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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: esheppy on November 29, 2010, 10:55:45 AM

Title: Shipping Beer
Post by: esheppy on November 29, 2010, 10:55:45 AM
I know that the USPS will not ship beer.  I am pretty sure FedEx and UPS only ship beer if you are a company that specifically signs a contract with them.  As far as I know, the only way to ship home brew is to lie about what is being shipped.

Does anyone out there have a way to legally get your beer shipped without breaking the law?  Maybe some other less known shipping company?

 :o
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: tschmidlin on November 29, 2010, 11:02:51 AM
It is not illegal to ship beer to most states with FedEx or UPS, just against their policy.  Call it "yeast samples" or "gifts" or something like that.

I don't know of any shipper that has a policy of knowingly taking beer from individuals.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: bluesman on November 29, 2010, 11:06:00 AM
It is not illegal to ship beer to most states with FedEx or UPS, just against their policy.  Call it "yeast samples" or "gifts" or something like that.

I don't know of any shipper that has a policy of knowingly taking beer from individuals.

Agreed.

I use UPS regularly and I tell them that I am shipping glassware.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: theDarkSide on November 29, 2010, 11:14:43 AM
I setup a personal UPS account, print my label at home, and bring the box into the office for the daily UPS pickup...no issues ever.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: jeffy on November 29, 2010, 12:08:46 PM
I setup a personal UPS account, print my label at home, and bring the box into the office for the daily UPS pickup...no issues ever.

Yeah, they don't even ask any questions, so there's no reason to lie.  You can create an account on-line and use a drop off point, like a local office supply store.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: micsager on November 29, 2010, 02:22:31 PM
It is not illegal to ship beer to most states with FedEx or UPS, just against their policy.  Call it "yeast samples" or "gifts" or something like that.

I don't know of any shipper that has a policy of knowingly taking beer from individuals.

Hey Tom, I shipped my beer UPS last year for the Cascade Brewer's Cup.  Told the guy what was and everything.  His only comment:  Good luck.

Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: tschmidlin on November 29, 2010, 02:31:57 PM
It is not illegal to ship beer to most states with FedEx or UPS, just against their policy.  Call it "yeast samples" or "gifts" or something like that.

I don't know of any shipper that has a policy of knowingly taking beer from individuals.

Hey Tom, I shipped my beer UPS last year for the Cascade Brewer's Cup.  Told the guy what was and everything.  His only comment:  Good luck.
Yeah, you occasionally find people at the counter who don't know or don't care about the UPS policy.

Quote from: http://www.ups.com/wine#Who+Can+Ship+Wine
Who Can Ship Wine
Who can ship wine via UPS services?

UPS only accepts packages containing wine from shippers who are licensed under applicable law and who have signed and entered into a contract with UPS for the transportation of wine.

Note: UPS provides service for other alcoholic beverages (beer and alcohol) on a contract basis only. For shipments containing beer or alcohol, shippers must enter into an approved UPS agreement for the transportation of beer or alcohol as applicable, must be licensed and authorized under applicable law to ship beer and alcohol, and may ship only to licensed consignees. UPS does not accept shipments of beer or alcohol for delivery to consumers. UPS accepts shipments of beer or alcohol only among and between selected states.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: Beertracker on November 29, 2010, 03:52:07 PM
I prefer using FedEx for shipping beer. I have an account that allows me to be billed or pre-pay, print labels at the office or home. I ship beer all the time either to friends & family, contests or beer trading. No problems, so long as its packed well. Legality? Don't care.  :-X 
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: uisgue on November 29, 2010, 08:13:53 PM
I go with the printable UPS shipping labels from my computer as well.  Nobody has ever even inquired about the contents when I drop them off at the shipping store.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: Mikey on November 29, 2010, 09:51:44 PM
I ship USPS flat rate. What they don't know won't hurt any of us.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: a10t2 on November 30, 2010, 07:39:57 AM
It'll hurt *you* if they find out and decide to press charges.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: cheba420 on November 30, 2010, 08:54:27 AM
Anyone in the Indiana or Chicago area want to send me some Gumballhead??? Been wanting to try that one for a while now. I'll take my chances with UPS.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: foobrew on November 30, 2010, 05:19:14 PM
It'll hurt *you* if they find out and decide to press charges.

