I knew that something was wrong with this box of sample beers when the post office tried to deliver it four weeks after the brewery said they were sending it, and when I picked it up from the post office the box was wrapped in layers of plastic wrap because bottles had broken and leaked through. As the postman said to me, “Looks like someone didn’t package this one very well.”
Upon opening the box, I was speachless. It’s great that they double boxed the package, but as you can probably see there is no protection on the inside of the box. A pile of bottles was just packaged together and left to smack into each other on every bounce and throw of the box. By the time I got ahold of it, half of the bottles were broken, and the box was full of mold/yeast/beer. I didn’t bother to try and salvage anything; it went straight to the trash.
My intention is not to call out the offending brewery (I’ve tried to block out the brewery name, and I don’t think many will recognize these by sight; if you do figure it out, please keep it to yourself). I’m hoping some others (breweries and potential traders) can learn from this; you’d be surprised how badly some sample boxes are packed.
When beer is shipped through the mail, it must be packaged well. Ideally, one should use styrofoam or cardboard bottle shippers, which you can purchase through packaging supply companies and online at Uline.com. If that is not an option, then use bubble wrap, packaging peanuts, newspaper filler, multiple boxes, and whatever else will cushion the bottles from each other and the external environment. This trading primer at Ratebeer.com has a great section on how to package bottles of beer for shipping.