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14 July 2021

Beer subscriptions compared

Is BrewDog, Beer Hawk, Beerwulf or another beer subscription the best for you? We compare 10 popular beer subscriptions to help you choose
Joel Bates
Craft beer box from a beer subscription

Beer subscriptions are a great way to discover new brands, try varieties from abroad that you won't find in the UK, as well as learn all about the drink and where it comes from.

But which subscriptions will give you the most beer for your money and make it easy to manage or cancel your subscription?

If you like the idea of having cases delivered to your door every month, this guide will help you compare 10 of the UK's most popular subscription services on prices, delivery, what's in the box and more.

Why sign up to a beer subscription?

  • You'll broaden your beer horizons by receiving a selection of different beers from all over the world, opening you up to those you've never tasted before and ones you won't likely find at your local off-licence or supermarket.
  • Beer boxes can come with magazines or information packs that tell you all about what you're drinking, including tasting notes and articles on where it's from and how it's made.
  • Some subscriptions offer online tastings so you can discuss and share notes with fellow enthusiasts.
  • Subscriptions can offer attractive introductory offers that give you free or discounted beer in your first box. If you aren't keen on committing to a subscription, it could still be worth shopping around to see what you can get for little expense.
  • There are usually different subscription offers available that let you choose the types of beer you receive, the size of the box you get each month and the prices you pay.
  • The delivery charge for subscription boxes is usually free or low cost.

How popular beer subscriptions compare

Below, you'll find our comparison of 10 of the UK's top subscription services on monthly fees, introductory offers, how to cancel and other key info you should know if you're thinking of subscribing.

All these subscription services are listed alphabetically.

Beer52

Sign up at: beer52.com

The Craft Beer Discovery Club is Edinburgh-based Beer52's subscription, and with it you'll receive pre-selected cases that follow a different theme, usually a country or region.

Each box comes with an accompanying snack and a 100-page magazine that tells you all about what you're drinking, how it was made and the brewery behind it.

Beer52 pledges that you'll never receive the same beer twice and says some breweries make exclusive beers just for its subscribers. You can choose to receive mixed boxes of light and dark beers, or just light beers. The light beer selection is vegan friendly.

Running cost of membership: £24 a month (eight beers), £29 a month (10 beers), £34 a month (12 beers).

Introductory offer: Free first case for £5.95 delivery (not always offered), or first case completely free if an existing member gives you a 'golden ticket' voucher code.

DeliveryNext-day delivery Monday to Friday if you order by 3pm, Saturday delivery also available. Free, unless otherwise stated.

How do I cancel? You can change or pause your subscription by logging in to your Beer52 account online or cancel it by calling 0131 285 2684.

Is there anything else I should know? You can choose a more spaced-out plan by calling the number above or emailing support@beer52.com and switching your subscription so you receive a box every two or three months instead.

BeerBods by Beer Hawk

Sign up at: beerbods.co.uk

Worcestershire-based BeerBods started out as an independent online club and subscription service in 2012 before being bought by craft beer retailer Beer Hawk.

The idea of the BeerBods subscription is to taste one of the eight beers from the box per week, so each box you receive will have you sorted for the next two month's worth of beers.

The mantra of BeerBods is to select and feature beers that have a story and taste that prompts you to chat to others about it.

Beer Hawk will email you each week telling you which beer you should be drinking and link to an article telling you the story behind it. It also holds live tastings online every Thursday at 9pm for that week's beer.

Running cost of membership: £24 every two months (eight beers).

Introductory offer: £10 for a four-week trial (four beers), including a BeerBods glass.

Delivery: Free, dispatched within one or two working days and delivered on a 24-hour service by courier.

How do I cancel? Email hello@beerbods.co.uk with the 'unsubscribe' in the subject line.

Is there anything else I should know? You can find out which beers Beer Hawk is planning on featuring in its next BeerBods box on its website, along with an archive listing all the previously featured beers.

Beer Merchants

Sign up at: beer-merchants-club.myshopify.com

Its subscription is called Beer Merchants Premium Club, which will give you quarterly (every three months) cases of six to 12. The number of beers varies depending on how expensive each bottle is, but they will always add up to the amount you pay for each box.

The beers vary broadly from case to case, and with a subscription you'll also get early access to certain beers, a 5% discount on Beer Merchants online store and you will occasionally receive merchandise with your case.

It used to offer a smaller, cheaper subscription option called Beer Merchants Fresh Club, but that has been discontinued.

Each case is billed on 1 January, 1 April, 1 July and 1 October, and delivered by the end of the week payment is taken.

Running cost of membership: £65 every three months (six to 12 beers).

Introductory offer: None available at the time of writing.

Delivery: Free, delivered by the end of the first week of each month of billing.

How do I cancel? The subscription is run online via Shopify where you can manage and cancel your subscriptions in your account settings.

Is there anything else I should know? Beer Merchants also offer subscriptions to 12 or 24-pack cases of beer of your choosing from its online store. At the time of writing there are 19 beers to choose from and delivery of each box is £4.95.