Brings up a good point..have you (or anyone on this forum) ever heard of this actually happening to someone? I haven't and I've been doing it for years.

I shipped three cases of beer from a monastery I wont name in three different boxes back from Belgium this year and a fourth box full of beer from Paris. All via USPS, once it was stateside, and all arrived at my local post office. Only one box was damaged so bad that a few of the bottles broke. When I picked it up, they'd wrapped it in plastic and it smelled horrible. They kept asking what it was so I finally said something about cooking supplies, vinegar, etc. The spine was busted on another box and was so bad that you could actually reach in and pull out a bottle; surprisingly, they were all accounted for, though! Anyways, no issues at all. For the record, the Belgian post all but gave me their blessing, however, the French were freaking out because I didn't have a French return address..eventually, they let me ship it after a bunch of dirty looks. Not once did they question what was in it, they just wanted to make sure it said something on the forms; I used "Souvaniers/Personal Purchases." I will say that a worker at a different Paris post office than the one I used told me specifically that they would ship wine/beer to anywhere in the world...except the USA. They even have special boxes for it. The price to have shipped all that back internationally with UPS or Fedex was completely prohibitive; their prices were astronomical compared to standard post.

I've also shipped plenty of beers nationally to competitions and never had an issue. Really, who has?
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: Mikey on November 30, 2010, 05:31:22 PM
It's much like the states that don't allow home brewing. those that want to, do. I've never heard of anyone getting busted for that nor shipping beer by the USPS. I'm sure there are some instances, but they may also be myths.

I also don't drive 55.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: topher.bartos on January 21, 2013, 10:49:22 AM
They are getting your business. I'm sure they don't really care all that much what you are shipping...
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: mugwort on January 21, 2013, 09:45:43 PM
It is a bit sad that there seems no technically legit way to ship home-made alcohol in the United States.  This means that each time we do so, we are prepared to lie about it.

Like esheppy, I'd like to know of a way to ship homebrew without having to tell a lie.  This brings to mind something that's easy to forget.  It really wasn't that long ago that homebrewing was illegal in the US.

I don't know if that realization should make me feel grateful or pissed off.  Appreciation of the merits of homebrewing has come a long way in public consciousness, but unfortunately we still have to ship in secret.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: Hokerer on January 22, 2013, 07:52:51 AM
It is a bit sad that there seems no technically legit way to ship home-made alcohol in the United States.  This means that each time we do so, we are prepared to lie about it.

Like esheppy, I'd like to know of a way to ship homebrew without having to tell a lie.  This brings to mind something that's easy to forget.  It really wasn't that long ago that homebrewing was illegal in the US.

No, like folks have already said, just set yourself up a free account at UPS or FedEx and create your own shipment and shipping label.  Then just take it to one of their dropoffs.  Nowhere during the shipment creation process does it ask you what you're shipping.  Nor have, in all the times I've dropped shipments off, anyone asked what I'm shipping.  So absolutely no need to lie about anything.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: Jimmy K on January 22, 2013, 08:09:31 AM
It is a bit sad that there seems no technically legit way to ship home-made alcohol in the United States.  This means that each time we do so, we are prepared to lie about it.

Like esheppy, I'd like to know of a way to ship homebrew without having to tell a lie.  This brings to mind something that's easy to forget.  It really wasn't that long ago that homebrewing was illegal in the US.

