Sunday, April 23, 2017

Craft Beer Club

Craft Beer Club Review

Beer Clubs

Product Grade
Report Card Grade
0 Reviews
Best Feature:
Publicly archives previous selections and offers bonus gifts
Worst Feature:
No satisfaction guarantee
Best Uses:
Great corporate gift or for friends & family
Pricing:
$37.75 or $71.73 per 12/24-bottle shipment
Manufacturer:
N/A

Where to Buy

Store Name
Price

Overview

Established in 2010, the Original Craft Beer Club has quickly differentiated itself from its competitors to become one of the fastest growing beer clubs in the country. Not only has it earned recognition from industry publications like Draft Magazine and Beer Connoisseur Magazine, it was also featured as one of Rachel Ray's Valentine's Day gift suggestions on Good Morning America. There are almost 2000 craft beer breweries in the United States alone, but it's almost impossible to experience the majority of the unique microbrews produced since they'll never make it to the shelves of your local grocery store. The Craft Beer Club, however, identifies the most exceptional examples of these American craft beers and will ship them directly to your doorstep for you to try out and enjoy. The Craft Beer Club offers one of the most flexible programs of any craft beer club with no minimum membership requirement, the option of 12- or 24-bottles of craft beer in each shipment and monthly, bimonthly or quarterly delivery schedules. Individual shipments will contain four different styles of beer (12 ounces) from two separate breweries in the continental US. Potential breweries are selected after careful consideration of their history, local reputation, variety of beer styles, specialty brews, any awards they have won and their distribution. The Craft Beer Club's tasting experts will then evaluate the microbrews for authenticity to the variety, color, aroma, mouth feel, the first opening taste and the finish after the last sip. The Club prides themselves on providing new, high quality selections for their members each month, and they have archived all of their past newsletters on their website. The Craft Beer Club is also the only beer club to offer three free gifts to new ongoing members in their first shipment.

You can purchase membership to the Original Craft Beer Club online and costs will vary according to the number and size of the shipments you order. One shipment of 12 bottles of beer is $37.75 and you will save $25 dollars if you buy 12 shipments for $428. One shipment of 24 bottles is $71.73, but you can save $135 dollars if you buy 12 shipments for $770.40. Shipping costs are included in the prices listed.

Product Report Card Grade

We give the Original Craft Beer Club an A- because we like that they not only feature a great variety of high-quality microbrews but they also offer a very flexible membership, an informative newsletter, great customer service and bonus gifts for new ongoing members. Additionally, we like that they archive all previous beer selections on their website and can send out first beer shipments within 7-10 days of receiving an order. We deducted points because they do not have a 100% satisfaction guarantee and charge $3 to send gift notification by traditional mail.


