As noted in a recent Sightlines story, more drinkers in the U.K. are staying in than ever before. So this week, we asked The Fervent Few: what does it take to get you to leave home and have a beer? And how will delivery services or direct brewery shipments impact your willingness to leave your house for beer? Here’s what our members had to say.
Andrés Muñoz: “I only go out to drink if there’s a beer/mead/cider that I can’t find in package. Or if folks want to go out—otherwise I’m staying home. Sometimes, even if a beer is draft-only, that doesn’t motivate me enough to leave the house for a drink. I’m a broke Millennial, so price is always the deciding factor.
Assuming that the cost for fresh beer delivery with a nominal fee will fall somewhere between the average cost of buying at an off-premise and going to an on-premise, I would still go to the off-premise because there’s something about holding the bottle/can in your hand. Freshness has never affected my decision, unless a beer is way out of code, and even then I get intrigued to try the beer and see how it held up.”
Ryan Brower: “I have a few craft beer bars/bottle shops where I’ll go with co-workers once a week, and then the easy-to-get-to breweries I’m fortunate to live by. But I’m definitely buying stuff from those shops to take home if they sell beer to go. Mikkeller NYC dabbled with delivery this winter and spring, and I was really tempted to try it on multiple occasions, but I rarely find myself buying four-packs of a beer I haven’t tried yet.
I think the ability to buy a single can and try something at home, as opposed to having to go taste it on tap somewhere, is huge—if I end up not liking something, that can be a pretty significant sunk cost in terms of New York prices. I think allowing for mixed four- or six-packs would be a really big incentive for me to order delivery, though I know this isn’t necessarily how the typical craft beer drinker buys for at-home consumption—and I don’t know if it would ever make sense for a brewery to add that option, considering most don’t allow you to buy cans or cases any other way than how they package them.”
Niko Christensen: “To be honest, it doesn’t take much to get me out to have a few pints. With the way work goes for me and my fiancée, we need a drink after work some days. Both my jobs are very close to Cellarmaker Brewing Company, and I live within walking distance of Toronado. The proximity of these places makes it entirely too easy to drink fresh, exciting beer. In the Bay Area, we also have Hopsy—a direct-to-consumer beer delivery service. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the beers in their portfolio, but these options do exist here, and I haven’t taken advantage of them. For me to use these types of services, it’d have to be from local breweries I can’t get to too easily on a weekday, and it’d need to be fresh—poured-that-day fresh—and transported cold.
Ultimately, given my frequency at the bars mentioned above, I have built a rapport with the bartenders there, and you can’t put a price on that relationship. If a company can send the same ‘beer-enthused’ delivery person to me each time, allowing a rapport to be built with that person, I might consider these delivery services. But that’s a difficult business model to uphold. In that sense, the local pub is always going to win out, because I care about knowing the beer, the person serving it, the people making it, and how that beer is stored too much to sacrifice that for convenience.”
Rob Steuart: “I think one of the deciding factors would be how fresh is fresh. Here in Australia, most breweries put 12-month best-before dates (some will put six-month). If you are buying from an online retailer, they are under no obligation to give you the freshest product, as long as that product is in code. By going to a store, you can make your purchase based on the products available, and the freshness of those products. Even some of our big retailers will have fridge stock that is less than a week old.”
Michael Kiser: “While things like the Amazon Prime Now app (their Whole Foods connection), and Peapod (a grocery delivery service) have been sufficient for getting some standbys in the fridge (shoutout to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale), it's not a great browsing experience compared to the shelf. So I find myself still seeking out packaged beer from taprooms, or the specialty shop on the way home. I'm still a home drinker first and foremost. And I think there's a huge opportunity for breweries to drive traffic to home-delivery and grocery apps using social media. I expect the future will involve small brewer partnerships at the local level, using things like Drizly and Whole Foods as they compete for people's attention in the digital space with special and seasonal releases. If that doesn't happen, small brewers are certainly putting themselves at a major disadvantage by ignoring the shift to these purchasing channels.”
Manny Gumina: “I spend more in total when I go out for a few beers (rideshare, price/oz, food), so when I go out the reason is almost exclusively to meet people. I would never use Amazon Prime or Peapod to get widely distributed beers in my fridge. I'll just pick that up when I go to the grocery store at some point in the week. However, if I can get a fresh, specialty beer that's sitting in a brewery's fridge on the other side of town, I'd use a home-delivery service.”
Nick Yoder: “Since I have two kids and live 10–20 minutes from just about anywhere I could get a good drink, most of my drinking already occurs at home. If I’m going out, it’s to check out a new brewery, grab something that’s draft-exclusive, or occasionally meet up with friends.
Delivery would be great for something fresh from a brewery, but my job has me in or near off-premise spots daily, so I generally just make the quick stop for distributed beers.”
Colleen O’Sullivan: “It's quite the opposite for myself and my friend group. We drink at the pub much more often than we ever drink at home. The notable exception would be if there is a sporting event on (like there is at this very moment). I can't see myself ever being a big home drinker. The social aspect of drinking in a pub or brewery is too appealing and important for feeling content with life.”
Lana Svitankova: “I'd say it was 50/50 when I lived in Kyiv, but since I moved to Zurich I drink mostly at home, because prices at bars seem extortionate to me. Maybe I'll get used to them later, but I'll definitely need more time to get comfortable with drinking beer out. Or time until I exhaust the selection in my local beer shops.”
Michael McAllister: “Whenever I can I still prefer buying my packaged beer directly at the brewery. Even though I don’t go out for pints as much as I used to, that becomes my social stop to see what’s going on.
When it comes to delivery services, I would be curious if the operator would ensure cold delivery. Just like with pizza, if beer were delivered to my house, I’d want it to be ready to enjoy. I don’t want to have to throw it in the fridge.”
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