How to Trade Beer Like a Pro by Sam

So, you want to trade beers?  Awesome!

Drinking beer from other parts of the country is a cool hobby.  However, I have to warn you it’s expensive, time consuming, and not 100 percent legal.

Still down?  Cool.

Here’s how to trade beer like a pro or at least how to get started.  I’m not really an expert at this, but “how to trade beer like a pro” made for a catchy title, and it worked! You’re here! I remember my first trades when I was figuring out how to trade beer, and it was daunting. Hopefully these tips will help you as you ease into the trading game.

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How to Trade Beer: Finding Trade Partners

First, you have to understand trading beer is similar to dating.  You have to court people into “going steady” and build a relationship from the ground up.  If they live near hot spots like Monkish, Veil, and Tired Hands, you aren’t the only one flirting with them.

Another similarity to dating is where you find trade candidates.  Instead of sites like eHarmony and Match, Instagram, Reddit, and Facebook beer groups are the places I use.  I have found several traders on Instagram.  Most of them put open to trades in their bio and a simple DM can get things started. In fact, the pictures from this guide were for a box going to guy who sent me Parish Bloom when it came out.

Since we’ve traded multiple times, he sent me a box on credit and asked for Juiceton, Hops Drop, and Houston Haze after Juicefest.  All of our communication has gone exclusively, down in the DM.

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How to Trade Beer: Negotiations 

Once you find a willing trader, next comes the negotiating stage.  There are two types of trades.  Dollar for dollar is the most common and equitable.  Another type of trade is if someone has a rare or valuable beer.  These are commonly referred to as whales.  Rare sours and stouts usually fall into this category.

If a trader has whales they will expect more beers back in return instead of equal money spent.  I go with dollar for dollar, because I mainly trade for hazy IPA’s and stouts because that’s what my wife and I drink.

During the beginning of trading relationships my suggestion is to start small.  There are scammers everywhere, who will enjoy the box you send and you will never hear from them again. There are also people that will ask you to trade, and then they’ll back out or completely go ghost once you get it. Just use caution and put forth some effort in the courting portion.

How to Trade Beer: Packing The Box

Okay, your deal is set and it’s time to prepare the box for shipping.  I always keep packaging tape, electrical tape, bubble wrap, and ziplock bags on hand.

My wife Amber is a master packer and has an amazing shipping success rate.  I will explain how to pack cans followed by bottles.

First, she puts all cans in ziplock bags to protect against heat and air pressure.  She uses sandwich bags for 12 oz, quart for 16 oz, and gallon for 32 oz Crowlers.  Next, she rolls the cans in bubble wrap and wraps packing tape around each can.

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Bottles are riskier and caution is needed, because they can bust easily and ruin a box.  Step one for bottles is wrapping the necks with electrical tape.  After the electrical tape she rolls them in bubble wrap and tapes just like the cans.  The only exception is wax dipped bottles, which are already protected.

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You’re almost done (boxing up that is)!  Arranging the beers in the box is the part where Amber is truly amazing.  Geometry comes into play here.  You have to arrange the beers just right so the box is tight and the beers don’t move around.  Obviously, don’t place bottles next to bottles.  Some people use bottle shippers for whales.  These are great but I don’t use them and breakage hasn’t been an issue for me.  Once the beers are arranged my job is to hold the box shut while Amber tapes the middle shut. Next, she packs the box with peanuts or other soft packing material for cushion. Finally, she tapes all sides of the box and her job is done.

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It may have come to your attention, that there’s nothing but hops being shipped in our out. That’s unique to his haul, but it serves as a good barometer for what’s in demand from Houston. SpindleTap Houston Haze, Hops Drop and Juiceton, Copperhead Kangaroo Killer, Whole Foods Market Brewing DL Double and Summer Skies DIPA, just to name a few. All hops.houston-beer-how-to-trade-beer-packing-package

How to Trade Beer: Shipping the Box

Now you’re boxed up and ready to ship!

There, are three services to choose from UPS, FedEX, and USPS.  I personally use the post office.  I like their if it fits it ships options.  This fixes your shipping cost.  The large box caps out at $18.85 for shipping fees.  The boxes are free to take home so I always grab a few to have on hand.  The last step is to send the tracking number to the recipient.

Never lose the tracking number!  Trying to locate a box without it is damn near impossible, no matter what beer trading guide you use.

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Now you know how to trade beer!

My last piece of advice is don’t set up too many trades at once.  Boxing up multiple boxes (and paying for them) isn’t fun.

Good luck, and hopefully you’ll be able to use to terms like porch bomb and beermail very soon.  Do you have some other tips on how to trade beer that our readers could benefit from?  Let us know in the comments below.  Beers to you Houston!

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Sam
sam.nichols@beerchronicle.com
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