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View Full Version : Question 42B: How do you ship a sample of mead without violating postal laws?



WayneG
02-21-2017, 07:12 PM
Just looked into USPS and, they say NO alcohol, NO exceptions.
UPS may be a bit more lax.
How do you ship a small quantity of mead legally or semi legally with no worries?

caduseus
02-21-2017, 08:00 PM
Just looked into USPS and, they say NO alcohol, NO exceptions.
UPS may be a bit more lax.
How do you ship a small quantity of mead legally or semi legally with no worries?

USPS no
UPS yes
Fed Ex yes

Squatchy
02-21-2017, 09:00 PM
Put it in plastic water bottle. Squeeze any air out of it so it won't slosh. Tape the lid on. Don't declair ity as alcohol.

darigoni
02-21-2017, 10:33 PM
Yeast samples!

HeidrunsGift
02-21-2017, 11:50 PM
After going through this with FEDEX and UPS a little while ago, it sounds like to "technically" do this legally, you need a liscense of some sort (alcohol distribution liscense I think). But its probably a state by state issue, so whats legal here may be illegal where you are at. In other words, shipping mead as simply a home brewer from my state (VA) to elsewhere is illegal.

Maylar
02-22-2017, 12:24 PM
People ship samples for competitions all the time. UPS or FedEx. Seal the bottle(s) individually in ziplock bags in case of breakage so they don't leak. Wrap them well in bubble wrap. No movement or rattling. Box it like a gorilla will be handling it. If you need to put anything on the shipping form say "samples for evaluation".

58limited
02-23-2017, 08:44 PM
Just pack it real well and ship FEDEX. They don't ask what is in the box.

WayneG
02-24-2017, 06:53 AM
I sent it yesterday, we will see if my method works.
I used a 300 ml water bottle, filled it with minimal air for shake factor. I put electrical tape on the screw top. Put that in a zip baggie. I used a box 3 times the bottle size with airbag packing so the package would not feel overly dense for its size.
It only weighed one pound. I went online to UPS and printed up my own label, paid $10 with PayPal for ground service, then dropped it off at a UPS location, no questions asked.

darigoni
02-24-2017, 08:02 AM
Did the same thing on Wednesday, but dropped it off at a Staples office supply store. They asked what was in the box and I said "exotic vinegars". Now I'm tracking it as it bounces around various UPS locations and (hopefully) eventually makes it to its location.

WayneG
02-24-2017, 02:35 PM
I wonder how they would react if you were totally honest and said watered down honey?

darigoni
02-24-2017, 02:44 PM
But is that being totally honest? :-)

WayneG
02-24-2017, 02:49 PM
OK, so it is a bit of "alternate facts"
But that is what I put in the pail, honey & water, honest ;)

darigoni
02-24-2017, 04:04 PM
I wondered if you could get away with telling them that it was "fermented honey"?

Gummy
02-24-2017, 06:40 PM
It's a honey byproduct.

WayneG
02-24-2017, 08:00 PM
Or could tell them... PFOA testing sample in our neighborhood, want a sip?

MrMooCow
03-06-2017, 06:30 PM
The simple answer to this is "You Don't" (unless you have a TTB/ATF License). However, here's why people successfully ship samples all the time without being sent to Guantanamo Bay: The Government Jack Boots don't have the resources to go after everyone, so they concentrate on people who have money. Some guy shipping a few samples out of his basement doesn't have money, so they ignore him. The guy shipping ten thousand bottles has money, so they kick his door in and shoot his dog.

The key is not to slap them in the face with a dead trout. Or a live one either. As long as you don't basically force them to take notice (such as by shipping a leaking container by USPS), they will pretend they never heard of you.

I once asked the TTB if it was legal for me to advertise beer on tap as part of a rental listing for my spare rooms. Answer, in e-mail from a TTB agent, "No. Although, the advertising itself isn't really the problem. It's that you're essentially selling alcohol without a license by making it part of the rental deal. However, in such a situation, if you had a communal grocery bill for the house (1 gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, 50 pounds of grain), there would be no way we could legally prove you made beer with that grain and not bread." So the guy charged with enforcing the law is telling me how to skirt around the law.

WayneG
03-06-2017, 06:57 PM
A side note on the shipping problem, It arrived at its location without indecent
BUT
I got this email from UPS:

UPS Customer:

The attached file details adjustments that have been made to shipping charges originally billed to your PayPal account. These adjustments are for charges or credits that have occurred after the initial processing of your shipment(s). These adjustments have been applied to your PayPal account.

All shipments are subject to the terms and conditions contained in the UPS Tariff and the UPS Terms and Conditions of Service, which can be found at www.ups.com

I paid about $10.50 through Pay Pay. The attachment claims I either owe another $13 or the difference between the two?
The attachment was not clear about why they want me to pay more?
I know the weight was good, the box size was good, but it was complaining that the address was not exactly right?
Maybe UPS reads this forum and figured they could extort more money out of me. Or maybe I needed to give a sample to the carrier?
Anyway no adjustments have showed up on my PayPal account, so far!

MrMooCow
03-07-2017, 01:32 PM
Also, some links to shipping supplies that might be of interest.

https://www.landsberg.com/packaging/en/landsberg/wine-packaging Including Foam and Pulp Wine Shippers (including 375ml bottles)
https://www.uline.com/BL_5450/Wine-Shippers Foam Wine Shippers (750ml only)
http://spiritedshipper.com/ Cardboard shippers for 750ml, 375ml, magnum, and others.

WayneG
03-08-2017, 07:51 AM
Yep, just got shafted by UPS, besides the original $10.50 they charged to my PayPal account, they hit up my Pay Pal account again (without even asking) for another $13.50
So $24 to send a one pound package via UPS Ground half way across the country?

darigoni
03-08-2017, 01:20 PM
Did you ever get clarification on why the charged you more money? I know they charge more if it's to a residence, rather than a business. I just sent a 5+ lb box, from NH to TX, and it cost less than $20 (not counting the $10 Staples coupon I had).

WayneG
03-08-2017, 02:12 PM
Did you ever get clarification on why the charged you more money? I know they charge more if it's to a residence, rather than a business. I just sent a 5+ lb box, from NH to TX, and it cost less than $20 (not counting the $10 Staples coupon I had).

I called UPS this morning and they claim because the address was not 100% perfect, (which it was) they could not deliver it on the first try, so they charged me the $10.50 again and a extra $3 to correct the address and deliver it again! That is BS!

I called them on it and said the address was correct and they said they will remove the second charges.

Beware if you use Pay Pal to send something UPS, if there is a problem, they may automatically charge you again, without asking your permission!

caduseus
03-08-2017, 05:08 PM
I called UPS this morning and they claim because the address was not 100% perfect, (which it was) they could not deliver it on the first try, so they charged me the $10.50 again and a extra $3 to correct the address and deliver it again! That is BS!

I called them on it and said the address was correct and they said they will remove the second charges.

Beware if you use Pay Pal to send something UPS, if there is a problem, they may automatically charge you again, without asking your permission!

They did the same thing with me as well for 1 gallon of honey.
They claim that because it did not specify it was the first floor- which is all it could be- they would charge 13.50.

Maybe all of us should use FedEx since they are truly charging 13.50 regardless of what they claim it will cost.

Foothiller
03-12-2017, 08:56 PM
For what it's worth, I have been shipping entries to competitions using the UPS service at my local Staples store, after probably using more packaging than needed (preferring to err on the safe side). When they ask about the contents, I say "glass bottles", and they add "fragile" stickers on the box.