No, like folks have already said, just set yourself up a free account at UPS or FedEx and create your own shipment and shipping label.  Then just take it to one of their dropoffs.  Nowhere during the shipment creation process does it ask you what you're shipping.  Nor have, in all the times I've dropped shipments off, anyone asked what I'm shipping.  So absolutely no need to lie about anything.
Exactly. They're only asking because the computer prompts them to. The online label creator does not.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: GolfBum on January 22, 2013, 09:21:49 AM
I have the luxury of having a shipping department at work. Not only do I know the guy shipping my brew but it  also costs a lot less because we ship so much.

I have been to a UPS store and they asked if there was anything liquid in the box, I just say no and they don't care. Just make sure to wrap the bottles with newspaper, put newspaper between the bottles. I add a garbage bag to keep the liquids in if they break. Never had that happen but can't be too careful.

Either way don't sweat it. It will get to where you want it to go, with no issues.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: jwaldner on January 25, 2013, 06:55:26 AM
It is a bit sad that there seems no technically legit way to ship home-made alcohol in the United States.  This means that each time we do so, we are prepared to lie about it.

Like esheppy, I'd like to know of a way to ship homebrew without having to tell a lie.  This brings to mind something that's easy to forget.  It really wasn't that long ago that homebrewing was illegal in the US.

I don't know if that realization should make me feel grateful or pissed off.  Appreciation of the merits of homebrewing has come a long way in public consciousness, but unfortunately we still have to ship in secret.

I concur! I was just asked this yesterday by a FedEx employee and was turned away. There should a legal way to ship beer to competitions without having to compromise your morals. How do we get the AHA to work on this issue and get FedEx/UPS to permit shipping for analysis at homebrew competitions?
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: a10t2 on January 25, 2013, 08:28:58 AM
How do we get the AHA to work on this issue and get FedEx/UPS to permit shipping for analysis at homebrew competitions?

They are, although I'm sure a phone call couldn't hurt.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: kramerog on January 25, 2013, 09:04:54 AM
Since it isn't clear that you can legally transport homebrew in certain, perhaps many states (ahem Illinois), I'm not sure why Fed Ex or UPS would want to knowingly transport homebrew.  Let's focus on making transportation of homebrew legal first.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: Jimmy K on January 25, 2013, 09:36:14 AM
Since it isn't clear that you can transport homebrew in certain, perhaps many states (ahem Illinois), I'm not sure why Fed Ex or UPS would want to knowingly transport homebrew.  Let's focus on making transportation of homebrew legal first.
Good point.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: Hokerer on January 25, 2013, 09:58:01 AM
Since it isn't clear that you can legally transport homebrew in certain, perhaps many states (ahem Illinois), I'm not sure why Fed Ex or UPS would want to knowingly transport homebrew.  Let's focus on making transportation of homebrew legal first.

Which begs a kind of interesting question.  It's really hard to find authoritative information but it appears as though it is technically illegal to bring into (technically "import") Pennsylvania any quantity of alcohol.  Now, everybody does it and nobody gets in trouble for it but you have to wonder, with the AHA conference being is big as it is, could that make any ears perk up?  Has the AHA addressed the legality of all the clubs that'll be bringing homebrew into the state?
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: denny on January 25, 2013, 10:02:49 AM
How do we get the AHA to work on this issue and get FedEx/UPS to permit shipping for analysis at homebrew competitions?

It has been being worked on for many years....since before I was on the GC.  Basically, FedEX, UPS and DHC have decided there isn't enough money in it to make it worth their while.  There have been legislative efforts underway to get the USPS rules changed, byut getting those laws altered takes a long time.  In short, don't assume the AHA isn't working on this.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: denny on January 25, 2013, 10:04:48 AM
Has the AHA addressed the legality of all the clubs that'll be bringing homebrew into the state?

I would have to imagine so.  Being able to transport homebrew in WA held up having the conference there until the law was changed.  I can't imagine that it would be different in PA.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: Jimmy K on January 25, 2013, 10:12:00 AM
Has the AHA addressed the legality of all the clubs that'll be bringing homebrew into the state?

