If you had asked me this question during 5th grade lunch you would have received an emphatic “Yes!” along with a ceremonious handing over of my salami sandwich, chocolate milk and carrot sticks. Not the dessert though. That was mine. These days, I’m not so sure. As I have come to embrace the wonderful craft beer community, I find I am being offered beer trades more and more. This is a true testament to the openness and spirit of generosity of craft beer drinkers. However, it is also a proposition that comes with a significant amount of risk involved, especially for females. Do I really want to give away the true location of the batcave? What if someone shows up at my door with a suitcase or worse yet a mask and a chainsaw?
Let’s face it, most people just want what my local beer scene can provide, and, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want the liquid goodness found only on the other side of the country as well.
However, trading and shipping beer to other states is not “exactly” legal. Plus anyone who has ever watched an episode of Dateline with Chris Hansen knows that the person you think you are talking to might turn out to be a 13yo or an undercover cop. So, even offering up the possibility of a trade should be done gingerly, politely (I would suggest not using all caps) and with extreme caution. Also, be prepared if the person you wish to trade with declines your offer and respect their reasons and right to privacy. There are many forums available for those who do wish to trade. There are many legal avenues to get your far away beer fix such as beer of the month clubs, online beer stores like BeerJobber, the world’s first brewery fresh craft beer market, and Beer on the Wall, as well as direct from the brewers such as Rogue, who sell limited bottles of beers including the Voodoo Donut Bacon Maple Ale.
Here are some other things to consider if you’re considering shipping beer, (like say for a homebrewing competition….not that I’m saying you should)
1. DO NOT USE The US Postal Service (USPS). They strictly prohibit the shipping of alcohol.
3. Don’t be surprised. Know what you’re getting into by researching local state and federal laws and after all that if you do negotiate a trade (not that you should) decide upfront exactly what you’re going to give and what you’re going to get so that both parties feel that the trade was even and fair.
**the writing of this post does not condone beer trading or constitute legal advice in any way, shape, or form. Please check your local, state and federal laws if you attempt to engage in beer trading or shipping activity.