Saturday, June 23, 2018

Classics Beer Club from Craft Beer Connect

Classics Beer Club from Craft Beer Connect Review

Beer Clubs

Product Grade
Report Card Grade
0 Reviews
Best Feature:
Members can select which beers they want to receive
Worst Feature:
Beers aren't backed by 100% satisfaction guarantee
Best Uses:
Trying out Californian microbrews
Pricing:
$30 per 6-bottle shipment (S&H not included)
Manufacturer:
N/A

Where to Buy

Store Name
Price

Overview

Craft Beer Connect is a family-owned and operated beer of the month club that specializes in Californian microbreweries. It was launched in 2012 after two brothers had moved to San Diego from the East Coast and fallen in love with the local beer. To share these amazing, hard-to-find microbrews with the members of their beer club, the brothers began establishing relationships with different breweries around California. After carefully evaluating the quality of the brewery, the brothers would then select the beers they wanted to offer their members. Today, they currently work with over 40 breweries and have about 200 unique beers featured. What really makes Craft Beer Connect unique from other beer clubs is that members are allowed to choose which beers they want to receive in their monthly shipments or they can let CBC choose for them.

The Classics Beer Club is the least expensive of the four memberships that CBC offers and provides members access to CBC's Tier 1 beers, which make up 30% of its inventory. Each monthly shipment will include a newsletter with updates on the club and six 22-ounce bottles of beer (two bottles of three different types). If you want to make your own beer selections, you must "lock in" your choices within the members' area of CBC's website before the 22nd of the month or CBC will just choose beers for you. Similar to a Netflix subscription, membership is ongoing until you cancel and you will be charged on a monthly basis. The Classics Beer Club costs $30 per month (plus S&H), and you can make changes to your membership (upgrade/downgrade) or cancel anytime you want without incurring any fees.

Product Report Card Grade

We give the Classics Beer Club from Craft Beer Connect a B. We think it is a great introductory beer club membership and CBC does a good job of providing affordable premium microbrews from California. We also really like that you can easily select which beers you want to receive from their website. We had to deduct points because CBC doesn't offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and because their newsletter doesn't provide any information about the specific beers in your shipment. We also wish that members of the Classics Beer Club had access to more than just 30% of CBC's inventory. We really like and recommend the Classics Beer Club, but, if you can afford to spend another $15 per month, we'd probably suggest signing up for the Premium Beer Club from Craft Beer Connect, which will give you access to 70% of their inventory.


 
This Product
Most Popular
Honor Roll
Overall Score
41%
79%
77%
Our Awards
Date Reviewed
November 2013
January 2014
February 2013
Pros
Can select which beers you want to receive from CBC's inventory; great, affordable beers from Californian breweries; featured beers are rated by members, RateBeer and Beer Advocate; easy to reorder beers
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
Only receive access to 30% of CBC's beer inventory; no satisfaction guarantee; generic newsletter (specific beer info only on website); limited gift notification options; gift shipments aren't sent out immediately; monthly shipping only; doesn't ship to AK, HI, KY or MN; no discounts for reordering or buying in bulk
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
$30
$46.95 - $88.95
$38.95
Shipping Included
Shipping NOT Included
Shipping Included
Shipping Included
Bottles per Shipment
6 bottles (22oz)
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
2012
1994
1994
BBB-Accredited
No
Yes
No
Newsletter
Most Classics Beer Club shipments contain a generic newsletter with updates on the club.
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
You can review all available beers in the Tier 3 category, but there isn't a list of the club's previously featured beers.
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 your choice of beers from Californian microbreweries. If you don't make selections, the club will choose for you.
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
CBC specializes in Californian breweries and the club owners carefully select the featured microbrews. CBC currently has relationships with over 40 breweries and offers almost 200 different beers.
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
No
Yes
Yes
Bonus Gifts
No
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)
In Shipment
Email (instantly or on a scheduled day)
Printable Card
Email (instantly or on a scheduled day) Printable Card Traditional Mail
Shipping Options
Monthly
Monthly
Bimonthly
Quarterly
Monthly
Bimonthly
Quarterly
Shipping Schedule
Shipments are sent out the last week of every month.
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
AK, HI, KY, MN, and UT
AK, HI, and UT
AK, HI, and UT
Approximate Cost Per Bottle
$5
$14.83*
$3.07*

ProductReportCard Editors' In-Depth Review


Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Can select which beers you want to receive from CBC's inventory
  • Great, affordable beers from Californian breweries
  • Can review ratings from members, RateBeer and Beer Advocate when browsing beers
  • Can reorder your favorite beers

Cons

  • No satisfaction guarantee
  • Members of Classics Beer Club only receive access to 30% of CBC's beer inventory
  • Newsletter doesn't include specific beer information and tasting notes (only on website)
  • Only offers monthly shipping option
  • No discounts when reordering beers or buying in bulk
  • Unable to ship to Utah, Minnesota, Hawaii, Alaska, and Kentucky

