Beer Mule like a Pro – Traveling with Beer

Posted on November 4, 2012


Now that Bierfesten Euro Beer Tour is over, its time to reflect on the last part of the trip that any Beer Loving activist has to achieve. Bring beer home for the boys!

The term Beer Mule is an affectionate term that all beer drinkers know, as its the bringing of beer from your part of the country or world to other part for your mates to drink. I have been carting wine back and forth for years and this trip I decided in the last few days to bring back a few beers that I think some of the beer boys might enjoy. Though taking into account the trauma on the beers during the flight and being moved around, you have to give and take.

In doing a quick calculation of beers I currently have 23 beers that made it intact, I had 2 breakages, and 1 bottle that the cap blew off so I had to drink the first night home. Yes HAD to drink! I drank 5 bottles at the airport that didn’t make my weight restriction on Ethihad airways so out of 30, I had 23 make it a 70% success rate. Not the best, but its okay.

Keys to Beer Mule Etiquette

1. Unique Strange or Obscure Beer

Get Ready for Big Ride GuysThese are beers that are not going to be freely available to your beer mates in their end of their end of the world. Though you may dislike Pumpkin Ales (Very big in the US/Canada) or special Seasonal Releases, these beers will not make it across the ocean, and often in limited supply. The number one beer in the world is Pliny the Elder, and of course if you have this beer available, pick it up, but if not you have to put some thought into it. Most guys like Imperial Stouts, Imperial IPA’s, or unique seasonals where they have played around with the recipe. These are the first beers to bring


The issue with buying 6packs of beer for beer muling is that if the beer is shit, you have 5 more beers that your mates have to drink. Buy beers in singles or doubles unless you know they will go crazy for it. 1 Bomber (650ml) bottle of a beer is more than enough to share among several mates.

3. Don’t Get Greedy!

Do not overstuff your suitcase with beer, as you will be overweight for your allowance. There is nothing worse than having to take out beers at the last minute. You should get to a stage in Beer Muling etiquate where you can judge a bag to with 1-3lbs of the limits. If you have to throw something, remember that Socks and Underwear can be bought anywhere on your trip, and start with the dirty ones first. I always do.

4. Bubble Wrap, and More Bubble Wrap

My keys to this is to bubble wrap the bottle, and tape it down well, so if you dropped it could bounce by itself, and then throw around a dirty or clean sock if you have one. This gives the multiplication effect of softness and when thrown by Baggage handlers there is greater chance of the bottles making it safely. Remember that handlers hurl bags from 10 metres away at trolleys and belts. Those Samoan Islander boys I have seen can throw.


5. Declare your Samples to Customs if need be

This obviously applies if your going to countries with strict border control on booze like Canada, Australia or the UK. If you have your bottles in your bag and you have an idea of how many you have, with prices, you are fine. I have been asked a few times is it for Sale, or Consumption. Its a pretty easy answer and 9/10 you will be let through without a problem. 

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One of the keys to thinking about taking beer is your luggage allowance, and if your traveling too or from the US the allowance is quite large depending on the airlines. In Australia we only have Qantas and Virgin who fly to the US, though Hawaii Air now fly via Hon. The allowance is key to what you can carry back.

50lb – 36 bottles (Bomber counts as 2 bottles)

So if you have 2 x 50lb bags you can bring back the equivalent of 72 bottles, and if your really stretched pay the $100-120 US for the extra bag. Its well worth it!.