UPDATE: As of January 15, 2013 Beerjobber stopped taking orders.
This is the second part in a 3 part series (Part 1, Part 3) detailing experiences with using new and innovative online beer retailers. Many physical retailers have sold beer via an online presence for years, but only recently has the model been updated and focused directly on online sales, and sometimes without an affiliated retail location.
I discovered Beerjobber after a mention in a NYTimes.com article. This site’s focus is to broker transactions directly between breweries and customers. After an order is placed, it is forwarded directly to the brewery who then packages the beer from their own stock and ships the beer directly to the customer.
I placed an order on a Thursday to get a variety pack from Voodoo Brewing Company in Meadville, PA. This enabled me to try 6 different beers from the same brewery instead of 12 of a single beer (you must order a full case). I ended up splitting the case with Steve so we each got to try 6 different beers with no extras – a great way to use this site if you ask me. Cost worked out to be $7.88/22oz bottle. It shipped the next day on Friday and was delivered to Chicago on the following Tuesday. The box arrived intact in great condition. It was packed as a standard 12 22oz bottle cardboard beer box, set with Styrofoam corners inside a larger box. Also inside the box were 2 extra beer lables (stickers) and a handwritten thank you note from the brewery. The beers all tasted fresh and I really enjoyed the White Magick of the Sun the best.
The main drawbacks of this site are the availability and restriction to a full case. The site seems to only work with smaller breweries that make less well-known beers. There are a few above average choices from time to time, but they might not be included in a variety pack – otherwise you need to order a full 12 case of a beer you might not end up liking. Additionally, due to the nature of the site, they might be an outlet for breweries to get rid of older, less fresh beer (for example “Summer” beers being sold in September).
I am less likely to continue ordering from this site unless they expand to include more breweries with good regional names but limited distribution to Chicago. 3.5 out of 5 stars.