Boise-based Internet beer retailer Brewforia.com may have to give up the Internet part of the business now that United Parcel Service has decided to stop delivering beer to Brewforia's customers.More comments and commentary at the article link.
This is after about 18 months of UPS making beer deliveries to customers in 34 states with no problems, Brewforia owner Rick Boyd said.
Everything was cool until UPS told Boyd in October he needed a specific contract to distribute beer to other retailers - even though he was selling directly to customers.
By February, UPS reps 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.
Not that it would make a difference - UPS' Web site says "UPS does not accept shipments of beer or alcohol for delivery to consumers." UPS does allow direct shipments of wine, however.
Boyd said he was open with UPS from the beginning in 2008, telling them exactly what his business entailed. Boyd said UPS reps told him as long as someone of legal drinking age signed for the products, the deliveries were fine.
Susan Rosenberg, a spokeswoman for UPS, said if the company was making deliveries for Brewforia, it was in error, because UPS only approves beer deliveries between licensed businesses.
"He needs to seek an alternate vendor," Rosenberg said, explaining that once UPS officials determined what Brewforia was doing, they stopped delivery.
Boyd is trying to get a deal done with FedEx, but says the same issues remain and doesn't expect to get a contract with them, either.
Both companies continue to ship wine for Internet-based wine merchants like Wine.com, however.
When asked why UPS will deliver wine and not beer, Rosenberg 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."
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.
If you've read those paragraphs and don't really understand UPS' reasoning, join the club.
At best, someone has a contractural misunderstanding. At worst, We will shortly see the end of any remaining "Beer of the Month" clubs or online retailers.
Not that it's an issue in The People's Democratic Republic of Maryland anyway, where direct booze shipments to residents are barred anyway..... unless you're a Maryland winery shipping to a Maryland address. (Has any brewery in Md. tried to ship beer anywhere?)