We might not receive newspapers at our door or magazines in our mailbox as much as we used to, but that’s fine, because today’s world allows us to subscribe to other things. Better things—like craft beer, for instance. Whether it’s acclaimed breweries offering their most loyal customers highly-coveted releases, or upstart breweries trying to get a quick injection of capital, the beer subscription model is booming. And best of all, it benefits both drinkers and brewers.

Here’s a look at some of the country’s most exciting beer subscriptions:

The Bruery (Placentia, CA)

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The club(s): Preservation Society, Reserve Society, Hoarder’s Society

Subscription cost/time frame: As low as $58.50 (per quarter) to as high as $695 (per year)

How to join: The Bruery’s online store

How to get beers: Shipped to California residents only; out-of-staters can appoint a trustee to pick up bottles at the brewery

The Bruery is far too sophisticated to have a mere “club”—instead, it has three societies. The Preservation Society is just $58.50 per quarter (3 bottles) and earners members first priority for joining the Reserve Society ($295). New membership opens each October, offering nine bottles of such highly-regarded “brues” as Chocolate Rain and Cherry Oude Tart. But wait, there’s more! The Hoarder’s Society ($695) is The Bruery’s most highfalutin subscription, available by invitation only. It gets you ultra-limited beers mere mortals like us can only dream of getting a one-ounce taste of at some overly packed bottle share.

Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, FL)

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The club(s): El Catador Club

Subscription cost/time frame: $150 (per year)

How to join: Line up at a Sears (seriously) on a Sunday in July

How to get beers: You or an appointed trustee must pick up bottles at the brewery

The El Catador Club has become one of the most geeked-out beer clubs in America. Unfortunately, this year’s membership sold out on July 27th so you’re S.O.L. ‘til 2015. Membership is an absolutely necessity to land some of Cigar City’s rarest offerings, such as Barrel-Aged Marshal Zhukov’s and Double-Barreled Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout. Next year, head to that Sears to sign up—and get there early!


de Garde Brewing (Tillamook, OR)

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The club(s): Berliner Keepers, Wild Ale Keepers

Subscription cost/time frame: $125 and $155 (per year)

How to join: Sign up on de Garde’s website

How to get beers: You or an appointed “attendee” must pick up bottles at the brewery

de Garde (the first letter intentionally not capitalized) is probably not a brewery you’ve heard of unless you’re a person who spends more hours per day reading about beer than actually drinking it. But in its first year, de Garde has built one of the most ambitious sour beer programs in the entire world right now, leaving beer geeks scrambling to acquire its humbly-labeled bottles. The easiest way to get them is through a subscription for two barrel-aged beers per quarter through two different Keepers clubs—one focused on wild ales, the other on Berliner weisses.


The Rare Barrel (Berkeley, CA)

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The Club(s): Founders Club

Subscription cost/time frame: $300 (per year)

How to join: Sign up to be notified of 2015 membership on the brewery’s website

How to get beers: Shipped to California residents only; out-of-staters can appoint a trustee to pick up their bottles

Opened in 2013, The Rare Barrel has one of the most ambitious sour beer programs in the entire world right now (is there an echo in here?). Their Founders Club is both helping the young brewery grow while spreading their remarkable beers out into the world. Membership comes with ten 750 mL bottles their brewers have specially created (“Blender’s Choice”) for the club as well a nifty ceramic growler that can be used for discounted fills in their tasting room.

Upland Brewing Co. (Bloomington, IN)

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The club(s): Secret Barrel Society

Subscription cost/time frame: $250 (per year) plus beer costs

How to join: Sign up for 2015 membership on the brewery’s website

How to get beers: Pick up bottles at brewery

Oh look, another hot brewery offering barrel-aged sours to members of its exclusive club. The one crucial difference here is that your $250 membership only gives you the “right” to purchase eight beers scheduled to be released during the year. You can think of your $250 as helping to grow the Indiana brewery’s burgeoning sour program…or as a very pricey way to acquire some branded glassware, tickets to the brewery’s Sour Wild and Funk Fest, and a one “suitable for framing” Secret Barrel Society Certificate. Or you can just bitch on message boards and drink something else which is what you’ll probably do.


Begyle Brewing (Chicago, IL)

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The club(s): Community Supported Brewery Program

Subscription cost/time frame: $77 (6 months) or $135 (per year)

How to join: Join the waiting list online

How to get beers: Pick up bottles at brewery

Begyle raised some $18,000 from a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012 and, with inspiration from the agricultural community, the brewery has jumpstarted further growth with a CSB program (currently maxed out at 250 members). Those lucky few get the option of two 64-ounce growlers or one sixtel (small keg) of beer each month. Members also receive discounts on other beers and merchandise, invites to CSB member-only events, and the ability to act all sanctimonious toward people who aren’t doing their own part to support the community.

Big Alice Brewing (Long Island City, NY)

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The club(s): Community Supported Brewery Program

Subscription cost/time frame: $200 (per 6 month “season”)

How to join: Sign up at the brewery

How to get beers: Pick up bottles at brewery

For my money, Big Alice is producing some of the most fascinating things in beer right now. Unfortunately, you’re only able to actually try these things if you’re a member of its CSB—the beers never appear on tap or in stores, even locally. This seriously “nano” nano-brewery may have just expanded to a five-barrel brewing system, but it’s still only able to release a few dozen bottles of beer per batch. The subscription is a necessity if you want to try completely unique one-offs such as Porcini Mushroom Stout and Sweet Potato Farmhouse Ale.


Transmitter Brewing (Long Island City, NY)

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The club(s): Community Supported Brewery Program

Subscription cost/time frame: $175 (6 months)

How to join: Sign up on Transmitter’s website

How to get beers: Pick up bottles at brewery

Transmitter is yet another new-ish Long Island City nano-brewery offering intriguing ales and a CSB subscription model. In this case, the ales being produced are predominantly of the farmhouse variety—many of which are barrel-aged and bottle-conditioned, and all of which are released to fans at a rate of two 750 mL bottles per month. Program members also receive glassware, a T-shirt, and 10% off additional beer at all times, any time.

Schramm’s Meadery  (Ferndale, MI)

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The club(s): Mazer Club

Subscription cost/time frame: $75 (per year), $500 (lifetime)

How to join: Sign up on Schramm’s website

How to get beers meads: Pick up bottles at meadery

One can not live on beer alone—so I’ve been told—and luckily there’s a man in Michigan making mead as delicious as any adult beverage on planet earth. His name is Ken Schramm and his meadery, Schramm’s Mead, offers some incredibly rare and undeniably delicious honey wines. Heart of Darkness, one of the finest beverages I’ve ever had the pleasure of bringing to my lips, uses such expensive honey and high-end cherries that Ken is only able to produce a few hundred bottles per year. The first people to get some? You guessed it—members of the Mazer Club.

Aaron Goldfarb (@aarongoldfarb) is the author of How to Fail: The Self-Hurt Guide and Drunk Drinking.