Recommendations on trading US - UK

Hello everyone,

I’d like to find some good trade partners in the U.K. hopefully. I have a couple of questions though.

What are some things to be aware of if your trading?

Recommended shipping companies
Noteworthy shipping concerns
Expected prices
Ship times
Are bottle shops similar to the US market, meaning can you buy singles?
Is it worth it in your estimation?
Some partners worth considering (my apologies, if that is too direct)

My goals are try more bitters and to work on county and country ticks.

Thank you for your consideration.

I’ve not yet traded with any US people but I did research this out of curiosity during the recent Euro Local Swap. Reading old threads from Ratebeer, BeerAdvocate and other random beer related forums. Since no one’s replied yet I’ll throw in my thoughts from a UK perspective. Apologies in advance if this is useless information to you but perhaps it’ll be useful to someone at some point!

For UK -> US any courier listed on interparcel.com. I don’t know which US couriers are good the other way round.

Customs declaration. Been told never to admit your package contains alcoholic beverages as they will almost certainly open it and possibly confiscate. Most common declaration I understood people to be using was "collectible glassware"
Of course it goes without saying pack the box with a HUGE amount of bubble wrap, packing peanuts etc. to protect against breakages.

Depends on state. For me to send a similar package to an east coast state (I put NY) to what I sent in the Euro swap would cost me approx £50 ($70). Depending on beers sent, and how many, it’s likely the beers themselves would cost this much too, if not less actually. It’s probably a bit cheaper the other way round as shipping costs are notoriously high in UK, very few countries have higher shipping costs than we do.

I’ve heard 1 month+ is normal.

Well yes I think singles are pretty much the only way to buy beer outside of the US. 4 packs or 6 packs just aren’t really a thing here (with few exceptions). People don’t really buy huge amounts of a single beer (unless it’s some crappy lager for a party of whatever), for craft beer / real ale variety is preferred. Check my online bottleshops threads on the forums to get an idea of what beers are easily available to UK people.

Based on the shipping costs… Not really unless you’re both trading rare beers. As I mentioned above there’s a good chance that shipping would cost more than the beers. In your case wanting bitters which are relatively cheap here I would say almost certainly the shipping will cost more than the contents. If you and your trade partner are both ok with that then yeah it’s worth it. If not then no, simple as that.

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Every trade ive had from the US, has come via USPS , all the others are just too expensive
Delivery from US -UK is usually 7-10 days

Trading carries risk, boxes going missing, broken and impounded, stoped at cusoms for tax etc
just be aware a trade will sometimes cost more than you think.

But your starting probably about $8 in shipping per bottle on a box of 12. So only worth it if your after something specific.

ANd doing 1 for 12 new counties may be seen as value.
BUt you probably need to have something interesting to find a partner as the UK is well served with US and US style beer just now so where as once i traded regularly i havent traded in over a year

One of the options is to just use a webshop, for example Beer Gonzo ( http://www.beergonzo.co.uk ) ships to US, has decent selection of county ticks and traditional styles like bitters.

If you decide to use a webshop, LazyPyro’s online bottleshop directory threads should be the good places to start:

Did one trade with Duffman, who is Canadian but as you cant send beer to Canada i sent to a lock-up he uses in Montana. Yes £50 is about right for delivery UK-US - i did it with Blackhaddock as he wanted hard-to-find Canadian province ticks, but i cant see myself justifying the price again for US beer, and think most others in the UK would share that view.

Time wise it was quite quick - it was picked up here on the Monday & got to Montana via New York by the end of the week. Crazy.

If ever there was a cheaper alternative in the future, even £30 for a parcel, i might consider a swap

Share the cost of the shipping, so you pay yours and they pay theirs, then whoever pays most for shipping gets the difference back via Paypal - as long as the value of beers being traded is similar.

The issue that you will likely have is that the UK beers you are looking for will be significantly less value than the beers that a UK trader will want in US beers from you. As an example 24 x 500ml bottles UK to US may possibly raise suspicions through customs, size of box, weight etc. Your package to the UK to the same value might only be 2 to 4 bottles (assuming a notional £50-£60 trade value each way)

I have heard of boxes shipped from the UK being delivered on the east coast of the US within 2 or 3 days on occasions. There are trading groups on Facebook, but many are secret/hidden so asking to join can be tricky. I am led to believe that Facebook doesn’t like trading groups and will shut them down if they find out about them. I am in a trading group in the UK where folk trade transatlantic all the time, but have never traded transatlantic myself (I just lurk in that group to learn what goes on).

You will always find UK folk who are looking for hard to find US beers though. Good luck!

Actually thinking about it a bit more, there are five of us in my monthly tasting group. Postage split between the five of us would be a tenner each. Obviously, we forget the £50 total, which is a ludicrous amount, but a tenner to try, say, 20 fresh beers unavailable in the UK seems alright.