Beerwulf

Sign up at: beerwulf.com

Beerwulf runs a slightly different beer subscription to the others listed in this guide. Beerwulf's subscription deals in two-litre SUB kegs, which are for use with The SUB Compact Black, a home beer tap and cooler (£99) that you can buy direct from Beerwulf.

The SUB Keg plans run on a monthly basis, and you can choose to either receive eight kegs per month of a lager of your choosing, or four mixed kegs which change from month to month.

At the time of writing, Beerwulf is also offering a fortnightly subscription option for eight kegs of Heineken.

Craft beers and ales are only available via the four mixed kegs option. You can find out what the current month's kegs are in the FAQ section of the SUB Keg plans page on the website.

It's important to note that once you subscribe to one of Beerwulf's plans, you're committed to receiving six deliveries, so even though it's a monthly cost, it's a six-month contract.

You can pause your subscription for up to 60 days and swap to a different plan without resetting the six month cycle, but you'll have to pay for six deliveries eventually.

Running cost of membership: £49.90 (four kegs), £62.90 to £66.90 (eight kegs).

Introductory offer: None available at the time of writing.

Delivery: Free, delivered within one to two working days of billing.

How do I cancel? Online on your Beerwulf account settings, or by using the live chat box on the website.

Is there anything else I should know? Beerwulf has an alternative beer tap and keg combination on offer from Beer Blade, but these kegs are only available to buy on a pay-as-you-go basis at the time of writing.

BrewDog

Sign up at: brewdog.com

Sustainability is the name of BrewDog's game, and it claims to offer membership to 'the world's most sustainable beer club'.

It pledges that every beer it produces is carbon negative. A major part of its plan to achieve this has been to buy a more than 9,000-acre plot of land in Scotland to grow a forest for removing more carbon than BrewDog's factories produce.

BrewDog & Friends is the subscription on offer, and with it you'll receive eight mixed 330ml cans of beer per month. The boxes are made up of BrewDog's own beers and beers from a partner brewery, which changes from box to box.

You'll also receive a monthly magazine with information about the beer inside and the partner brewery, and you'll have access to member offers and perks.

Running cost of membership: £19.95 per month (eight beers).

Introductory offer: Your first box will be free (not including the £3.95 postage).

Delivery: £3.95 per box.

How do I cancel? Change or cancel online by managing your subscriptions on the 'My Account' section of the website. You must cancel by 2nd of the month to avoid being charged for that month's box.

Is there anything else I should know? You can sign up for monthly, quarterly or six-month charges, but they all still work out at £19.95 per month. Monthly subscribers can also skip a box if they wish.

Camden Town Brewery

Sign up at: shop.camdentownbrewery.com

Camden Town Brewery is one of London's most popular brewers, famous for its Camden Hells lager and Camden Pale Ale. Its subscription is called the Arsenal Beer Subscription (look away, Spurs fans).

Partnering with Arsenal FC, Camden Town Brewery's subscription will get you 12 aluminium 473ml bottles of Arsenal-branded Camden Hells beer, and using your Beer Season Ticket card you can access monthly rewards, competitions, discounts and sometimes free beer.

The discounts and rewards can usually be redeemed by flashing your membership card at various pubs partnering with Camden Town Brewery. Your rewards and how to access them will be included in a monthly subscribers email.

Running cost of membership: £35 per month (12 beers).

Introductory offer: None available at the time of writing.

Delivery: Free, delivered two to five working days after subscribing.

How do I cancel? Manage or cancel your subscription by signing in online at Camden Town Brewery's website.

Is there anything else I should know? Camden Town Brewery is owned by AB InBev, a multi-national company who also own other major beer brands such as Beck's, Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois.

Dry Drinker

Sign up at: drydrinkerdirect.com

These subscriptions don't have to be all about drinking alcohol, and Dry Drinker is one of the most popular UK merchants for alcohol-free beer.

It's subscription, Dry Drinker Direct, will send you eight alcohol-free craft beers a month, with each box following a different theme and comes with tasting notes.

Each box contains a mixture of light and dark beers, and as well as the standard subscription there's a vegan-friendly option available for the same monthly price.

You can see the selection included in each month's box on the Dry Drinker Direct website.

Running cost of membership: £20 per month (eight beers).

Introductory offer: Dry Drinker glass included with your first box.

Delivery: Free, shipped to DHL within seven working days and delivered by DHL as soon as possible after that.

How do I cancel? Pause or cancel your subscription at any time by calling 020 3667 7222.

Is there anything else I should know? Dry Drinker offer a quality guarantee, which means if you don't like the beer you receive you'll get your money back.

Flavourly

Sign up at: flavourly.com

Flavourly is an Edinburgh-based beer merchant and subscription service that offers two types – the Craft Beer Club and Subscribe & Save.

A subscription to the Craft Beer Club will get you eight beers and a snack in each box, with a magazine containing tasting notes, articles about the breweries and recipes. You can choose between cases of light and dark beer or just light beer.

Subscribe & Save will get you boxes of 20 craft beers instead, but they will be the 20 most popular beers sold by Flavourly that month rather than a curated selection. You'll also get the snack and magazine that comes with the Craft Beer Club.

