Best beer subscriptions for 2023: we review craft beer box deliveries
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Beer subscription services are now an established way for drinkers to get a regular supply of beers delivered to their door. They offer customers regular deliveries of the kind of beers they like, or introduce them to the latest breweries and trends, often at a price that beats buying the beers on an individual basis.
In the past few years, the subscription market has seen a lot of changes. Some of the original groundbreaking services are no more, while a large number of newcomers have entered the fray, hoping that their model and access to beers finds a big enough audience. And it’s not just retailers who have adopted the subscription model, increasingly breweries are providing subscription services to customers with the likes of Anspach & Hobday, Northern Monk and Brew York getting in on the act.
What should I look for in a beer subscription?
If you’re looking for a regular selection of delicious beers delivered to your door then it can be tempting to plump for the one that offers the best ratio of beers-per-pounds spent, but it’s worth looking beyond price alone.
Some services go to great lengths to source the latest, rarest brews, making them pricier than others; some have finely tuned beer profiling mechanisms, creating boxes unique to your tastes; some focus on themes that allow you to further expand your knowledge of the beer world; while others have more of a club feel that bring membership benefits beyond the bottles and cans in each box.
Why sign up to a beer subscription?
- They’re great for broadening your beer knowledge, usually offering beers not available at your local pub or supermarket, and from craft breweries from around the world.
- The best ones comes with tasting notes, magazines, or even podcasts to explain what beer you’re drinking, it’s brewery of origin and how it was made.
- Many subscriptions comes with discounted prices, making them more cost effective than heading to the bottle shop - particularly on introductory offers.
- The best curated delivery services offer a diverse beer selection tailored to your tastes - from pale ales, session IPAs, 500ml bottles, to crisp pilsners, hoppy little numbers, and award winning British beers.
- Because it is such a (ahem) saturated market for beer subscriptions, beer boxes are available in a range of sizes, with the range of beer, price you pay, and the size of the each month’s box varying according to your need. Some of them even offer online live tastings to guide you through your brews.
To help you choose the right subscription box service for you we’ve profiled seven of the best, each offering something slightly different.
Take a look at what each one offers, weigh up the price (not forgetting to add postage), and sit back and enjoy the huge range of delicious beers each one brings.
24 cans £39.95; 12 cans £29.95
Pros: Great price which comes down the longer you subscribe
Cons: Selections are less adventurous than others
Few services offer such good value as Flavourly, and a recent tweak to their model now rewards loyalty – by the time you reach your sixth box it will be five pounds cheaper.
There are quite a few familiar breweries among their selections, with our sample box including Loch Lomond and Australia’s Little Creatures, but the quality is excellent throughout. Beers are generally the more mainstream craft styles, such as pale ales, but you’ll also discover a few more adventurous choices (we enjoyed a red ale from By The Horns) and the boxes also come with a magazine and snack.
Delivery included? Yes
£27 for 8 beers, monthly
Pros: Good value way of discovered breweries from around the world
Cons: Cancelling your subscriptions can be difficult
Beer52 is one of the more established services, taking its subscribers on a round-the-world beer tour, packing boxes with booze from a different country each month. Preferences are limited to ‘mixed beers’ or ‘light beers only’, and from there on you’re in the hands of the breweries from whatever nation they visit, but the standard is usually pretty high.
The company invests in a lot of marketing, so if you cancel they may keep pestering you to rejoin. Subscribers also receive a copy of the excellent Ferment magazine and they also throw in a snack for good measure.
Delivery included: yes.
£49.95 for 12 beers, monthly
Pros: Excellent hard-to-find beers
Cons: One of the pricier clubs
Hop Burns & Black’s ‘all killer, no filler’ subs boxes are pitched at those who take their craft beer drinking a little more seriously than most, sourcing some of the most sought after beers in the UK.
You’ll get hard-to-find limited edition beers, small batch collabs and eagerly anticipated releases, all served up with comprehensive tasting notes and food pairing suggestions.
Although a little pricey, each beer is of excellent quality and it works out considerably cheaper than buying them individually.
