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Craft Brewers: 3 Tips on How to Ship Your Alcohol Across State Lines

Even the most recreational of drinkers know that alcohol has cemented its place in American folklore over the past two and a half centuries. Major historical events such as the Prohibition Era in the 1920s attempted to outlaw beer, wine and spirits, but the government’s effort was to no avail, as a whole new underground market emerged from the legislation.

Since the repeal of prohibition nearly 100 years ago, a wide variety of alcoholic drinks have been introduced to the everyday consumer, and craft beers seem to be spearheading the artisan-brewed beverage charge in the U.S. The New Yorker recently reported that as of March 2013, there were 2,360 craft breweries in America. As of January 2014, that figure topped 2,700, according to the Brewer’s Association.

While the West Coast and Northeast regions of the country are traditionally known to have more craft breweries, all 50 states have at least three or more brewers, The New Yorker found. For the beer aficionados out there – or lovers of any craft alcohol for that matter – a road trip may result in a few cases of foreign product in the back of your automobile. However, if taste and desire trump the distance covered, a vacationer may want to advise these tips prior to shipping excess booze across state lines:

Check out shipping regulations first:

Even though prohibition ended almost a century ago, some states still don’t allow large amounts of alcohol to be transported across their borders. For example, according to the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, patrons are prohibited from transporting more than three gallons of distilled spirits outside of the state, and no more than a gallon of the same elixir can be imported from outside the commonwealth. If you’re planning to ship more than that amount, it may be time to consider changing your last name to Capone and befriending large Italian cronies. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, says that shipments of booze across domestic borders is prohibited if they’re in violation of the receiving state’s laws. So do your homework before you leave and well after you’ve indulged in your new favorite drink.

Pack it like it’s your last drink:

The only thing more valuable than the content inside of the bottle may be the container itself, especially if the craft brewery or distillery takes pride in its label artwork. In terms of shipping souvenirs back home, there’s not much worse than opening up a box whose contents are littered throughout the inside – especially if they’re liquid. To avoid a pungent and potentially hazardous reunion upon arrival from a vacation, make sure you pack the contents like it’s your last drink, otherwise you won’t even have the chance to enjoy it all over again. The same goes for businesses that ship across state lines; nothing irks a customer more than a beverage they can’t consume because of poor TLC.

Research any extra steps that need to be taken:

Since alcohol is a popular commodity, there are some instances that a consumer or business shipping their product will have to jump through a few extra hoops. For instance, FedEx requires patrons to sign an alcohol shipping agreement prior to dropping it in the mail, its website says. Moreover, an of-age adult needs to be on the receiving end to sign for the party parcel, otherwise the shipment will be deemed undeliverable and everyone involved loses. Spirits are not only best enjoyed responsibly, but tangibly. There’s no need to risk shipping alcohol across state lines – just do your homework and enjoy it based on taste, not on memory.

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