If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my reviews of beers from far-flung places around the country, and a mention that I received them via The Beer Connoisseur’s Beer Buyers Club.
Before I go into my experiences with the club, I should mention how I came to join.
The Beer Connoisseur (TBC) approached me several months ago with a proposition. If I joined the Beer Buyers Club, wrote a few words about it, and advertised their magazine on my site, they would provide a free subscription and an opportunity to write a guest blog post for them.
So full disclosure, I am being compensated with the subscription and a small percentage of any sales via the affiliate link on my site (that banner ad you see at the top of the page). However, I am paying full fare as a club member, which can get pretty pricey in a hurry if you don’t watch yourself. More on that shortly.
I should also say that this partnership has provided me with something much more than a subscription. TBC’s editor liked my guest post so much it’s now a feature story in their latest issue, and I’ve been brought on as one of their regular contributors for future issues!
I’m a real beer writer!
But I digress. Back to the club.
The Beer Buyers Club is run through a partnership with the beer-buying site Tavour. Simply download the app, create an account, and you’re on your way. TBC even gives you a coupon code to save $10 on your first order (of at least $25).
Buying beer through the app is easy. A little too easy, actually. A couple of times a day you get a notification of the latest beer on offer. If you’re interested, go to the app, read the write-up, and if you want it, add as many as you want to your “crate” and the app automatically charges your card on file. Prices can vary greatly, from about $4 to upwards of $40 or more per beer, depending on style and rarity.
Your crate is shipped roughly monthly, although you can adjust ship dates if needed. Shipping to a business address is recommended, as a signature is needed for delivery. Shipping is flat rate (about $15) regardless of the size of your order.
My favorite feature of the club is having access to beer I don’t normally see here in California. At first it was a lot of fun adding beers from all over the U.S., from Indiana to Maryland, Arizona to New York, and Colorado to Alaska, to name just a few.
But I learned quickly that pacing myself is key. At two offerings a day, not only can it get expensive, but my fridge would overflow quickly. I’ve averaged roughly about 18 beers a month, which is about as much as I’m comfortable with, both expense- and storage-wise.
Styles pretty much run the gamut, although naturally Hazies and DIPAs are the most featured. (Since I live in the Bay Area and already have easy access to some of the finest examples in the country, it’s become easier for me to pass those by.) Tavour also seems quite fond of monster Stouts, especially of the Pastry variety. I’ll grab one now and then, depending on the particular slant (coffee stouts and porters are pretty much an automatic “yes!”).
Another benefit is the opportunity to expand my horizons. I’ll snag a Fruited Sour and even a Gose now and then, styles I have traditionally been averse to. It’s a great way to educate the palate without having to commit to a four-pack or more.
If there’s a drawback (besides the too-easy ability to run up a pretty big tab), it’s understanding the magazine’s tie in. TBC does send weekly email updates about featured beers, which is great. But aside from that, you don’t get any specifics about when they’ll be available, so it’s impossible to set a reminder. And I really don’t know if the beers they feature are exclusive to Beer Buyers Club members, or if everyone on Tavour has access to them.
TBC also stages virtual Happy Hours with some of the brewers of those featured beers, which is a nice bonus. But on top of trying to remember to order those beers, you also need to coordinate your ship dates so you can get them in time to enjoy during the discussions. It’s a bit too much planning for my feeble brain.
My only other complaint is Tavour’s customer service. I had to make changes to a shipment, and got no response after leaving several messages. The issue was ultimately handled, but follow-up was minimal, at best. I’m just chalking it up to staffing issues due to the pandemic and/or the popularity of the app.
Overall, these are minor quibbles. Having beers otherwise unavailable to me shipped to my (office) door has been a blast. It’s like Christmas whenever my new crate arrives. I’d recommend the Beer Buyers Club for that alone. It IS quite a bit of fun.
Oh, and if after reading my article you decide you’d like to subscribe to The Beer Connoisseur, click on that banner up top. You’ll save some $$, and I’ll get some $$. How’s THAT for a win-win?
And one final note. No matter if your beer is from across town or across the country, be sure to enjoy them safely at home as much as possible. If you must venture out, stay socially distant, and for cryin’ out loud, WEAR YOUR DAMN MASK!!!!