer swap, and just saw on the tracking site that the package is being held for unauthorized alcohol shipment...They it says that they'll be contacting the shipper (me), haven't received any calls or emails yet... Time to practice playing dumb...
Totally sucks, doubt that he'll be getting his package. Debating whether or not I should try to resend, or reimburse him for the lot he sent down to me...
I had a package over the Christmas holiday get held up, then was eventually returned to me with a note saying there had been damage during shipping (and presumably during the return back to me). I got a letter from FedEx a week or two later from their legal department saying that I needed to work with them to resolve this matter.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/speaking-hbt-bjcp-competition-i-got-warning-letter-fedex-220218/

It turns out I'm not alone in this, as there are other homebrewers that have got these letters too. In the long term, I never heard anything else about it again. The gist of it seems to be that FedEx sends out those letters as a CYA maneuver, in case they were ever investigated that they would be able to document that not only did they return the package with the "illegally shipped alcohol", but they can show that they notified the sender that it was against the law and essentially that if it was a mistake, FedEx would try to help fix it.

I wont be shipping beer or in the case of the Christmas package, 21% homemade 2.5 year old port anymore.
 
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