Why You Should Never Gift a Beer-of-the-Month Club

Beer is a great gift to give, but not through monthly club. Credit: George Marks / Getty Images

We can all agree that, in most cases, more beer is better than less beer. Naturally, this makes it the perfect present for lovers of ales and lagers, but there's one big caveat when giving a sudsy gift: Beer-of-the-month clubs are a terrible idea. They espouse good intentions, and in theory offer an enviable variety of beer you might not otherwise get your hands on, but the reality is quite different (here are our gift suggestions). Here's the honest rundown.

They're too expensive.
Even if you break down the price of some of the most expensive packaged beer available in the market right now, cost-per-ounce on most beer clubs is outrageous. A quick perusal of the larger beer club websites reveals a rough average of three bucks a bottle, which is noticeably more than you would be paying for a fresh six-pack at your neighborhood shop.

The beer may not be fresh.
Instead of sending out fresh, interesting brews, some clubs simply buy up extra cases that wholesalers don't feel like (or simply can't) sell. You could potentially be purchasing out-of-season beer that wouldn't make the freshness cut at your typical beer store.

They take the social aspect out of beer.
One of the best parts of the modern American beer scene is the conversation that happens as a result of it. Not sure about what you should pick up at the store? Ask a friend what they've been drinking lately. Folks who love great beer also appreciate the human interaction that comes along with it, and beer clubs take away the proactive and enjoyable learning opportunity that comes with discovering a new favorite brewery or style.

They're no longer necessary.
The popularity and ubiquity of craft beer has hit inspiring new levels. Your local grocery store, once a barren landscape of 24-packs filled with uninspiring yellow lager, now contains at least a handful of phenomenal beers by the sixer. Craft specialty stores, craft-focused bars, and most importantly, our local breweries, have all slowly filled into the geographic voids surrounding our homes and neighborhoods, and we're quickly becoming spoiled for choice. A decade ago, beer clubs could deliver seemingly exotic ales to underserved lovers of great beer. Today there are, on average, more than 80 breweries in every state serving up fresh pints.