Despite numerous advancements in the alcohol industry, online sales are still a sticky subject. Laws vary state to state, and facilitating a beer, wine, or spirits purchase on the web can be complicated. And with 80 percent of Americans now living within 10 miles of a brewery, consumers have many options to buy quality suds in person. Still, successful online sales for companies like Drizly, which has stocked many house parties with vodka, rose, and large beer brands, has pulled others into the online market. And thankfully, some of these services focus on craft beer.
Tavour, a young craft beer delivery service, specializes in curated boxes of craft beer. Where Drizly offers availability and consistency — getting a 30-pack of Miller Lite, a handle of Smirnoff, or maybe a sixer of something like Rogue Dead Guy — Tavour brings experimentation, thoughtfulness, and discovery. This isn’t really an alcohol delivery service. But it’s also not a “beer of the month club.” It exists somewhere in the middle.
Tavour will send you daily emails with new, limited availability beers and a compelling story behind the brew. If you’re interested, you reply and they’ll add it to your “cellar.” Or, if you use the mobile app, you’re presented with a selection of beers and can click through to add your favorites to your “cellar.” Once your cellar is full (at around the four week mark according to Tavour) they ship your beer and you pay for what you picked.
Hop Culture recently got the chance to test out the service, and the sample box showcased the diversity of the system. Of the breweries on display I was familiar with Allagash, Great Divide, and AleWerks (and of those I’d only had the Little Brett), so this was an awesome chance to try some completely new and exciting beers. In my experience, it’s easy to fall into a routine and reach for the next beer from a known brewery, instead of exploring the quieter or underrated breweries. The same goes for beer styles; the box contained a juicy IPA from Three Magnets Brewing, a raspberry sour from Lucky Envelope, and a red ale from Milwaukee Brewing Company. I got to sample a range of out-of-market beers that are fresh and may never see shelves again (the one form Three Magnets was only brewed once). Plus the variety of formats — a couple bombers, cans, and 12 oz. bottles — is a nice touch.
- Louie’s Resurrection, Milwaukee Brewing in Milwaukee, WI
- Raspberry Sour, Lucky Envelope Brewing in Seattle, WA
- Little Brett, Allagash Brewing in Portland, ME
- Barrel Aged Old Ruffian, Great Divide Brewing in Denver, CO
- Red Headed Stranger, Brasserie Saint James in Reno, NV
- Frontman IPA, Black Shirt Brewing in Denver, CO
- Lover’s Greed, AleWerks Brewing in Williamsburg, VA
- Reefstorm, Three Magnets Brewingin Olympia, WA
The only thing that disappointed me was the tech side of Tavour. Obviously one email a day isn’t horrible, but it does seem slightly tedious and a little dated. For the app, I was expecting something along the lines of Tinder, where you swipe on the beers you’re interested in (and then they swipe right back?). I can already hear the “tinder of beer” articles being written. But despite some ease of use problems, the selection, freshness (especially with regards to the IPAs), and variety — which is what truly matters — shined through.
The beer is fresh and unique and delivered right to your door. And because this isn’t a “beer of the month club” you can leave room between shipments. For those looking to experiment with beer from the comfort of their couch, this is the solution.