First Mail Trade

People do crazy things for beer. Take trips across the country to other states and get hotel rooms, wait in lines for hours for a chance at entering a lottery, follow distribution trucks around town, take vacation days to head to limited releases, meet strangers from the Internet to trade… there is seemingly no limit to what people will do. I’ve done some of these things myself, but had never done a mail trade until recently.

I managed to get my hands on about 1750 different beers in Ohio, on work trips and vacations, and while I still have options here, I’ve always known that this is something I wanted to try. I didn’t really put it off, because I didn’t have a trade partner, but I never actively sought one. An opportunity arose to join a group trade and I thought about it for about a week. I didn’t think I was going to do it, but changed my mind and signed up.

The match that I sent to was located in Texas. I used this website to compare what is available there to what is available in Ohio. When filling out the signup they said that they loved IPAs, but enjoyed saisons and pretty much every type of beer. I sent the following:


The match that sent to me was located in Arizona. I gave him the same basic info, and we talked a little about what I liked. A couple weeks later I had an impressive haul on my counter, including snacks!FullSizeRender

Now, some of the boring details about cost, shipping, and things I learned:

  • Yes, this was absolutely worth doing.
  • Don’t buy shipping (moving) supplies from Lowe’s, it’s way overpriced.
  • Wrap bottle caps and can tabs with electrical tape to prevent them from getting snagged and opening.
  • Place bottles inside of ziploc bags incase anything does break and leak, as the entire box will be thrown away.
  • Wrap bottles and cans with bubble wrap, held on with rubberbands so that the bubble wrap can be re-used.
  • Fill in space between items to prevent shifting, continuous, and especially hard collisions between glass bottles.
  • Place box inside of garbage bag and close. Place box/bag inside of a slightly larger box, with a little more packaging.
  • It is illegal to ship beer through USPS (I didn’t try this), where it is a gray area with UPS/FedEx.
  • FedEx is a little more gentle with boxes than UPS, and has weekend delivery.
  • It cost a little over $20 to ship a 17-18lb box.
  • Print the label and drop it off at the store to avoid questions.