Thursday, February 5, 2009
I periodically have to move part of my liquor stash from point A to B. Sometimes it’s just a few bottles, sometimes it’s significantly more (Thursday Drink Night anyone?). In either case, I’ve used several methods to drag heaps of glass & liquid around, with the goal of having it all arrive intact.
So I decided to list the ways I’ve lugged booze and try to break down their relative merits and disadvantages. I wanted to do this for three reasons:
1) To toss out options to anyone who needs to move their booze from time to time.
2) To solicit ideas and find out what YOU use.
3) I really wanted to draw a picture of a milk crate.
Note: For purposes of this this comparison, we’re talking about standard-shaped 750 ml bottles, not goofy-ass ones like Patron and Galliano come in. I’m also assuming that you will be using a car to schlep this stuff- I have not factored in bus, train, skateboard, Segway, Rascal, golf cart or motorcycle/bicycle travel.
Construction: Heavy plastic
Cost: Free (if you steal it). Price varies if purchased.
Capacity: Approx. 14
Availability: Widespread. Can be found in the wild or bought.
Pros: Virtually indestructible. Stable during transit. Convenient handles. Can be used as furniture at destination.
Cons: Moderately heavy when full. No inherent feature to prevent bottles clanking against each other.
The uses of milk crates aside from their intended purpose are legion. Chances are you have at least one in your house or apartment right now doing something other than holding milk. It’s also likely it technically belongs to a dairy company. I recommend *not* stealing these, but picking up inexpensive replicas which can be found at a variety of stores.
Milk crates are great for hauling liquor. They hold over a dozen bottles, have handles, stay put in your car, and are almost impossible to damage. They can also be lashed together (or to something else). Their primary flaw is that they allow bottles to bang around a bit, so you may need to rig up some method of cushioning them depending on how rough the ride will be.
Box From Liquor Store
Construction: Cardboard, staples, glue
Cost: free (around here they give ‘em away)
Capacity: 12 bottles
Pros: Can be easily repaired and/or reinforced with tape if necessary. Cardboard insert keeps bottles upright and slightly cushioned. Stable during transit. Recyclable.
Cons: Not waterproof. Often have no hand-slots.
These are hard to beat. They’re purpose-built, free, and disposable. Plus, there’s a virtually unlimited supply of them, provided you live near a liquor store. But before you use them, double-check that
a) they aren’t soggy, b) they’re in good shape. The main downfall of the liquor store box is that you usually need both hands to carry one, and they often don’t have handles.
Construction: Canvas, leather, metal
Cost: Varies (I got mine on sale for 8 bucks at Old Navy)
Capacity: Varies (mine holds about 6 bottles)
Availability: Common. Something similar can be found anywhere luggage is sold.
Pros: No-hands carry. Conceals contents.
Cons: Bottles lay on sides, resting against each other which may cause leakage & breakage.
The man-purse I use is a sturdy canvas satchel/messenger bag type thing. I‘ve carried liquor in it on several occasions, and it’s best when you’re only using it to lug 2 or 3 bottles at the most. More than that, and it gets pretty uncomfortable to have wrapped across your neck or shoulder for longer than a short walk. Plus, the bottles lie horizontally on top of each other which is less than ideal.
On the up side, it does have several side pockets which can hold smaller bottles of stuff like bitters, syrups, etc. The best feature is that you can have both hands free to carry something else…like more booze.
Construction: Some kind of synthetic fabric
Cost: cheap (I got mine at Trader Joe’s for about a buck fifty)
Capacity: 6 bottles
Availability: Somewhat common. Can often be found at grocery stores that carry wine
Pros: Surprisingly strong. Sewn-in divider keeps bottles upright and slightly cushioned. One-handed carry. Fits in pocket when not being used.
Cons: May tip over in transit.
This a very handy item. It’s made of the same weird pseudo-cloth that reusable grocery bags are made of, and is pretty darn strong. If you’re carrying 6 or less bottles, this is a great option, although protection is minimal (in other words, don’t drop it). If you‘re carrying more than 6 bottles (like a case), you can use two and split the load and not have to juggle an unwieldy box.
The only flaw I’ve discovered is that it tends to tip in over the car, depending on how vigorously you drive. Use a seat belt or some other restraint to keep it upright in transit.
Construction: Cardboard outer box, styrofoam or molded paper fiber insert, tape
Cost: free (if you re-use one that someone sent you).
Capacity: varies. Single and multiple unit shippers are available depending on manufacturer
Availability: Common (can be found in variety of shipping supply stores)
Pros: Superior protective capability. Conceals contents. Recyclable.
Cons: Bulky. Requires assembly/disassembly (though minimal). No handles
The bottle shipper’s best feature is also its Achilles heel. The thick, contoured inserts that keep bottles protected also take up a lot of space. I’ve only used a shipper once, and that was for a single bottle I really, really, didn’t want broken. They’re ideal for mailing booze, but not so great for hauling multiple bottles yourself- half your trunk will be occupied by packaging rather than bottles.
But if you want to be virtually 100% certain your giggle water doesn’t get destroyed, this is probably your best bet. The only better option I can think of is one of those snazzy, hard-sided, foam-padded cases that people use for camera equipment and the like. But I don’t have one of those, so testing will be delayed on that particular item.
Next time: wheelbarrow vs. shopping cart- which is better for transporting your passed-out buddy?