Beer trading is a thing. I tried it very briefly a long time ago and quickly realized it wasn’t my thing. I hated practically every aspect of trading beer except for the getting beer part. I hated having to find a trading partner. I hated making ISO/FT forum posts that would lead to awkward conversations with people. It was beer, not the stock market.
I hated having to pack up a box containing glass bottles that, themselves, contained liquid. You needed to pack that shit good because one wrong move from a delivery person, and there are a lot of those, and your package is kaput. It should be noted that sending beer between private citizens through any type of post is frowned upon. All the major shipping companies (UPS, Fedex, DHL) have policies against it and it’s actually illegal to ship alcohol through the USPS. So in order to partake in this hobby (really?) you have to be sneaky about this whole thing. If you go into a shipping company location to send out that box they are going to ask you what’s in the box, especially when they hear a sloshing sound coming from within. I just don’t have it in me anymore to tell a UPS store employee that it’s yeast samples or lava lamps in those boxes. Who the fuck is shipping lava lamps anyway? Is there a big market for them that I’m unaware of?
After I had one package, that I sent, break I called it quits. I made it up to the person that was supposed to get that box and I was done, cold turkey. I have still bought some beer online from legitimate retailers who have licensing and all that jazz to ship beer. Then if something breaks it’s not on me and I’m not having to send something, other than money, in return. Plus these retailers usually package your order nicely in Styrofoam shippers that keep the bottles or cans nice and padded. You should get good packing for the amount it costs to ship these orders.
Today beer trading, even black market selling beer online, has exploded (sometimes literally). It’s disgusting to see how people treat beer as a form of currency or a commodity. It’s fucking beer! Like, you can literally buy beer anywhere but apparently this beer from LA is more important than that beer in Chicago.
Assholes commonly sell beer in forums for hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of profit. Sure you can say supply and demand. If someone is willing to pay for it then someone should be allowed to sell it. That is how supply and demand works for businesses. BUSINESSES. Kyle from Decorah, IA who stood in line to get bottles of Assassin is not a business. Sure he has no heart like a lot of businesses but that’s where the similarities stop. He does not have incorporation, insurance and licensing. Kyle is Kyle. Not Kyle Corp or Kyle LLC. Just Kyle. He doesn’t get to take part in supply and demand of a controlled substance.
I don’t recommend anyone get involved in trading. It’s a pain in the ass for starters and the risk just seems too great. Not the risk of losing beer or getting ripped off by another Kyle, this one from Richmond, but the risk of becoming a Kyle. Or, even worse, you could just get sick of beer because of trading and never even drink the stuff again. Both of those options suck.
And really, there is great beer probably right by you. You don’t need to trade for good beer. Go visit a local brewery, enjoy a couple pints and get something to take home. Keep that money in your local economy. If you really want to try some beer from an out of state brewery go visit them too. Use some of your vacation time, book a flight and go. Then you are directly helping them and their community too. Hell with the money some people are spending on bottles on the secondary market they could fly to and from many of these breweries twice. When you buy on the secondary market that money doesn’t go to the community, it doesn’t even go to the brewery. It goes to another Kyle who is going to spend that money on razorblades to slash every person in the world’s tires (car or bike). Yes, I know I can’t prove that but you can’t prove that he wouldn’t.
If I endorse any sort of beer trading it is trading the location you are in, even for a weekend. Trade your spot in your local brewery and visit another brewery. You’re trying some new beer, enjoying a new setting and supporting a businesses in an extremely positive way with no cardboard boxes, styrofoam shippers and packing tape needed.