What are some of the best methods you've used for shipping beer (for trade, competition, gifts, whatever)? What are some packing materials / resources that are inexpensive but reliable? How many beers can you confidently put in one box?
I have not shipped beer anywhere yet, but I was planning on ordering some styrofoam shippers, and there are also pulp shippers which are a bit cheaper. It seems like a little extra overhead in cost, but I figure it makes more sense to pack everything safely as possible. They are made for wine but I figured i could just fill any voids with tissue paper or newspaper. It is also nice that they offer different sizes anywhere from 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, or 12. Here is a good article, talking about some of the legalities and things to think about when shipping beer.
I ship beer all the time and just use FedEx. I just wrap each bottle individually with bubble wrap (going around maybe 2-3 times) then place them in a box filled with packing Styrofoam or newspaper in a way so that none of the beers are touching each other or the box. Haven't hand any issues yet and I've shipped anywhere from a few bombers to 12 beers using this method.
It's also not illegal to ship beer using FedEx or UPS, just against their shipping policy. Just pre-print your label and drop it off at the FedEx store and they won't ask any questions.
I was a member of a beer of the month club for a short while once. They shipped the beer in those styrofoam shippers that Jordan mentioned.
I like them and the beer always got to me in fine shape. I saved mine to use for shipping in the future.
I have also shipped beer with loads of bubble wrap and ziplock bags. Filled the rest of the box with newspaper. Works good.
Beers per box is only limited by the box size. But I try to keep it to less than 6 120z per box for weight reasons.