 
This Product
Most Popular
Honor Roll
Overall Score
62%
79%
77%
Our Awards
Date Reviewed
February 2013
January 2014
February 2013
Pros
Good variety of domestic microbrews; no minimum membership requirements; interesting/educational newsletter; archives some newsletters/beer selections on website; sends the 1st shipment right after order is placed; bonus gifts; can ship to AK and HI (but not for free)
100% satisfaction guarantee; access to amazing, rare craft beers (domestic & imported); rigorous selection process; club customization program; flexible membership; educational and fun newsletter; archives all beer selections; longstanding reputable business (BBB-accredited)
Variety of great domestic craft beers; rigorous selection process; flexible membership; no minimum commitment; reordering discount; fun and informative newsletter; club customization program
Cons
No satisfaction guarantee; no control over which craft beers you receive; no reordering discounts
No input into what craft beers you receive; doesn't ship to AK or HI; doesn't offer gift notification by traditional mail; no reordering discounts; gift shipments aren't sent out immediately
No input into what craft beers you receive; only some previous beer selections archived on website; doesn't ship to AK or HI; gift shipments aren't sent out immediately
Pricing
$37.75 or $71.73
$46.95 - $88.95
$38.95
Shipping Included
Shipping Included (with the exception of shipments to AK or HI)
Shipping Included
Shipping Included
Bottles per Shipment
Choice of 12 or 24 bottles (12oz)
Choice of 2, 4 or 6 bottles (750ml)
12 bottles (12oz)
Business - 20%
Beer - 25%
Membership - 25%
Gifts - 10%
Shipping - 10%
User Feedback - 10%
Business Founded
2010
1994
1994
BBB-Accredited
No
Yes
No
Newsletter
Yes, members will received The Micro Brew News, a monthly newsletter with tasting notes and background information on the selections.
Yes, members of the Rare Beer Club will receive the club's monthly newsletter, Brew Harvest Review: Malt of the Earth, in each shipment. The newsletter provides tasting notes and additional background on each of the featured beers.
Yes, all shipments contain "Beer Expeditions", a monthly newsletter with information on the beer selections and reordering discounts.
Reviewing Previously Featured Beers
Some of the past newsletters are archived on the public website.
All previously featured beers from the Rare Beer Club are publicly archived on www.beermonthclub.com.
Clubs of America only lists some of its previous beer selections on the public website.
Satisfaction Guarrantee
No
Yes
Yes
Domestic or International Beers
Domestic
Domestic
International
Domestic
Variety
Shipments include 4 styles of beer (3 bottles of each) from 2 different US microbreweries.
Shipments include 2 styles of beer from 2 different microbreweries (US or international)
Shipments include 4 styles of beer (3 bottles of each) from 2 different domestic microbreweries.
Selection Process
The club's tasting experts choose featured microbrews. Potential breweries are selected after careful consideration of their history, local reputation, variety of beer styles, specialty brews, any awards they have won and their distribution.
For each of its beer clubs, MonthlyClubs.com has a panel of beer experts conduct a blind taste test of over 500 beers a year. Less than 20% of beers they taste will be considered for use in the clubs.
A panel of beer experts conducts taste tests to select featured beers each month.
Reordering Your Favorite Beers
Yes
Yes
Yes (at a discount)
Membership Minimum
No minimum
2-shipment minimum
No minimum
Discount For Buying in Bulk
Yes
Yes
Yes
Bonus Gifts
Yes, new customers could receive up to 3 free gifts in their 1st shipment based on their membership commitment.
No
No
Customization
N/A
Yes, the "Design Your Own Club™" program allows members to combine any of the company's six monthly clubs that they want to try.
Yes, the "Mix Your Clubs" feature allows members to choose which of the 8 different clubs they want to try during each month of their membership.
Gift Notification Options
Email (instantly or on a scheduled day)
Printable Card
Traditional Mail ($2.99 charge)
Email (instantly or on a scheduled day)
Printable Card
Email (instantly or on a scheduled day) Printable Card Traditional Mail
Shipping Options
Monthly
Bimonthly
Quarterly
Monthly
Bimonthly
Quarterly
Monthly
Bimonthly
Quarterly
Shipping Schedule
Your 1st shipment will arrive within 7-10 days, and then monthly shipments will arrive during the last week of every month (depending on location).
Shipments are sent between the 15th and 25th of each month and arrive within 7-10 days.
Shipments should arrive during the 3rd or 4th week of the month.
Shipping Restrictions
UT
AK, HI, and UT
AK, HI, and UT
Approximate Cost Per Bottle
$2.99*
$14.83*
$3.07*

ProductReportCard Editors' In-Depth Review


Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Good variety of domestic microbrews and no repeats on beer selections ever
  • Most flexible membership of any beer club and no minimum membership requirements
  • Newsletter is interesting and educational
  • All past beer selections archived on their website
  • Easy online ordering. Unlike other beer clubs, the first shipment can be delivered within 7-10 days
  • Only club that includes bonus gifts in the first shipment to ongoing new members and gift givers
  • Good, responsive customer service team

Cons

  • No control over which craft beers you receive and only domestic varieties available
  • Can't reorder beers you like online at this time
  • Offer free gift notification by email but charge $2.99 to send notification by traditional mail. Other clubs allow you print a card yourself to send or offer free gift notification regardless of whether it is sent by email or traditional mail
  • Free shipping is only available within the continental US, excludes Alaska and Hawaii.
  • Does not ship to Utah or Wisconsin

