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Inexpensive group brew shipping?

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icedmetal

NewBee
Registered Member
Nov 16, 2009
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Everett WA
How have past GotMead group brews handled shipping? Any suggestions?

I've been looking at the shipping costs on UPS' website for 2lbs, which is roughly the weight of a full 750mL bottle, and well, ouch. If each group brew member is shipping to every other member, we're all going to spend more on shipping than on the mead itself! Not good. Would we be better off with two 350mL bottles, or just 1 350mL bottle, or even beer bottles instead? I've heard everybody shipping to a semi-central location then having them ship out from there is the best way to cut down the overall cost... and just based on cost alone I'm thinking we'll have to go with the smallest and probably lightest (beer) bottles.

Any feedback is appreciated.
 

d.j.patterson

NewBee
Registered Member
Mar 29, 2010
232
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Vass, NC
Good Lord! I just did the math on this myself. 13 other participants x 12.55/box to ship coast to coast = $163.15 :eek:

After shipping, this would certainly be my most expensive batch to date.

Edit: The last group brew appears to have only had 6 participants, so this may not have been such an issue.
 
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AToE

NewBee
Registered Member
Jun 8, 2009
4,066
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Calgary AB Canada
Don't forget some of us are over the boarder too. I'll have to look into the $, I might have to bow out of this one for the sake of my own wallet as well as everyone else's. It's not fun paying customs.
 

dacj501

NewBee
Registered Member
Jul 20, 2010
63
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Syracuse, NY
How many of us are there officially? I think we should send 1 shipment of X number of bottles to one person, who will then jumble up all the boxes and repackage and ship back to the originator...I bet there's a return service maybe even...

I'll be glad to volunteer to be the central guy, even though I'm not all that central, but I'm willing to do the packing/unpacking...

ETA: Also, I vote for 750 ml bottles
 
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BBBF

NewBee
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May 19, 2008
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Chicago, Land of Corruption
In our last group brew, we shipped our bottles separately. We had originally discussed everyone using the same sized bottles (standard beer) and sending all their bottles to one location, with the return postage paid for. Then their box would be filled with their share of everyone else's batches and sent back to them.

It sounded like a solid plan, but nobody stuck to it. Some people insisted on using 750mL bottles. Some people were too concerened with the single point of failure. We went with individual shipping and it was a bit expensive. It was about the cost of a bottle of wine at a store, which wasn't too bad.

When I looked at how many people are taking place in the chocolate group and read that single bottle shipping was still the preferred method, I stayed away. The meads I got from the Lime Group we're fantasitc and I'm glad I participated in the group brew. I'm sure the chocolate meads will be the same, but I just could not get past $150+ spent on shipping.

My $0.02, try to work out a single shipping point.
 

Chevette Girl

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Apr 27, 2010
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I've got friends with a US storage box so I'm going to ask them to check at Customs if I could drop it off over the border and ship it out from there. And if shipping two at once is less expensive than one at a time maybe AToE and I can combine our problems... I'll be seeing my friends tomorrow, they're international arms dealers (swords and knives) :) so they're pretty familiar with the border folks.
 

capoeirista13

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Aug 17, 2008
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Philadelphia
I have an idea, though I'm not sure everyone will be up to it.

First of all let me mention that although a lot of people (13) said they were interested in the original thread I think that significantly fewer people have actually committed by replying back with their brewlogs and brews/intentions to start brewlogs and brews soon. So it may not actually be as much as we are all thinking.

Second, if it does end up being expensive because of a large number of people, we could do a lottery. What I mean by this is that we would essentially pick x names out of a hat for each person to ship to and recieve from so that each person may be sending and recieving 5 bottles as opposed to 13.
 

icedmetal

NewBee
Registered Member
Nov 16, 2009
794
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Everett WA
If we went with a single centralish point to which we all shipped, then had things rearranged and shipped out again from there, we're looking at $40-50 in shipping costs each. I think this should be manageable for most folks, as you've got just about about a year and a half to save up.

The above cost is assuming 12 750mL bottles shipped twice per person. So a dozen folks that make it to the finish line. There's 15 of us right now, and I don't like assuming we're going to have dropouts, so let's see what other options there are...

Shipping 12oz bottles seems much more reasonable in terms of cost. You can ship a 12-pack 1-way for about $13, making each person's shipping cost around $26.

I'm totally OK with either one of these options, but from what was said by BBBF, it sounds like we're going to need folks to be pretty seriously committed to this. I'll post in the group brew thread once I've chosen the final bottle format, and hopefully if it causes anyone to back out it's not as big a deal this early in the game.

I'm leaning waaaaaay toward 12oz beer bottles shipped to a central location, all due to cost at this point.
 

dacj501

NewBee
Registered Member
Jul 20, 2010
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Syracuse, NY
I am begging you not to go with 12 oz bottles...I want to share these with a few people, and really prefer the 750 ml bottles...the single shipments don't have to only be 12 bottles - I know that cases come that way, but a larger box could be packed...like I said, I'll gladly repackage and bubble wrap stuff if folks want to use me as a central distributor...
 

AToE

NewBee
Registered Member
Jun 8, 2009
4,066
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Calgary AB Canada
If those prices are right then I see no problem with doing 750ml bottles. That said, I'm betting that prices are going to be at least double that for us Canadians (probably even more, I'm thinking more like double that amount EACH WAY), so we might have to figure something sneaky out like C.Girl was scheming.
 

akueck

Certified Mead Mentor
Certified Mead Mentor
Jun 26, 2006
4,958
10
0
Ithaca, NY
I personally like sending 12 oz bottles so we can all send 2 bottles to each participant. One you can open when you get it, one you can save for later. Or you can just open both at the same time. 2 12 oz bottles is almost the same volume as 1 750 ml. But if the general opinion is 750s, that's what I'll do.

