How To Fly With Bottles of Beer

I travel for business from time-to-time.  The trips are typically short and there’s often limited time to explore the destination – so I bring beer home to explore it afterwards:

How To Fly With Bottles of Beer December

I’ve experimented with different ways to fly with bottles of beer and haven’t had a single break yet.  Here’s my short list of tips:

  • Weigh your luggage on the way to your destination.  Know the limit for the airline and how much extra weight you can spare on your return.
  • A quart (750-1,000 ml) weighs around 3 pounds with the bottle.  Although some can be higher and others lower, I’ve found 3 pounds to be a good average to avoid going overweight.
  • I pack extra (clean) socks.  You can use other things such as dirty clothes but most of my travel is fairly short so I need additional clothes and socks keep the glass from touching other glass (which is the key).
  • I place a layer of clothes around the outside layer of the suitcase.
  • Each bottle gets placed in a clean sock and then placed in the suitcase – I use the legs from jeans to weave another layer of fabric between the bottles.  Two pairs of jeans will pad 12 bottles (use each leg separately).
  • Pack the bottles tightly – they are far better to be compressed as a unit than jostling around (the photo at the end of this post contains 12 bottles which were all packed on one side of a suitcase to ensure they didn’t shift around).
  • Ask if the airline has a ‘heavy’ sticker (most will ask you to place it on).  When it’s heavy, people tend to take more care as they use caution in lifting heavy things.
  • A fragile sticker is a controversial thing: some believe people will be mean and treat your package rougher.  I believe humans are mostly good and have never had a bad experience using said sticker.
  • Make sure you know the customs laws in advance if you’re crossing the border.

What tips would you add?

How To Fly With Bottles of Beer December


  1. Wrap each bottle in a plastic bag, then a thin layer of clothing, then place inside a shoe. This admittedly works better for jars of preserves than for bottles of beer (bring a supply of ziplocs), but the principle works for smaller bottles of beer and wine as well. The idea is to pack as tight as you can so nothing moves around, and then it can’t break. And if it does break (as happened once with a jar of home-made tomato sauce that I had not inserted in a shoe before packing) the ziploc keeps the mess away from the stuff in the case.

  2. I’ll second using bags. A box of ziplock freezer bags is worth the (minimal) investment in case one bottle does go. Also, buy cans. For obvious reasons. Mind you, things like the Elder you got are glass only, so go prepared.

  3. Thinking more on this, I’ve never had a bottle break either, and I wonder if a ziplock would actually do anything? I imagine the expanding CO2 would like blow the bag open. With a 330/341ml, you might get away with it, but a dinner bottle/bomber would surely not be contained. Though its worth an experiment…..

  4. My routine is similar. I also use clean socks, but I pack everything within a kayak dry bag. It adds an extra air buffer and on the off chance a bottle breaks, the rest of my luggage isn’t ruined – it has and will contain the mess! Plus, the dry bag usually travels outbound full of preserves and inbound full of craft beer :)

  5. I usually bring some zippered plastic bags, but other than that I use the same approach.

  6. Well, we’re giving it a try with our KWistmas Ale, we’ll see how it goes.

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