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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Shipping Beer to Leeds?

I have corresponded to Zak Avery over the antique Greene King, and he plans to ship it here via slow boat to defray costs. Wise. I can't believe he's willing to part with it at all, so picking up the tab to send it seems to require a gesture of thanks. I plan to send him a bottle of Oregon's finest by way of thanks. Which raises these questions:
  1. How do you cheaply send beer to Leeds, England? I think slow boat is the way to go, but I'm not sure where to go. Post Office? Will they take beer?
  2. Which beer?
Please comment on either question. I am particularly keen to know the first, but the second is interesting just as a matter of inquiry. (I'll probably pull something out of my cellar, which limits the choices.)



  1. The post office won't ship alcohol. And, to my knowledge, FedEx won't ship it unless you're an "authorized shipper" or something like that., I've always shipped beer/wine in USPS flat rate boxes, packed it really well with cardboard folded up inside so it won't moved and just lied about what's inside when they ask the litany of questions (I don't think they actually ask about alcohol but they often have signs posted saying they won't send it.)...

    I know they send flat rate boxes overseas but whether you want to lie about contents with customs is another question.

  2. I'm pretty sure none of the shipping companies will allow you to ship beer, so I'd advise against mentioning the contents. Live yeast samples, collectible glassware, marinade?

    As far as what to send, if I had to pick it would be Adam.

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  4. Jeff,

    As far as I know, shipping beer is technically against the rules of the big three (USPS/UPS/FedEx) and possible illegal depending on the destination country.

    You can use a carrier like BAX if you really want to, but I suggest you send it as "promotional material" or "yeast samples" and just pick the cheapest carrier for the destination.

    Beer and Coding

  5. Adam for sure... or Something from Cascade or Upright.

    I've done a couple international trades. As much as I hate shipping beer through the PO, you gotta do it for across the pond. UPS and FedEx have way more restrictions cost way too much when it comes to international shipping. Pack it good, seal the caps with electrical tape, hope for the best through the PO. I always use FedEx for shipping within the US though.

  6. Also, a couple loose grains of barley works wonders for covering up any sloshing sounds.

  7. I have flown and checked beer into Europe post 911. I realize that isn't what you asked.

    In 2008, I brought a variety of homebrew from brewers across the US to a fellow homebrewer in the UK. We had all brewed Russian Imperial Stouts using the same recipe and my co-incidental visit was too good to pass up.

    I mention this because, I full expected to get harassed about it or at the very least asked about it especially since one of the bottles broke and leaked (bottle bomb- packing was fine).

    It just arrived at the belt, I picked it up and walked away. No customs declarations, tariff considerations... nada.

    So all of the hoops and lying just to ship it seems... well, typical I guess.

  8. I work for a company that does a lot of shipping. The rules are that USPS does not ship alcohol at all in most cases. FedEx will but it's supposed to be designated as alcohol (which is way more expensive) and signed by for an adult. UPS is similar to FedEx but is slightly more lax about it. I think UPS is the way to go. I would also recommend lying about the contents. I have no idea what the customs ramifications are for alcohol, so calling it a yeast sample or soda might be a good idea.

    As for the beer, Deschutes black butte is a good 'un. I guess I don't know the full scale of Oregon beers, though.

  9. Funny you should mention. I'm travelling to Leeds in May! Small world :)