For the shipping cost, don't forget that you need to pay twice to get it to a central location and back. So that $50 becomes $100. Still cheaper than individual shipping to 12 people. The lottery idea is ok if it comes to that, but I'm hoping it won't...mostly because I want to try all of them!
 

d.j.patterson

NewBee
Registered Member
Mar 29, 2010
232
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Vass, NC
I agree with dacj501 that a single 12 oz bottle is not enough. I have no problem bottling in 12 oz bottles, but I think at a minimum it should be two of those per person if not three. That way if something is outstanding there is still enough to share and if you don't particularly like something you can put some away and see if it improves with time.

The drawback to this is obviously that with the additional weight of the glass shipping costs now jump back up to $60/person if we do a centralized ship. So in short we need to ship at least a volume of liquid that would make this worth while and we are all tending to agree that centralized shipping makes the most sense.

Here is how we can address some of the drawbacks. If we end up with 15 participants, each person ships 17 or 18 (34 or 36 if 12 ozs) bottles to the central location with return shipping. The central location person then repackages the 15 different types into the original container and sends it back. That way if anyones entire shipment gets lost, broken, or held up at customs; the central person can pack up a new box with all of the flavors and ship to the unfortunate person. If not the central person gets some extra mead for going through the trouble of repackaging. Thoughts?

edit: I also don't really like the lottery idea
 

Chevette Girl

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The lottery idea is ok if it comes to that, but I'm hoping it won't...mostly because I want to try all of them!
I second that. Especially the Ole Mole and Chocolate Overlord... It will still work out cheaper than buying a dozen bottles of wine from the wine store, and probably much better than anything we could get for that price!
 

icedmetal

NewBee
Registered Member
Nov 16, 2009
794
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Everett WA
I am begging you not to go with 12 oz bottles...I want to share these with a few people, and really prefer the 750 ml bottles...the single shipments don't have to only be 12 bottles - I know that cases come that way, but a larger box could be packed...like I said, I'll gladly repackage and bubble wrap stuff if folks want to use me as a central distributor...
dacj501, how do you feel about shipping out two 12oz bottles per participant? Double benefit here: you can drink half w/o worrying about the rest spoiling, and the glass weight is probably lower for a couple beer bottles vs. one wine bottle.

Re: $50 becoming $100, I'd already doubled the shipping cost I was using as a basis. I'm hoping nobody (other than perhaps the Canadian folks :() will end up spending more than $50 on shipping.
 

d.j.patterson

NewBee
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Mar 29, 2010
232
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Vass, NC
The average weight for a bottle of wine is indeed about 2 lbs, however the average weight of a 12 pack of beer is between 18 and 21 lbs. So shipping a 30 pack would weigh 50 lbs and cost approx $70 one way. Shipping a 15 pack of wine bottles would weigh about 35 lbs with packaging and cost $55 one way.

At least this is what I can gather from wikianswers and UPS.

I agree that there is a certain appeal to being able to drink one and save one though. It is only a difference of $30 round-trip, so I am good either way.

Edit: Apparently the 2 lbs is wine weight and does not account for the bottle, cork, etc. So the actual weight of a bottle is closer to 3.5 lbs. So the added weight in my calculations makes shipping either one about the same.
 

icedmetal

NewBee
Registered Member
Nov 16, 2009
794
1
0
Everett WA
So, 15 750mL wine bottles at 3.33lbs each = ~50lbs.

50lbs from here to there, here being wherever, there being wherever, and numbers being approximate: $35.

So double that, $70.

Of course I'm down for this, but am still concerned this is more than folks realized they were signing up to spend. I know it's more than I initially realized. I'll post a note on the group brew thread citing an expected shipping cost of $80. Gas'll cost more by then...
 

dacj501

NewBee
Registered Member
Jul 20, 2010
63
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0
Syracuse, NY
If the consensus is multiple 12 oz bottles, I 'll deal (I don't have any, I only really bottle in 750s but I imagine I can get my hands on some). If it is truly cheaper for the 12s then that's cool...if it is about the same I'd still like the 750s.

-----

Just weighed things on my kitchen scale.

1 750 ml bottle of cherry melomel weighs 2 pounds 9.2 oz.
1 12 oz bottle of Saranac India Pale Ale (only 12 oz I've got) weighs 1 pound 4.2 oz.

This means that a 750ml weighs 2.04 times as much as a 12 oz, so 2 12s will be 8/10 of an oz (about 23 grams) lighter, but will also require additional packaging to keep twice as many bottles safe...
 

akueck

Certified Mead Mentor
Certified Mead Mentor
Jun 26, 2006
4,958
10
0
Ithaca, NY
I shipped a case of wine (12 750s) from CA to WI in April, it cost $50 (regular ground shipping). Recently shipping two 12 oz bottles from CA to UT or CO was about $13, and to NY about $15. I haven't tried it yet but I imagine shipping a case of wine bottles and a case of beer bottles would come out close to the same cost.

As far as bottle format goes, I'd be fine bottling in mixed sizes and giving 2 12s to one person and 1 750 to another...if our central shipper wants to deal with that headache. I mostly have beer bottles but over the next year or two I'm sure I can acquire some Martinelli's bottles (mine will all be crown capped).

I second sending the shipping organizer some extra bottles for the trouble. Could be some bottles of other batches too; I would probably send some beer or maybe even a bottle of lambic.
 
African Bronze Honey - 50% off for GotMead members