Delivery included: no.
£25.99 for 6, £26 for 2 premium 750ml bottles. Delivery not included.
Pros: it’s something different to beer
Cons: it’s not beer
You will likely either react to the inclusion of a cider subscription box on this list as sacrilege (that’s not beer!) or delight that the crisp drop has an outing. And boy, do Crafty Nectar what they’re doing.
Curated by their crafty experts, you’ll receive a monthly box of different cider styles and flavours. Choose from a mini taster box of three bottles, a Craft Cider Discovery Box of six bottles or a Fine Cider Taster Box made up of two unique, special 750ml bottles.
This isn’t your teenaged scrumpy: it’s seriously delicious stuff. We found ourselves utterly delighted with the introduction they offered us to the world of Rosé Cider, and the tart home brewed rhubarb cider.
Delivery: £4.99 per box
12 x 330ml bottles for £39
Pros: Great lager and club benefits
Cons: Some lagers are often repeated
Braybrooke Beer Co is a Leicestershire based brewery who make some of the best lagers in the UK. They also run a monthly subscription club that features bottles of their core lagers, recent collaborations, new releases and the occasional guest beer.
Our box contained some outstanding smoked lagers and a dopplebock among more familiar lager styles. Membership benefits include 10% off additional purchases, an exclusive first-try of their new special edition limited lager releases and the occasional free gift or treat. An excellent package if you want to guarantee great lager every month.
Delivery included? Yes
8 beers for £24.99
Pros: Excellent variety of alcohol free beers
Cons: You may get a few beers repeated from previous months
The AF Beer Club is an online community of alcohol free beer drinkers that curates a monthly subscription box through retailer the Wise Bartender.
Their dedication to sourcing the best AF beers pays off with an excellent range of styles, some from far flung breweries you would otherwise struggle to find in the UK. This club proves that AF beers can be every bit as exciting as their boozy counterparts.
Follow the AF Beer Club on social media and you can also connect with like-minded drinkers.
Delivery included? Yes
£38 per month, number of bottles varies
Pros: Great beers direct from the breweries
Cons: The single brewery approach isn’t for everyone
Sign up to a Brewser subscription and each month you’ll get a case of beers delivered to you directly from the brewery of your choice. The amount of beers you receive varies according to brewery, but you can be certain they’ll include their freshest and most exciting releases. The 120 plus breweries on board range from craft stalwarts such as Cloudwater and Northern Monk to the less well known Brew Yonder (Somerset), Play Brew Co (Middlesbrough) and Neptune (Liverpool). This gives you the perfect opportunity to try beers from a brewery you wouldn’t normally find in your local bottle shop and, when the case is empty, you get to discover another brewery the following month.
Delivery included? Yes
£30 for approx 10 beers
Pros: Great value beers from an outstanding brewery
Cons: You will get repeat beers
Thornbridge is one of the UKs craft beer pioneers and the goodies in this box showcase their excellence at a great price. Among the 10 bottles and cans in the box we tested were a new beer using the British hop Harlequin, a witbier collaboration with Brick Brewery and a 10% ABV brown ale aged in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks.
Besides great beer, members also get discounts, exclusive access to new releases and the occasional gift. Thornbridge continues to be at the forefront of beer brewing and membership of this club means you can join them on their brewing journey.
Delivery included? No
4 X 12 Beers £155
Pros: Big bottles from quality breweries
Cons: Not for those who want harder to find limited editions
Besides offering monthly bottle clubs of 6 or 12 beers and lagers, Best of British also runs the hugely popular option of four cases containing 12 beers, delivered quarterly (or on another specific date if you prefer). As you might guess the beer is British and most of it comes in 500ml bottles, with a few 440ml cans and also included.
The quality is extremely high and appeals to those who enjoy a traditional pint, rather than seekers of crazy modern flavours. Choose from Pale & Golden, Dark Ales & Stouts or a mixed case and you’ll also get a free glass, tasting notes and a pub quiz.
Delivery included? No