Legal rules is something mentioned on the page regarding "so you want ::insert your city:: to host a convention" though I can't remember where that page is.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: tschmidlin on January 25, 2013, 10:17:43 AM
It is a bit sad that there seems no technically legit way to ship home-made alcohol in the United States.  This means that each time we do so, we are prepared to lie about it.

Like esheppy, I'd like to know of a way to ship homebrew without having to tell a lie.  This brings to mind something that's easy to forget.  It really wasn't that long ago that homebrewing was illegal in the US.

I don't know if that realization should make me feel grateful or pissed off.  Appreciation of the merits of homebrewing has come a long way in public consciousness, but unfortunately we still have to ship in secret.

I concur! I was just asked this yesterday by a FedEx employee and was turned away. There should a legal way to ship beer to competitions without having to compromise your morals. How do we get the AHA to work on this issue and get FedEx/UPS to permit shipping for analysis at homebrew competitions?
Don't ship beer, ship "yeast samples for analysis".  Unless you filter out your yeast, that is 100% true, if misleading.  Ship Fedex or UPS, it's just against their policies.  Shipping USPS is against the law.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: Jimmy K on January 25, 2013, 10:18:06 AM
From the NHC 2014 thread (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=14104.0)
 
Grand Rapids beat out several cities for the event, including Austin, Texas, which was knocked out by strict liquor-control laws that prevented further consideration.

Looks like the Texans have some work to do.

So a definate maybe.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: denny on January 25, 2013, 10:51:52 AM
Don't ship beer, ship "yeast samples for analysis".  Unless you filter out your yeast, that is 100% true, if misleading.  Ship Fedex or UPS, it's just against their policies.  Shipping USPS is against the law.

I've heard that a lot of places are onto that.  I simply say it's "gifts" becasue, after all, beer is a gift...right?
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: Hokerer on January 25, 2013, 05:06:00 PM
Has the AHA addressed the legality of all the clubs that'll be bringing homebrew into the state?

I would have to imagine so.  Being able to transport homebrew in WA held up having the conference there until the law was changed.  I can't imagine that it would be different in PA.

Yeah, I assumed something had been done about it.  Was mostly curious how whatever it was that was done was done.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: garyg on January 28, 2013, 10:00:16 AM
According to PA law, homebrew can be used for organized events and there is no specific limit placed on how much can be transported for such events. 

Prior to the law being changed in Washington, there was a prohibitively small limit on the amount of homebrew that could be transported.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: jwaldner on January 28, 2013, 04:16:22 PM
According to PA law, homebrew can be used for organized events and there is no specific limit placed on how much can be transported for such events. 

Prior to the law being changed in Washington, there was a prohibitively small limit on the amount of homebrew that could be transported.

Gary, is there anything being done about being able to ship through FedEx or UPS without violating their policies or state laws?

I know it's against their policies (FedEx/UPS) but I believe their policies are based on state/federal distribution laws prohibiting shipments. In addition, it creates a moral dilemma for some eventhough it's suggested someone either omit information when shipping or try and convince the shipper it's not actually beer but a yeast sample.

Regarding the upcoming conference and competition, according to this link (http://www.lcb.state.pa.us/cons/groups/system_internet/documents/webasset/000820.pdf) it appears PA forbids the shipment into the state. I think it would be great if the AHA looked into this for the benefit of it's members and to try and keep things on the up and up with all shippers and states. Cheers!
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: a10t2 on January 28, 2013, 04:41:24 PM
Quote from: 47 PA 4-491
It shall be unlawful--
...
(2) For any person, except a manufacturer or the board or the holder of a sacramental wine license or of an importer's license, to possess or transport any liquor or alcohol within this Commonwealth which was not lawfully acquired prior to January first, one thousand nine hundred and thirty-four, or has not been purchased from a Pennsylvania Liquor Store or a licensed limited winery in Pennsylvania, except in accordance with section 488 or the board's regulations.

