Boycott UPS For Refusing To Ship Beer

Wow, this is one of those seriously WTF stories (thanks to Lisa Morrison for tweeting it). The Idaho Statesman has a disturbing little story entitled UPS, FedEx Side With Wine in Beer Battle by their beer columnist, Patrick Orr. To work yourself up into the proper lather, I recommend reading the whole column first.

But essentially, an internet beer retailer — — after 18 months of uneventful UPS shipping asked UPS for a specific contract to ship to other retailers, beyind the regular customers he’d been shipping to all along. Instead, UPS “told him they weren’t going to deliver Brewforia products anymore — no matter if a state allows such deliveries direct to consumers or not — and were not going to offer a contract.”

Their website has an entire page on wine shipments and how they do them. UPS ships wine for countless online wine stores. Beer is mentioned just once, here:

UPS provides service for other alcoholic beverages (beer and alcohol) on a contract basis only. For shipments containing beer or alcohol, shippers must enter into an approved UPS agreement for the transportation of beer or alcohol as applicable, must be licensed and authorized under applicable law to ship beer and alcohol, and may ship only to licensed consignees. UPS does not accept shipments of beer or alcohol for delivery to consumers. UPS accepts shipments of beer or alcohol only among and between selected states.

According to the Idaho column:

“When asked why UPS will deliver wine and not beer, [Susan Rosenberg, a spokeswoman for UPS] said ‘that has just been a policy that we have had. It’s a program where our focus has been working with a number of licensed wine shippers.'” “For right now, UPS has chosen policy where beer contracts are for business-to-business shipments.”

UPS goes on with even more nonsensical gobbledygook:

Rosenberg said the issue is complicated by some states defining wine differently than beer and having different distribution requirements. UPS officials have been working with wine retailers for longer and don’t have any immediate plans to revisit their beer policy, Rosenberg said.

No, heaven forbid thy revisit their beer policy to bring it in line with the world in 2010. So the obvious answer now to “What Can Brown Do For You” is nothing if you’re beer, everything if you’re wine. That they utterly fail to see the hypocrisy in that is baffling, especially since they’re essentially throwing away money by their refusal to treat beer equally. It’s important to remember this is a policy decision, not a reaction to any law. Beer can be shipped to consumers in a majority of states, UPS has just chosen not to.

Personally, I think we need to organize a grassroots response and inundate UPS with just how ridiculous they’re being. Hypocrisy should not be rewarded.


  1. says

    it’s not just the shippers that treat beer and wine differently. Google’s Adwords is another example. You can advertise anything you want related to wine. You can’t advertise anything at all that promotes beer or the consumption of beer. I went round and round with them trying to get ads approved for my beer tasting business. I finally gave up when they threatened to cancel my google account altogether.

  2. Adam says

    Will do! I’m already boycotting the USPS for destroying a copy of Beer Advocate and almost destroying another without taking any responsibility, so might as well cut more off.

  3. says

    How about Jay asking homebrew shops to move from UPS to Fedex until they change policy. If we could get shops to change their base it could bring real impact, especially just a few big shops changing policy could make a difference.

  4. says

    Lame! Really makes no sense whatsoever. What a terrible and senseless internal policy that is NOT helping them grow their business. Hope UPS sees the errs of their ways soon and revises their policies.

  5. Jim says

    I ship beer to friends via UPS, telling them I’m shipping olive oil. Folks with stupid policies deserve to be scammed or boycotted.

  6. Josh says

    Well, I know these are different arenas, but in the political world, we would all write letters to our congressmen demanding change. In the business world, we usually vote with dollars – the problem is beer shipping probably doesn’t constitute a large portion of UPS’ sales. It might be more effective to go to UPS’ investor relations page and write/call every person you can get a hold of. I know I will be writing them shortly.

  7. Mr. Nuts says

    Personally, I can’t stand UPS. When I was shopping for a contract for my company — their sales rep was nothing short of a lazy bum. Told me to go look my rates up in their catalog. Pfft. I ship everything via FedEx and will never use them.

  8. BCmaui says

    You have to get the Brewer’s Association to get active in creating a mechanism for inter- and intrastate shipping of beer like the wine industry did. A boycott of UPS is not addressing the legal issue that is creating this problem in the first place.

    Jay Brooks does not mention in his article all the time and effort the wine industry has spent overturning these cumbersome roadblocks that the 3 tier system created when prohibition was repealed. As most beer is mega swill sold at a retail level and the distributors of the mega swill like the domination of local market control that they currently enjoy, there is probably not enough interest in the beer industry to fight this. The wine industry is more fragmented and had a greater interest in fighting for these changes. Maybe the micro/craft brewers will hop on, or maybe not.

    UPS does not want to be in violation of crappy laws. You need to go Vermonster on crappy liquor laws, not a shipping company that does not want to risk being fined (or closed down) by an all powerful government.

  9. Brewgoat says

    I would agree with BCmaui on this one. While I hate to think that beer is not getting its fair share this truly is not UPS’s fault. The Brewers Association has not focused on this issue in the past, at best it has been the American Homebrew Association who has worked to equalize legistlation around the country. To date this has been more focused on getting homebrewing legalized.

    I will support the boycott (if for no ther reason than I love being a pain in the @$$) but you should also direct your email or whatever effort towards getting the BA to fight the good fight.

  10. says

    A unfortunate update on this issue. UPS and FedEx are both now refusing our shipments claiming that we are in violation of our contract because we were shipping beer to consumers. We are contiuning to fight this policy so we can resume shipping. We are seeking the advice of legal counsel currently and have a plan of attack but we need your support. If this is a cause you believe in write or call UPS and FedEx and tell them to change the policy but more importantly call your elected representatives and tell them to support beer equality and the craft beer industry by making it possible for residents in your state to buy the beer they want and have it shipped to their homes.

    Thanks for all your support from all of us here at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>