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Unnamed cans of carbonated beverages lined up.

We’ve all seen it happen: a soda can that explodes after being dropped or handled too roughly. With that in mind, you might be wondering how businesses that mass-produce carbonated beverages manage to get their products onto shelves without disasters.

The short answer is that shipping and logistics companies are highly trained in the intricacies (and risks) of shipping carbonated beverages. They mitigate the effects of temperature changes and follow the relevant rules and regulations to ensure products arrive safely. However, there are certain pratices you can do on your end as a business owner, too, to ensure your fizzy drinks arrive just as you intended. 

So, how do you ship carbonated beverages like an expert? Keep reading to find out! 

First: Why Do Carbonated Beverages Explode?

The beloved fizz of carbonated beverages—as tasted in soda, energy drinks, kombucha, and alcoholic drinks—is created by the magic of carbon dioxide. 

In an unopened can, there’s a balance between the dissolved carbon dioxide in the beverage and the gas floating at the top. Opening the container releases a bit of pressure that creates the fizz. If you shake a carbonated beverage that’s still sealed, the gas bubbles floating at the top get mixed into the liquid. 

Opening the lid releases the pressure, allowing these bubbles to expand and lift the liquid above them. The gas bubbles also come out of the beverage much faster, resulting in the unfortunate “explosion” we’ve all experienced.

What About Frozen Drinks?

Carbonated drinks still explode when frozen because of the mixture of water and gas bubbles. When water is frozen, it expands. This expansion process also pushes the gas bubbles in the drink outward. The combination of the ice slowly filling the space and the pressurized gas trying to escape the can will result in the container exploding inside your freezer. This is why consistent temperature control during transport is so important!

Rows of branded carbonated beverages on supermarket shelves.

Shipping Carbonated Beverages By Land

Transporting carbonated drinks involves more than throwing them into the back of a truck. Sodas, energy drinks, cocktails, kombucha, and even sparkling water need to be handled carefully when being shipped to buyers worldwide. 

As mentioned above, these liquids run the risk of exploding when shaken. If a drink explodes during transportation, it will create a mess on the floor of your carrier while likely damaging adjacent products and compromising their quality.

Watch out for leaks when shipping carbonated beverages, too. The pressure inside the container may fluctuate due to several reasons, such as temperature changes. This could lead to the container’s lid popping off, or it could rupture the seal of your drinks, effectively making it lose its carbonation, which would render it unsalable to customers. 

Tips for Safely Packaging Carbonated Beverages

This is why proper packaging when shipping carbonated beverages should be prioritized, especially if you need to transport glass bottles. Here are some tips to follow when packing your products to ensure they arrive as intended:

  • Secure your carbonated drinks, whether by using a screw top, soldering, or clips to ensure strong and reliable closure
  • Choose a shipping box or container that insulates and protects its contents with enough space in between for padding or packing materials
  • Ensure your shipping container is marked with the type of liquid you’re transporting so handlers can treat it with care
  • Be proactive with cushioning; you’re better off being proactive when it comes to broken bottles or spills than being sorry later

Another huge, non-negotiable piece of advice is using temperature-controlled vehicles. Some carbonated drinks—such as kombucha—must be shipped cold to ensure their quality remains the same while on the way to consumers.

Contrary to what you might expect from the name, adopting cold chain shipping practices can also be quite beneficial in the winter. The extra insulation provided by utilizing the Pallet Parka will limit the potential of your products freezing! 

Shipping Carbonated Beverages By Air

Most of the time, as long as the carbonated beverage is labeled and packaged properly following the food and beverage regulations of its destination, you can mail your products overseas. This is great news for business owners looking to expand their clientele or those with international followings.

However, given all this talk about explosions, you might be rightfully wondering if carbonated beverages are considered dangerous goods. Given the strict guidelines about what can and cannot be brought on a plane, this is a valid question. 

a man shopping for beer in-store

The answer is it depends on what container you’re using. Carbonated drinks contain compressed gas, which is a hazard. However, as long as the liquid isn’t inside an aerosol can, there’s no need to label it as a dangerous good. 

However, do take note of any legal restrictions or regulations whether you’re shipping liquids domestically or internationally. After all, some regions or countries have specific rules regarding the importation of food and beverages. The last thing you need is to have your products confiscated for breaking a rule you didn’t know existed!

Brew Movers: A Shipping Solution You Can Trust

You’ve worked hard to create a bubbly drink that tastes great—which is why guessing how to ship carbonated beverages should be the last of your concerns.

Brew Movers are experts at navigating the logistics associated with shipping carbonated beverages, no matter if its craft soda, beer, ready-to-drink cocktails, or flavored sparkling water. You name it, we’ve worked with it!

With more than two decades’ worth of experience, we have a deep understanding of the unique requirements and challenges involved in shipping these products, such as maintaining carbonation and temperature control.

Contact us today to leverage our expertise and resources to streamline your beverage logistics. We’ll ensure that your shipments arrive safely, on time, and retain their refreshing taste and vibrant bubbles!