Buy Beer Online: our step-by-step guide

Buy Beer Online

Our guide to snagging bargains and finding the impossible

Westy on eBay: you can find almost ANY beer online
Westvleteren Beer on eBay US

The United Nations of Beer believes that beer is a global pleasure. Our guide to using eBay to buy rare US or import beers online will show you just how easy it is to get exactly what you want: but you must be prepared to discard your prejudice about trading on the Net.

Many, many people who use eBay won't even consider buying items from outside their own country. eBay's power is the huge global market at your fingertips: why ignore 80 per cent or more of it?

Of course it makes sense to look in your own country first, if only from a shipping and handling point of view. But the smart online beer shopper always compares prices with overseas sellers.

In the right column of this page, we show you some sample eBay searches. Simply click to see the results. If you want to learn how to search for rare beer on your own, read on.

How to find and buy beer online

Use the search box below, or by clicking here and type your search.

Begin by searching wide: it's a great incentive to learn how to search niche. Beer is TOO wide, as you'll see if you use the sample searches. You are going to turn up "beer mat", "beer label", "beer sign" and so on.

Once you have see what not to do, you can begin going niche. Niche searching means either limiting your research to one category, by selecting from the left of the search results pages, or using more keywords. Rare beer helps. Sealed beer helps. But a true niche search might be Three Floyds. Often you will only see a few very targeted results. Perfect!

The problem is, you have to think like the seller. Not all eBay sellers are good at describing their merchandise. If you look at the sample search at top right for Russian River, we chose that because Russian River beer missed some of the hits for Damnation and Temptation -- the sellers forgot the crucial word "beer" in their title!

Sure, you have to filter the results and wade through some mismatches, but it's worth it to get that perfect hit on the beer of your dreams.

Once you find the beer you want to buy, contact the seller and get a quote for shipping. If dealing with foreign sellers, be patient. Some sellers are used to dealing with overseas clients and will have English translations and ready-made shipping quotes; others won't. Yahoo's BabelFish can help you translate tricky phrases.

Bid in the usual way. If you win, you'll pay the invoice as normal. Then it's time to wait for your beer to arrive!

Ready to buy beer online?

Use these links for eBay US | eBay Belgium | eBay UK | eBay Australia

Things to consider

  • Check the bottom of listings results for similar items for sale by overseas sellers.
  • Shipping is a killer for heavy objects like beer. You will pay more than the price of the beer in many cases!
  • The VAST majority of eBay traders are honest people. Look for the PowerSeller logo: PowerSellers work hard to build up and maintain their reputations.
  • For safety's sake, don't trade with people who have a very low feedback rating (under 50 is my limit). Read customer feedback and avoid people who have earned negative comments.

When you've finished learning how to Buy Beer Online,
click here to return to the Beers of the World home page

  Sample eBay searches  
  Beer of the Month  

A Beer of the Month Club membership is the easy way to buy beer online. You receive 12 beers (4 different x 3 each) every month. You can buy this as a gift for somebody, too. Shipping is free and there is NO minimum order.

  Mail = Jail in the US?  

Isn't it illegal to mail beer in the US? This has been a hot topic among our readers. Join the debate here!

What's our position? Simple. How can it be illegal when the Beer of the Month Club does perfectly legal business (and pays its taxes) within 46 of the 50 states?