Raising the Bar: How to Properly Store Liquor

Peter Soto |
If you’re like freshman-year-of-college me, you probably store your alcohol in a water bottle. Maybe a similarly cheap flask purchased at the Conoco down the block from your dorm. Hopefully you’ve grown past this strategy. If not, let me be the first to tell you that you’ve been doing it all wrong. Don’t worry. Now that you are older and more mature there are better ways to store your favorite libations long term. Twenty years ago you wouldn’t have looked to self storage to store your liquor. Climate control technology just wasn’t there yet. But we’re in the future, baby. And that means you can store practically anything, even alcohol. Below are some tips on how to use self storage to keep your favorite beverages tasting the way they should for years to come.

On the Blacklist?

No alcohol sign. There’s a good chance alcohol is on the list of things that can’t be stored in your self-storage unit. It’s best to check with your facility manager to make sure you aren’t violating your lease. If you’ve checked and made sure storing alcohol is ok then read on!

Lost in Transit

Before you can store your booze, you’ll have to transport it to your unit. Moving even a small quantity of bottles can be dangerous, much less dozens or even hundreds. Broken wine bottle. Tom Haynes, a retired liquor distributor with more than 25 years of experience, recently moved his personal collection of more than 250 bottles of high-quality liquor and wine from Shawnee, Kansas to Denver, Colorado. He estimates his collection to be worth more than $15,000 and not a single bottle was lost. Below are his tips for transporting liquor.
  • If possible, find boxes that are the same size as the bottles you are transporting. For example, if you are transporting a 750ml bottle that is the standard shape, most 750ml boxes will work. Then take these smaller boxes and arrange them snugly in a larger box for easy shipping. Your local liquor store should be able to supply you with boxes.
  • Bottles that are an unusual shape or do not fit snugly in the boxes available should be wrapped in newspaper and snugly arranged in a box.
  • Keep the climate in mind. Heat is one of liquor’s major enemies. Depending on the time of year and distance you’re moving, you may want to make your trip at night to avoid the bottles becoming too hot and their contents losing flavor.

To Infinity and Beyond

For liquor the aging process stops once it’s been bottled. Unopened bottles of spirits like rum, gin, tequila, vodka and whiskey can stay good indefinitely. You’ll want to store liquor bottles standing up. When stored on their side some liquors can degrade the cap causing leaks that will not only affect the taste your hooch, but may cause you to lose it as well. Either way, once opened, liquor can change in flavor and “punch.” We at StorageFront don’t advise storing opened bottles. We advise drinking them.

Keep it Cool, Maaaaan

You’re probably going to want to spring for climate control unless you live in an area that’s mild year round. Alcohol keeps best in a cool-to-neutral, dry environment.

Lights Out

Light bulb Light is one of alcohol’s worst enemies when it comes to long term storage. Exposure to light can change a spirit’s flavor in some cases. If you’re going to access your unit regularly, keep bottles in a box or under a heavy cloth. You can also wrap special or expensive bottles in a towel. This will offer added protection in case something falls on the bottles or the bottles tip over in the unit. Packing bottles near the back of your storage unit is also a good idea. No matter what you do, just make sure to keep them out of the light.

Don’t Play Jenga

Depending on how your bottles are stored, you may want to rethink stacking anything on top of them. Sure, they’ve probably been stacked before, in transit even, but that doesn’t mean you have to put anything on top of them now. They’ve survived this long. Keep them safe. Besides, we’re more worried about forgetting where we put them. That would be a real tragedy! Do you have strong feelings on self-storage? So does Peter. Email him directly at peter.soto@storelocal.com or let him know in the comments.