Emphasis mine. Sounds legal to me.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: Jimmy K on January 28, 2013, 08:47:37 PM
Quote from: 47 PA 4-491
It shall be unlawful--
...
(2) For any person, except a manufacturer or the board or the holder of a sacramental wine license or of an importer's license, to possess or transport any liquor or alcohol within this Commonwealth which was not lawfully acquired prior to January first, one thousand nine hundred and thirty-four, or has not been purchased from a Pennsylvania Liquor Store or a licensed limited winery in Pennsylvania, except in accordance with section 488 or the board's regulations.

Emphasis mine. Sounds legal to me.
Not sure you read that right.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: tschmidlin on January 28, 2013, 10:22:02 PM
Prior to the law being changed in Washington, there was a prohibitively small limit on the amount of homebrew that could be transported.
it was 1 gallon, and then it could only be tasted by judges. ::)
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: redbeerman on January 29, 2013, 05:29:48 AM
Civil disobedience is sometimes required to get laws changed.  To me, it is not a moral dilemma.  Laws are not necessarily based on morality.  $$$ speak very loudly in politics.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: micsager on January 29, 2013, 09:27:34 AM
Civil disobedience is sometimes required to get laws changed.  To me, it is not a moral dilemma.  Laws are not necessarily based on morality.  $$$ speak very loudly in politics.

+1, but you must be willing to accept the ramifactions from such disobedience. 
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: redbeerman on January 29, 2013, 09:55:50 AM
Civil disobedience is sometimes required to get laws changed.  To me, it is not a moral dilemma.  Laws are not necessarily based on morality.  $$$ speak very loudly in politics.

+1, but you must be willing to accept the ramifactions from such disobedience.

Absolutely, nothing is free.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: morticaixavier on January 29, 2013, 11:02:42 AM
Civil disobedience is sometimes required to get laws changed.  To me, it is not a moral dilemma.  Laws are not necessarily based on morality.  $$$ speak very loudly in politics.

+1, but you must be willing to accept the ramifactions from such disobedience.

Absolutely, nothing is free.

I gotta say, sending beer through UPS and saying it is yeast sample doesn't really qualify as civil disobedience in my mind. It's just trying to get one over on the authorities. Nothing wrong with that but it's different.

Sending beer through the USPS and labeling it BEER in large letters on the outside of the package might qualifiy as civil disobedience though.

as far as I know sending beer via FedEx or UPS is simple going against corporate policy in which case have at. their policy is not my law. perhaps shipping booze into states that do not allow shipping booze is breaking the actual law so that's different and each person must decide for themselves if that is something they are willing to do.
Title: Re: Shipping Beer
Post by: garyg on January 30, 2013, 08:34:38 AM
Gary, is there anything being done about being able to ship through FedEx or UPS without violating their policies or state laws?

We have tried getting FedEx and UPS to change their policies, but those discussions never got very far.  We briefly were able to get DHL to say they would accept shipments of homebrew, but that was short lived. 

The AHA is working through the Brewers Association on shipping homebrew for competitions at the federal level. I can't go into any more detail than that at this point.

State shipping laws are primarily aimed at ensuring the state collects tax revenue on alcohol purchases and preventing alcohol from being shipped to minors.  Homebrew shipped for competitions doesn't fall under either of those two issues.  We have not yet seen any state shipping laws being interpreted to ban shipment of homebrew for organized affairs, like competitions.  That could happen, but is unlikely, unless homebrew ends up in the hands of minors or gets serve to the public or something along those lines. 

Changing state alcohol shipping laws would be very complicated - I think much more so than legalizing homebrewing or adjusting state laws to allow for club meetings and competitions.  For now, the AHA is focusing it's attention on legislation aimed at legalizing homebrewing in Alabama and Mississippi and addressing issues that arise around homebrewing rights like serving homebrew at club meetings and at competitions.