You could say beverage and drinks logistics and transportation have had to stay liquid recently. Like all the other parts of the supply chain, beverage and drinks logistics and transportation have dealt with ups and downs over the past three years. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated demand for many things, including beverages and drinks. The functional beverage market alone could hit around $150 billion in value in 2023. With that kind of money involved, it is extremely crucial that professionals handle logistics — which focuses on transporting, storing, and distributing beverage and drink products. They provide experience and knowledge about the specific product to help a company stay on top of the situation. 


This blog covers quite a number of topics — types of beverages and drinks, ways to go about packaging individual beverage products, how to transport fragile containers safely, what must be done to ensure compliance with regulations, and the latest trends in beverage and drinks logistics and transportation that can help you stay ahead of the curve.

Product Selection

Although many people consider the words “beverage” and “drink” interchangeable, they are, in fact, different. The word “drink” is generally associated with cold drinks, sodas. Wine and liquor are also considered drinks. “Beverage” refers to a hot drink that usually involves brewing.


There are five main types of drinks: water, soda, juice, energy drinks, and alcohol. Each one has different attributes and presents shipping concerns. Some products will need a refrigerated truck or trailer, also known as a reefer truck or trailer, that is temperature-controlled. In the winter, there can be the added challenge of using a temperature-controlled trailer when shipping drinks that are susceptible to freezing.


Packaging can be just as crucial in keeping the temperature and, in some cases, humidity just right for the product. It can be another level to help avoid contamination or spoilage of the liquids, which leads to waste and can be costly. Packaging can have a dual purpose because it can also reduce breakage during delivery.

Transportation Strategies 

The temperature of the product is usually not the lone concern when it comes to shipping drinks. Here are some other thingsto consider.

Safely Dealing With Fragile Cargo

With many drinks often being distributed in glass beverage bottles, fragility has to be a consideration, and packaging that helps the product handle the rigors of shipping becomes an even greater priority. Breakage is particularly a concern in last-mile delivery because shipments can be handled more frequently during this final stage of the supply chain journey. 


There should be a number of factors taken into account when loading beverage freight — the packaging of pallets, how workers load them onto the truck or trailer, and the weight distribution during transit. Careful attention to details like this can be quite helpful in ensuring the shipment withstands transport and makes it safely to the destination. Beverages usually will go beyond the trailer’s weight limit before they take up all the space in the trailer. So shippers should figure in pallet placement and spacing to ensure a safe and damage-free journey. If not, there could be a messy and costly problem.


Limiting contamination and following regulations

Safeguarding each shipment from any physical damage and contamination is a crucial part of shipping beverages. Shippers, dock workers, and drivers must handle the products with the utmost care and comply with strict health guidelines from beginning to end. Beverage logistics are subject to regulations that must involve full transparency. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rule establishes requirements for all parties who ship food and beverages to use sanitary practices to keep the products safe to consume. Here are three significant policies that shippers and freight forwarders should always keep in mind:

  • Sanitize all packaging machinery, facilities, and vehicles.
  • Packaging should be sterile.
  • Hygiene practices must be followed correctly by employees and partners.


When shipping alcohol — wine, beer, and liquors or spirits — there are also further regulations. All shippers must be responsible for obeying all applicable laws governing the proper temperature and maintaining the chain of custody at all times. It’s important to remember that local statutes vary from federal regulations in many cases.

Maximizing Efficiency

When managing beverage and drinks logistics and transportation, a shipper’s ability to achieve successful outcomes starts with meticulous planning. Many beverage shipments require multistop deliveries, and preparing the proper route is the first way to get ahead of all the concerns that stopping over and over again can bring. By planning ahead, you can find the balance between transit time and cost to give your shipment the best possibility of arriving safely and unspoiled.

Trends in Beverage & Drinks Logistics and Transportation 

Just like there always seems to be a trending beverage, there are also trends in beverage and drinks logistics and transportation. Let’s take a look at a couple of them. 

The Rise of Automation Continues

As with most other forms of shipping and supply chain, automation is becoming more prevalent and making an ever-increasing impact on the beverage and drinks logistics and transportation sector. According to Infoholic Research, artificial intelligence (AI) in logistics will likely have a 42.9% compound annual growth rate over the next two years, with the market reaching $6.5 billion by 2023. This type of automation bolsters grocery logistics and transportation solutions that keep deliveries profitable and fast. The emergence of AI and machine learning processes have taken over much of the manual dirty work, giving staff members more time to focus on customer service and other tasks.


Among the technologies that are changing not just the beverage shipping industry but the food supply chain as well are:

  • Warehouse process automation: Many repetitive roles in the warehouse can be replaced by automated systems. That will free employees to focus more time and effort on tasks like customer service and quality control. 
  • Augmented reality: This technology can superimpose a computer-generated image with the real world, applicable in manufacturing and distribution to make the movement of goods and services more efficient and cost-effective.
  • Cloud-based platforms for compliance, analytics: Cloud-based information enhances compliance through monitoring services that warn stakeholders of an unplanned change in settings or security breaches. This real-time information could be a deterrent when it comes to stealing energy drinks that have become a target of thieves because they have a high resale value. Monitors and technology can also help managers and operators oversee and follow warehouse and truck processes. Shippers can use data analytics to identify anomalies and determine where process improvement can drive greater efficiency.

Changes in Consumer Preferences

Along with the overall changes that came about from the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three years came some significant shifts in consumer behavior. Contactless delivery became a serious player in the grocery industry when people were forced to stay home. And then, once health organizations and other authorities approved limited contact, curbside pickup service became a factor at grocery stores and restaurants. Once just luxury options, both services are now staples and expected by customers. As such, a growing number of companies strive to make those services a competitive advantage. But that only happens once food, drinks, and beverages get delivered to the point of sale safely and on time.


Plus, most consumers now expect deliveries to reach them much faster, making it easy to understand why the beverage shipping industry is even more focused on making sure those drinks make it to groceries or private residences as quickly as possible. 

Zengistics Can Help Quench your Beverage Logistics Thirst 

Now you have had an opportunity to drink in quite a lot about the beverage and drinks logistics and transportation industry. We have looked at the types of beverages and drinks, the unique concerns of packaging and transporting beverage products, ways to ensure compliance with regulations using technology, and the latest trends–all of which you can use to stay ahead of the competition.


When you are thirsty, a drink is usually the best answer. When you need help navigating the beverage and drinks logistics and transportation industry, Zengistics is the best answer. Using Turvo, the world’s first collaborative logistics platform, Zengistics delivers the highest level of customer service, provides you with data-driven solutions, practices proactive communication, and maximizes efficiency. In the parlance of drink terms, Zengistics can help you pop open the cap on your beverage logistics and will be around through the very last drop. To find out what Zengistics can do for you and to get a quote today, visit our website.