I don’t use mail order beer websites since I have two great beer shops within a short car journey, but in October I needed to bring in several particular beers for review writing. There are dozens of them out there now, with more popping up, and my main concern was obtaining very specific beers, rather than price, speed, deals or fancy website design. So, for the sake of necessity, I ordered through Beers of Europe and Ales By Mail.
Beers of Europe were perfectly adequate. Their parcel arrived the soonest (I ordered on a Thursday and it came the following Monday) while Ales by Mail arrived on the Wednesday. In spite of seemingly slower delivery, it was Ales by Mail that impressed me.
They had an easy to use online ordering set up which confirmed receipt of my order; I received either a text or a phone call from their courier service to confirm the best date for delivery (I don’t remember which, I had a lot of packages that week, but they definitely got in touch) and they included a free bottle opener with the order.
Beers of Europe didn’t do anything wrong, it’s just that Ales By Mail did everything right. When that rare occasion comes again when I need, or just want, to buy in some beers off the internet I know which one I’ll remember to go to first. That extra edge might count for a lot if the bubble bursts on all of these mail order sites or the competition gets too fierce.