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Everything You Need to Know About Buying Craft Beer Online

This is for all you thirsty boys out there

Grabbing a six-pack from the store is cool and all, but here are just a few reasons you might consider ordering beer online, instead:

In other words, there are plenty of good reasons to order beer online, especially nowadays. In fact, the lockdowns have inspired many parched persons to take advantage of online beer shopping: Alcohol delivery app Drizly, for instance, experienced a 300 percent spike in sales at the beginning of March, when bars and restaurants were initially shuttered. Furthermore, in many states, rules around online liquor sales (and liquor sales more generally) have been loosened, making it easier for customers to buy directly from breweries and wineries. (Although, many states still have restrictions about shipping alcohol across state lines — Arkansas, Alabama and Utah are especially strict about this — so make sure that whichever online service you choose is available for delivery in your area, especially as these rules continue to change.)

Besides just being convenient, though, another benefit of ordering beer online is having a much, much larger selection. “I used to live in Albany, New York, but I moved to Florida in 2015,” beer reviewer Chad Polenz explains. “The beer scene down here just isn’t the same, and unless you live in Tampa, it’s difficult to find a good bottle shop. Sure, there’s Total Wine and ABC, but their selection tends to be ancient. Even the local liquor store chain has a big selection… of old beer. I’ve pleaded with them to clear out their old inventory, but they always just blame it on the distributor.”

So, to quench his thirst for decent ales, Polenz turned to Tavour, a craft beer delivery service that works on a subscription basis: You add any number of rotating beers to your “cellar,” which is then shipped to your door on a select (usually monthly) date. “The only way to order beer online is through Tavour, as far as I know,” Polenz says. “There may be other sites, but if so, they’ve never come to my attention (which says a lot about their marketing, if I haven’t heard of them). I check the Tavour app every day. They seem to carry mostly IPAs, stouts and sours, but sometimes they’ll have an interesting lager or wild ale. I only buy beers that I’d buy at a store. I’ve seen sours and bourbon barrel-aged imperial stouts where they want $15, $20 or even $30 for a single 500-milliliter or 750-milliliter bottle. That’s a little excessive.”

Now, there are other online beer delivery services, including the aforementioned Drizly and a similar one called Saucey, both of which sell all kinds of alcohol, including beer, but these work primarily by providing immediate deliveries from liquor stores in your area, rather than from a conglomerate of breweries around the world. These are essentially the Postmates of booze delivery, so if you need beer NOW, these are your best bet.

There are also services similar to Tavour, like CraftShack and The Beer Connect, which are essentially platforms that connect consumers with smaller breweries and bottle shops from around the states (although, again, there are some limitations to which states these companies can ship to, so be sure to check with them first — CraftShack ships to most states, but The Beer Connect can only ship to 25 as of now).

As for the logistics of ordering beer online, for one, Polenz says, “The delivery driver is supposed to card you at the door.” So yeah, you should still be of age, bro. Secondly, while Tavour has a relatively low shipping flat rate of $14.90, plus tax, you can expect to pay anywhere between $20 and $35 to have beer shipped to you, because it’s heavy and usually needs to travel in a refrigerated container. With apps like Drizly and Saucey, you should expect to tip as well. But hey, if you want the convenience of having any beer from around the world shipped to your door, you need to pay extra.

So, what are you going to ord— oh, you passed out on the couch? I guess that’s probably for the best.