Where does expired beer typically go when sellers rotate their stock?

  • Many craft beers have “born on” dates, very few have an expiration date.
    – Eric S
    Aug 23, 2018 at 22:00
  • 2
    @EricShain In Europe, every beer has an expiration date on the bottle. Aug 24, 2018 at 10:35

2 Answers 2


Some breweries will by back beer that is past its freshness date (Sam Adams is well-known for this), while some will split the cost with the distributor. - Beer - When good beer goes bad

I have had beers that were quite fine well after there expiration date. And I have had beers that were simply horrible after the expiation date. Cooler temperatures will prolong the lifespan of most beers.

But how is expired beer typically disposed of by large retailers is a different matter?

To avoid getting spoiled beer, check for a “brewed on” or “best by” date stamp, and avoid those that are not so labeled, especially if they have a fine layer of dust on them or visible sediment in the bottle (bottle-conditioned beers, however, are supposed to have a yeast sediment). Most pale ales, lagers and hefewiezens are best within three to six months of brewing. Darker beers and those with higher alcohol content might last a year. A few special beers are meant to be aged, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Beers stored in the cooler are less likely to spoil than those stored at room temperature, although many liquor stores stack case boxes on the floor, and those beers are less likely to be light-struck.

Some breweries will by back beer that is past its freshness date (Sam Adams is well-known for this), while some will split the cost with the distributor. In other cases, the retailer is left holding the bag for beer that did not move well. Still, liquor stores should not sell beer that has lost its quality. Let retailers know that a beer is expired or to return beers that you find to be stale (don’t do this just because you don’t like the beer — read some reviews of the beer and see what it is supposed to taste like). Check back in a few days and see how they have responded to your complaints. If the expired beer is still on the shelf, let them know that you plan to shop elsewhere. - Beer - When good beer goes bad


It depends on what state you are in but here in Washington State the liquor control board wants you to document the destruction of alcoholic beverages that were damaged or expired if it's a large quantity. Usually this involves taking large amounts of beer or wine to dump or something and taking pictures of it as it's thrown away, dumped into a sewer or crushed. They don't want people giving away free alcohol without paying taxes. If it's a case of wine or a couple of six packs of beer, just throw them out and mark them up to losses.

I think if it's expired or has problems, it usually goes back to the distributor who is tasked with disposing of it. Most alcoholic beverages don't have an expiration date so it usually goes into some mark down bin until it sells.

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