Introducing beer clubs, wine clubs for beer

While beer clubs are nothing new, their offerings are getting increasingly esoteric. More and more craft beer lovers want access to brews the masses will never sample.

Many breweries facing high demand have opted to keep their offerings secret until release, or sell release-day tickets ahead of time. However, beer clubs offer a different tack. One such club, Bruery offers multi-tiered memberships, a model borrowed from wine societies.

“We thought, if there’s this much demand, maybe people would be willing to subscribe for access,” explained the firm’s marketing manager, Joel Kennedy.

The idea of a paid membership seemed to sit well with breweries as well. It offered the opportunity for them to sell direct to those die hard craft beer fans who would understand exactly how special the beer was.

Peter Kruger, master brewer of Bear Republic in Sonoma County likes that a beer club can provide proper context and education to connoisseurs. Without the use of a membership club, “maybe a few people get to try them, but they might not get the full backstory, he told the Wall Street Journal.

While membership certainly has its privileges it generally doesn’t come cheap. Pricing varies, but on the lower end can range from a monthly fee of $48 for 12 quality beers or $59 a year but with no beer included in the fee. High-end Hardywood’s membership costs a whopping $295 a year. But price definitely isn’t a deterrent to the obsessed: Hardywood’s first 100 memberships sold out in half a minute and other upper-tier societies have waiting lists. [WSJ]