Key Features

Products
As the entry-level membership, the Classics Beer Club showcases various styles of Californian microbrews within CBC’s Tier 1 category. Featured beers include Belgian-style beers, dark/lighter ales (stouts, porters, IPAs, pale ales, etc.) and session beers (lower alcohol content).
The September "Tier 3" shipment from Craft Beer Connect.
Credit: Mary Griffin
Quantity
CBC's Classics Beer Club includes monthly shipments of six 22-ounce bottles of beer. There will be two bottles of three different types of beer.
In each shipment, you will receive 2 bottles of 3 different types of beer.
Credit: Mary Griffin
Membership Options
CBC's Classics (or Tier 1) Beer Club is their most affordable membership. At this level, members will only have access to 30% of CBC's inventory of featured beers, but they still have the option of choosing which beers they want to receive. As with their other memberships, CBC only offers a monthly shipping schedule, and, once you sign up, membership is ongoing until you cancel. However, you can upgrade, downgrade or cancel your membership whenever you want.
Cost per Beer
The Classics Beer Club features beers that cost around $5 per 22-ounce bottle (S&H not included).
Newsletter
Most beer shipments will include a short newsletter with updates on CBC, new breweries/beers they are featuring, etc. For information on individual beers, tasting notes and food pairing suggestions, you have to visit the beer's page on CBC's website.
A brief newsletter like this is included in most beer shipments.
Credit: Mary Griffin
Bonus Gifts
None.
Recently Featured Beers
Some of the recently featured "Tier 1" beers include: Organic Açai Berry Wheat Ale from the Eel River Brewing Company, Black Marlin Porter from Ballast Point Brewing and Stone IPA from the Stone Brewing Company.
Gift Information
When you give a gift membership, you can either ask CBC to put together a single gift shipment with suggestions from you (ex. loves IPAs, hates ciders) or you can give the recipient a gift membership for a certain number of months and they'll have the option of choosing the beers they want to receive. If you choose the former, CBC will send your gift pack out during the next shipping cycle along with a customizable gift card. If you choose the latter (which we'd recommend), you can notify the gift recipient immediately via email. The email will include your gift message, details on the club, the length of their membership (1, 2, 3, 6 or 12 months) and instructions on how to order the beers they want.
Shipping Schedule
CBC only offers a monthly shipping schedule. Members will be charged on the 23rd of each month and then their beer shipments will be sent out. Transit time will depend on how far away from San Diego you are.
All of the bottles are securely packaged to prevent damage while in transit.
Credit: Mary Griffin
Satisfaction Guarantee
CBC members aren't covered by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. CBC will exchange your beer free of charge if you are sent the wrong bottles, but they will not refund or replace bottles that have been damaged by "acts of God or weather". If you want to cancel your membership, you won't incur any cancellation fees, but you must cancel before the 18th of the month or you will still receive that month's shipment.

Reputation

The Classics Beer Club from Craft Beer Connect has received positive reviews online. It is a great introductory package if you want to try out CBC, and you can easily upgrade (or downgrade) your membership whenever you want. We have been treating ourselves to the Specialties Beer Club (Tier 3) since June 2013 and have absolutely loved our experience. Our biggest complaints about Craft Beer Connect are mostly general ones. First, we wish that they offered a 100% satisfaction guarantee. We've never had any issue with our shipments, but we would be really annoyed if something was wrong with a bottle and CBC wouldn't refund or replace it. We also wish that CBC's newsletter included more educational information on the featured beers (brewery background, tasting notes, etc.). The website has this information, but a customized printed handout in each shipment seems to be standard for other monthly beer and wine clubs and is just easier to check out while you are trying to enjoy your beer. Plus, since the beers are so good, we usually like to save a few for guests, and it is definitely more fun when you can tell your guests how you "found" this amazing beer and then share the handout with them.

With that said, we love that CBC members are given the option of choosing which beers they want to receive. This is an awesome feature that you don't normally see from a beer club and definitely makes the process more fun and interactive. Originally from the East Coast myself, I'm not very familiar with Californian breweries, and so I also find it really helpful that CBC's website includes the ratings each beer has received from other members, RateBeer and Beer Advocate. While I wish their newsletters contained more information about the beers, it is obvious from CBC's website and newsletters that these guys have a serious passion for beer that is infectious. If you just want to try out a beer club membership, the Classics Beer Club is a great place to start. However, since you'll only have access to 30% of their beer inventory, beer connoisseurs who can afford to spend a little more might be interested in the Premium membership, which provides access to 70% of the beer inventory for another $15, or the Specialties membership, which provides access to 100% of the beer inventory for another $30.


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