Online Beer Order: Ales by Mail
Fellow beer blogger stovt has been trying to put together a comprehensive list of online beer sellers in Europe. We decided to pick a few and place an order and do some short reviews of the services. Ales by Mail has been selling beer online since 2009. They have a wide selection of beers from the UK and beyond. They offer pre-mixed cases of beer, either with a theme or for the gamblers a roll the dice box of total random. They also offer what is to me the more interesting for beer geeks service of doing a "Pick n Mix" beer box. Pretty simple you go in and sort by an insanely long list of options, including brewery, style, ABV, and even gluten content. Then choose up to 24 beers for your custom case.
So lets look at a few of those things everyone likes to hear about when choosing to use a business or not.
A pretty amazing selection of UK craft brewers with just a handful of other big name internationals. The real emphasis though is on British and Scottish breweries, and man do they have a lot. Dozens of different breweries with a selection ranging between two or three different beers all the way up to what seems like a breweries entire range (brewdog). I personally went after beers from The Kernel, Beavertown, and Siren.
While not the most user friendly website I have ever used, it's pretty good for an e-commerce store with this many products and categories. The site can get a little slow when you have a bunch of categories ticked and loaded. The real annoyance is when you are done with a brewery in order to get it to not show you have to go through a page reload. This is of course just web developer nit picking. All together it is functional.
Why talk about anything else? I am not an expert on the UK beer market, but the beers appear to be competitively priced. If like me you are on the Danish/Scandinavian beer price market, then these beers will make your wallet cheer. I felt like I was Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack. "One of those, two of those, a box of those naked lady tees" Splitting the box with another person got me twelve great craft beers and shipping for under 500 Danish Kroner.
Never had a problem so customer service really didn't get tested. That being said on their site they have an extensive FAQ section as well as both phone and email support. It's nice to know this is a big enough operation that they have phone staff available. Confirmation emails and all that type business came promptly.
This was one of the more amazing parts of the whole thing. Shipment to Denmark was £17.50, or about 160 DKK. Cheap when considering for instance a few beers from mikkeller online shop costs 80 kroner to send inside Denmark. This was 24 beers coming from England. Shipment was not only cheap but fast. Placed the order on Sunday the 6th of April, the box was on it's way Monday morning and delivered to a bleary eyed me at 07:00 on that Friday.
To sum up, I was totally satisfied with the entire experience. Cool selection of beers not readily available outside the UK, at a fair price. Especially if you are one of my readers in Scandinavia you will find the price and selection amazing. (they also ship to just about everywhere) So get your beer geek buddies together and order a big ole box of beer from jolly ole England. Tell em Rock on Beer sent you...they won't know what that means, but what can you do?