You can change the frequency of your beer box deliveries by logging in to the account section of the Flavourly website. In 'edit your preferences', you can swap between monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly boxes.

Running cost of membership: £19.90 per month (Craft Beer Club, eight beers), £26.90 (Subscribe & Save, 20 beers).

Introductory offer: None available at the time of writing.

Delivery: Free, delivered in two to three working days.

How do I cancel? Cancel any time by logging in to your account on Flavourly's website, clicking 'Account', then 'Beer Club', then 'Cancel Membership'. You'll be asked to fill in a short questionnaire and you can then close your account.

Is there anything else I should know? You can't cancel your subscription within 24 hours of the day your membership is set to recur, so if you want to cancel make sure to do so more than 24 hours before.

HonestBrew

Sign up at: honestbrew.co.uk

HonestBrew is an online-only shop and subscription service that pledges to support independent craft breweries. There are two subscription options available.

There's the HonestBrew Membership essentially charges you £10 a month to top up online credit that you can then spend on whichever beers are available at its store at discounted prices.

Or there's Honesty Boxes, which is the classic curated subscription box that is selected for you. You can choose to receive a mixed box of light and dark beers or just light beers, and you'll also get discounts on any you buy from the online store.

Subscribers to either service also gets early access to new beer releases and sales on the website, and payments can be paused or adjusted to become less frequent.

Running cost of membership: £10 per month (HonestBrew Membership), £22.90 per month (six beers), £29.90 per month (nine beers), £36.90 per month (12 beers).

Introductory offer: Get a £5 credit when subscribing to HonestBrew Membership, or £10 off your first box with Honesty Boxes.

Delivery: Free for Honesty Boxes subscribers, £4.99 for any orders under £50 from the online store.

How do I cancel? Pause or cancel any time by emailing frank@honestbrew.co.uk, or using the live chat box on the website.

Is there anything else I should know? HonestBrew Membership subscribers can choose to up the amount of credit charged to their account monthly if they want to, but it must always be multiples of £5 or £10 minimum.

Virgin Wines Beerbox

Sign up at: virginwines.co.uk

Virgin Wines offers a beer subscription called Beerbox and it works much like its wine subscription.

You'll get boxes of 10 beers from craft, micro and regional brewers either monthly or every two months, and each box comes with tasting notes.

You'll receive the details of each box, including which beers are inside, via email every month. You can also find out the details about each beer, including their percentage ABV and where they're from, on the website.

Running cost of membership: £29.90 per month (10 beers).

Introductory offer: £14.99 for an intro box (eight beers).

Delivery: Free, it's recommended to allow between three and five working days for your box to arrive.

How do I cancel? Call Virgin Wines on 0343 224 1001 to cancel.

Is there anything else I should know? Once the monthly email comes through about the next box you can adjust the delivery date by emailing help@virginwines.co.uk or calling 0343 224 1001.

What is the cheapest beer subscription?

Most beer subscriptions have a variety of options that will help you avoid spending more than you want to.

Pinning down exactly which one will give you the most liquid for your money is difficult, as each subscription sends a varying number of beers that come in different sizes – some in 330ml cans, and others in 330ml, 375ml or 500ml bottles.

Looking simply at the number of drinks you get (regardless of their size) next to how much you pay, the cheapest beer subscription of those above is Flavourly's Craft Beer Club, which gets you eight beers for £19.90 per month.

What's clear, though, is that for the perk of accessing unusual, varied beers and having them delivered to your home, you do pay quite a premium compared with what it costs in the supermarket.

Prices for cases of beer in the supermarket usually range from around £9 to £18,  and none of the beer subscription options above send boxes for less than that.

One way you can access the unique and varied drinks offered by these subscriptions is to take advantage of their introductory offers. Many offer heavily discounted or free boxes for new customers, and if you shop around you can get a lot of beer for little expense.

You'll just have to remember to cancel them after you've received your first box, otherwise you'll be billed at full price for the next box.

What are the main types of beer?

Brewing beer is a varied and innovative craft, and as such there's a long list of types categorised by how they taste, how they're made, their colour and where they come from.

There are enough beer varieties to fill volumes, but to help you understand the main types you're likely to come across with a subscription or at your local pub, we've listed some of the main types below: 

  • Pale ales Characterised by their generally pale colour and strong focus on hoppy flavour. India pale ales (IPAs) are an especially popular type and often make up the signature beers made by craft brewers.
  • Brown ales These are of British origin and thought to be at the middle point between hops and malt-focused flavour. Usually mild, sweet and nutty.
  • Lagers Conditioned and served cold, and hugely varied. Pale lagers are the most popular in the world and are usually mild in flavour, hoppy and heavily carbonated.
  • Red ales and amber ales Typically malty and rich in flavour, and especially popular in the autumn and winter months. Most Scotch ales fall under this category, and are darker, sweeter and less hoppy than other beers.
  • Stouts and porters Typically the darkest, richest and most warming types of beer. You'll often find flavours of coffee, chocolate, berries and even chilli.
  • Wheat beers Traditionally of German and Belgian origin, wheat beers are brewed with lots of wheat malt and are characterised by their golden, hazy colours and light, fruity flavours.