CraftX says it can get you beers you'd ordinarily need to drive hundreds or maybe even thousands of miles for.
One of the craft beer world’s biggest problems is actually a good problem to have: America has too many amazing beers to try and many of them are nearly impossible to get your hands on. I’m not even talking about vaunted brews like the Alchemist’s Heady Topper or Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout that any dedicated craft beer fan has managed to try one way or another. I’m speaking of the thousands of small local breweries that don’t distribute beyond a small regional area or maybe don’t package at all. Add to this issue that many brews are seasonal or limited-releases and tons of beers are only available in a very specific place at a very specific time.
CraftX, a new craft beer membership service, is hoping to do its small part to address this beer geek annoyance. Each monthly delivery is touted as featuring beers “only available in the brewery’s tasting rooms and local restaurants [that] have never been packaged for release” canned and sent right to your door (assuming you live in one of the 38 states and Washington DC where the service will be available at launch). For $60, the package includes twelve 16-ounce cans of beer evenly divided between two different styles from two different breweries (though the brand also says subscribers can customize their split a bit if they have certain stylistic preferences).
Though the opportunity to get your hands on rare beers is clearly the service’s biggest selling point, CraftX offers other features to lure in beer drinkers of all types. For novice beer fans, the company promises to provide educational material on the beers include. For more dedicated beer lovers, CraftX says its website will offer “podcasts and vignettes from the brewery partners highlighting their businesses.” Meanwhile, the service is even built with the hardcore beer trading community in mind (people who ship beers to each other from different parts of the country) with CraftX boasting that its delivery box was designed so that it “can be shipped up to four times.”
Like any blind subscription service, CraftX could have potential pitfalls. Despite saying that the company works with “artisan breweries from coast-to-coast,” the three brewers announced at launch – Four Sons Brewing, Latitude 33 and Indie Brewing – are all based near CraftX’s Los Angeles home. The service claims it “oversees the canning of each batch it secures, ensuring the beer is freshly canned no more than a few days before it’s shipped out,” which is probably the best approach, but also sounds like a bit of a logistical nightmare for a small startup promising to offer beers brewed nationwide. And this doesn’t even touch on the beer itself. As any craft drinker can tell you, not all small batch brews are created equal to say the least.
Still, CraftX is a cool idea at its core. And if it truly delivers on all of its promises, $5 per pint for hard to find beers actually sounds like an amazing offer. Signups officially launch on May 22 and the first 500 subscribers will get a $10 discount as well as free shipping. At the very least, CraftX seems worth keeping an eye on.