Best practices for getting beer from Wisconsin to Ohio
July 8, 2018 5:31 PM   Subscribe

This week I'm flying from Ohio to Wisconsin and back. I'd like to buy 2-3 cases of beer that is only sold in Wisconsin for personal consumption and somehow get them back to Ohio. I was originally going to throw them in my checked bag but now I realize that's a lot of volume and a lot of weight so it'll probably be expensive. Is there a better way to do this? USPS/FedEx/UPS?
posted by Tehhund to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I gather the best answer is FedEx and their Flat Rate boxes, but I only know this secondhand.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 5:45 PM on July 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

I may or may not have received have received several cases of a particular WI beer.

It is possible to ship them UPS/FedEx. You'll need to pack the bottles like they pack wine for shipping. Individual foam wrap, etc. The flat rate boxes work OK, but I've gotten larger ones as well. I've haven't had any breakage yet (knock on wood), and its been 1/2 a decade of doing this. So, it is possible if you pack them carefully.

I have no advice as to whether it is more cost efficient vs. checked luggage.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:48 PM on July 8, 2018 [5 favorites]

I'd bet, given baggage screening and handling, that you'll probably be better off with shipping it rather than going for an extra suitcase. I've never transported more than a single bottle of spirits in luggage, but I have transported a 5kg chocolate bar, which, given the density, guarantees you a detailed search of your checked bag, and a note from your friends at the TSA saying they've been poking around.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 5:50 PM on July 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

In case it's not clear, it is illegal to mail beer via USPS. Some people do it anyway, but it's a federal crime involving crossing state lines, so not really worth a case of beer imo.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:39 PM on July 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

Why not rent a car and drive from Wisconsin to Ohio?
posted by deadweightloss at 7:16 PM on July 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

As a data point, a case of Rheinlander bottles weighs 42 pounds. How do I know that, you ask?
Why don't you?
A case in Point weighs the same.
Spotted Cow might be lighter.
If you, or friends, ever get up Holland Michigan way we could arrange a relay.
posted by Floydd at 7:25 PM on July 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think your best bet is driving it there, if you don’t want it in your checked luggage. It’s not legal to ship there unless you have the right permits, regardless of which service you use.

Take a look here for details on the law.

That said, there aren’t limits on beer in checked luggage, other than the regular weight limits, so your first thought might have been the best.
posted by greermahoney at 7:37 PM on July 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

It is generally not cool to mail or ship or otherwise transport alcohol to yourself or anyone else across state lines. Here's a nongovernmental article that basically says what greermahoney says above. This is sort of what the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is for preventing. So it's sort of a big deal.

That said, for smaller shipments, like a single bottle of port, for example, I understand that if you are willing to fraudulently claim that what you're shipping is, e.g., vinegar, or barbeque sauce, most shippers will take your (prepackaged, pre-wrapped) shipment without further inspection, and deliver it to any address in any other state.

If you want to do it fully legally, the usual approach is to have your seller ship to a licensed (and willing) liquor distributor or liquor store. This usually requires distributor cooperation - because retail stores often have restricted arrangements with specific producers via specific distributors.
posted by kalessin at 10:23 PM on July 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I've successfully transported two six-packs of canned beer in my check luggage more than a few times, and it worked well. But any more than that or if the beer is bottled and you'll quickly get close to hitting the 50 lb weight limit and a big fee.

2 or 3 CASES is out of the question. I think even shipping that much via FedEx (which seems to be the most often recommended shipping route, both for legality and safety) is going to be costly and difficult. For that much beer, I think you really gotta put it in a trunk and drive it home. And don't get pulled over by a cop crossing state lines. I had a cousin questioned very hard by a LEO one time when he got pulled over near a state line with a bunch of beer for a party in the bed of his truck.
posted by cyclopticgaze at 6:25 AM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks all. Looks like I will be transporting just one case of cans - or as close to a case as will safely fit - in a checked bag.
posted by Tehhund at 7:11 AM on July 9, 2018

Be prepared to lose your cans. I know that it's hard to hear this, but you might need to give up this plan.

I go out to Minnesota every year. I used to bring a dozen bottles back in my carry-on, but now... Now I just drink as much Surly & Summit as I can get hold of during the trip, and pine away for it until the next visit.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:33 PM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

On one hand, I did this and successfully brought the beer home. On the other hand...
posted by Tehhund at 1:34 PM on August 9, 2018

« Older What is Gulf Island life like?   |   Getting California drivers license with recently... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.