Monday, March 28, 2011

Broken Bottles and Shipping Beer

The first round of the National Homebrewing Competition (NHC) is currently open.  This year features a twist on previous competitions in that there are nine competition sites and each one is capped at 750 entries.  The twist is that a homebrewer can enter any competition site, so long as that site's cap has not yet been reached.  In previous years, the first round competition site was specified by a homebrewer's location, which led to some sites "selling out" while others still had room.  This change is a welcome one and it worked, as all nine sites completely filled up as of March 24th.

I elected to send my NHC entries to the competition site in Nashville, Tennessee, both because it is relatively close and because it is not one of the historically strong homebrewing competition areas (think Ohio area equals Gordon Strong and California equals Jamil Zainacheff, both big-time winnners).  I boxed up my entries, and those from one other member of the my homebrewing club (Charlottesville Area Masters of Real Ale - CAMRA), as I have many times in the past.  I shipped them off via UPS and delivery was assured in two days.  On the day of delivery, I was shocked to receive a "damaged package" report, which stated some of the package contents were broken, but some were salvagable and were delivered to the final destination.  I immediately sent an email to the competition organizer, who replied and stated he would not be able to find the package and get back to me until it was too late to send in replacement entries.  Thus, I packed up another set of entries and sent them off to ensure I had beer for the judges.

Shipping homebrew has long been a difficult process that has caused many homebrewers problems.  One of the members of my homebrew club, Jamey, has written an excellent post on how to help prevent bottle breakage in shipping beer (he has extensive experience in this area).  It is definately worth reading before sending any of your precious creations through the perils of the shipping process.

Good luck,



  1. Dead link for 'excellent post'. Would like to read it if available. Thanks

  2. My apologies. The link did not paste correctly when I first published the post. It should work now.




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