Key Features

Products
Beer experts at the Original Craft Beer Club travel around the continental US to hand-select a variety of premium beers from small production, independently or family owned microbreweries. Each shipment will have a mix of light to dark beers that are seasonal and freshly brewed.
Quantity
There is no minimum membership requirement. Each shipment will include 12 or 24 standard size bottles (or occasionally cans) of 4 different styles of beer from 2 separate domestic breweries.
Membership Options
Membership features very flexible ordering and delivery scheduling. All customers will choose between 1 - 12 shipments or an open-ended ongoing membership, between 12- and 24-bottles of craft beer in your shipment, and whether they want to receive deliveries on a monthly, bimonthly or quarterly basis. There are no monthly dues, and you can cancel your membership at any time without incurring any cancellation fees.
Cost per Beer
Craft Beer Club offers discounted rates if you have an open-ended membership (5% off shipments), if you purchase 24 bottles in each shipment or if you commit to a total of twelve shipments. If you order less than twelve 12-bottle shipments, it averages out to about $3.15 per beer, but, if you order 12 shipments, the cost decreases to $2.97 per beer. If you order less than twelve 24-beer shipments, it averages out to about $2.99 per beer, but, if you order 12 shipments, the cost decreases to $2.68 per beer. (Shipping costs are included in the prices listed.)
Newsletter
As part of your membership, The Original Craft Beer Club will include their monthly newsletter, The Micro Brew News, in each shipment. The newsletter will include background on the breweries, tasting notes on the different beers, suggestions for food pairings and fun beer trivia. The brew master or owner will also include one of their favorite recipes for you to try at home while enjoying their beers. Recent recipes include Crockpot Pulled Pork from the Matt Brewing Company in New York and some Smoked Fish Tacos with Caribbean Salsa from St. John Brewers in Virginia.
Bonus Gifts
New ongoing customers receive 3 complimentary gifts in their first shipment based on their membership. If you purchase a membership or gift between 2-5 shipments, you will receive a custom beer bottle opener. If you purchase between 6-11 shipments, you will receive the opener and an assortment of Gourmet Craft Roasted Nuts (four 16-ounce bags). If you purchase 12 shipments, you will receive the opener, nuts and a set of four 4.5-ounce craft beer tasting glasses. Customers who purchase 12 shipments also automatically save $25 on their order.
Recently Featured Beers
D.L. Geary Brewing Company in Maine (Pale Ale and Summer Ale), Pike Brewing Company in Washington (Pike IPA and Pike Naughty Nellie), Thirsty Dog Brewing Company in Ohio (Twisted Kilt and Labrador Lager), etc.
Gift Information
Craft Beer Club offers two ways to notify gift recipients. For free, you can email an online gift card or have "A gift from [name]" printed on the shipping label. For an additional $2.99, they will mail a gift announcement that will arrive in 5-7 business days.
Shipping Schedule
Craft Beer Club orders can be shipped monthly, every other month, or quarterly. The first shipment will arrive within 7-10 days, and then monthly shipments will arrive during the last week of every month (depending on location). Craft Beer Club strongly suggests shipping to a business address since an adult signature is required.
Satisfaction Guarantee
If you are unhappy with the service, you can cancel your membership at any time with no cancellation fees.

Reputation

While the Craft Beer Club doesn't have any consolidated customers reviews on independent (unbiased) websites, I did read a few very positive individual reviews on the club. Overall, it sounds like customers have been very pleased with the service and the quality and variety of the beers they received. My husband actually has a monthly membership for his office and loves it for an in-office happy hour. He said everyone is always really excited to try the new beers each month, and it has been a great way for his team to bond. While the complimentary gifts may seem small, they are especially convenient for an office environment because you get an opener, glasses and some salty snacks all in the first shipment. The only negative I can see about this club is that you aren't able to reorder beers that you like online. However, when we asked the Craft Beer Club team about it, they said they do take reorders by phone and can accommodate any requests depending on the stock at hand. So, if you like any of the beer varieties you receive, just be sure to follow up with them quickly and you can probably secure a few extras.


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