Buying Beer Online: Flavourly

Beer Review

The growing trendiness of craft beer continues to bring more and more beer retailers online. There’s an interesting range of models at play, from the traditional online shop where you can pick and choose from the beers in their warehouse, through portals which pass your order directly to the breweries to fulfill, and on to subscription services.

Flavourly is something of a hybrid; primarily a subscription service, they will also happily sell you beers ‘ad-hoc’ – a very smart move that encourages you back to their site if your subscription introduces you to a beer that you simply have to have more of.

As with every other subscription beer service on the planet, they offer an “expertly curated” experience, from “small batch” breweries and a generous pile of personalised tasting notes, snacks and bottle openers.

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So far, so typical.

Their USP (or at least, not one that I’ve seen anyone else doing) is that they offer a personalised experience. This addresses one of my problems with subscriptions; while I love the idea of getting sent unfamiliar beer to discover, I also worry that I’ll end up with a box full of beer that I don’t like.

The initial order process allows you to make a simple choice between three options – a light, dark or mixed box – and after that, you’re invited to rate the beers you have received which allows Flavourly to tailor your selection more and more.

That all makes a lot of sense, although I do find myself wishing that there was more control at the outset. They do provide a “Beer Style Test” to help you select your initial box, but it’s a series of 7 questions that nearly always result in the answer “get the mixed box”. Indeed, having spent some time trying different combinations, I’ve never managed to get it to suggest I try the light box!

It would be nice if I could say outright “never send me a sour beer” (don’t get me started on selling ‘off’ beer by claiming it’s a feature…) rather than having to wait for one to arrive so that I can rate it low.

Still, it certainly represents an improvement over the normal subscription model and at £24 for a box of eight beers it’s decent value for money. The added option of going and buying more of a beer that’s caught your eye is welcome, and I also like the flexibility to have your box arriving every 2 or 3 months instead of monthly if you struggle to keep up.

Many thanks to Flavourly for sending a sample box to PeteDrinks.

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