Editorial note: This post was paid for, and the money I spent buying the beer featured in the post was reimbursed by Business in Blue Jeans — a digital marketing firm working with DoorDash as they rollout beer delivery throughout Southern California. Further editorial commentary is at the bottom of the post.
The craft beer landscape in Los Angeles had changed a lot in the four-plus years since I launched Beer or Tomorrow. It’s been wonderful to see LA’s early craft breweries grow and improve, and to see more craft-focused venues open alongside all the exciting new breweries. But it isn’t just the beer culture that’s changed in Los Angeles — the city itself has changed. Technology — especially the ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft have shrunk Los Angeles. I have asked many of LA’s craft beer insiders why the development of a craft beer scene in Los Angeles lagged behind the rest of Southern California, and nearly everyone had mentioned the sheer size of LA as an impediment to craft culture taking hold. It used to be really hard to get out to the few craft destinations spread around the region, and if you’re smart enough to avoid driving yourself you had only a few options. You could constrain your craft drinking to your neighborhood (but then you’d miss out on the exciting stuff happening in the other corners of LA), you could take public transportation, or you could call a cab. Uber changed the way we drink in Los Angeles. Affordable ridesharing connects the islands of craft beer communities and opens so many new possibilities for beer lovers to experience the growing scene. But sometimes, you just want to crack open a few bottles from the comfort of your couch. A new generation of app-powered services are bringing beer culture right to your door.
It Delivery beer options have existed through services like Pink Dot and Yummy, but they were far from craft-focused, and it was impossible to ensure that you were getting fresh beer from these services. You can’t check the date codes on a six pack you’re ordering off the internet. DoorDash does things a little differently. They work primarily with restaurants to deliver food, but they’ve now added alcohol delivery to their service — including six packs from local retailers, bottles off of the partner restaurant’s lists, and growlers from local breweries.
I was approached to run this sponsored post back at the end of June, and while I accepted the offer (they paid a flat fee for the post, and covered the cost of the beer I ordered to test out the service), I wasn’t able to actually make an order with the service until recently (and only after they made a special exception for my order – more on that in a moment). The main problem was, there just were not many good options for beer delivery in Hollywood. There were a couple of bodegas in range, and a pair of wine shops, but the selection of craft beer were not compelling. I could have ordered six packs of Fat Tire, Lagunitas IPA, or Stone IPA, but that was about it for craft beer options. A few restaurants in my area (such as Stout Burgers) added beer to their delivery options, but I had a hard time paying on-premise beer prices for beer I’d be drinking at home. In a pinch it would be a workable options though.
Some of my beer blogger friends had better luck, and when I saw that OC Beer Blog was able to order growlers from Bootleggers I was pretty jealous. The PR firm handling the DoorDash campaign helped me out and was able to expand the coverage area and get me some beer from Golden Road Brewing, and though I’d rather not be buying beer from the now ABI-owned brewery, I decided that I could stomach it as I wouldn’t be directly paying for the beer (well, I’d at least be reimbursed by DoorDash for the order). I also decided that it would be a good way to check-in on the GRB beers about a year after the buyout and make some judgements on if and how the beer has changed under the new ownership. See the editorial note at the end of this post for more.
So, with $50 in beer credit and a window to get a delivery from GRB to Hollywood, I sat down to the doordash website to make my order (the special delivery option they set me up with meant I couldn’t use the app, though I spent lots of time exploring the Android version of the app during the months I tried to get the post off the ground and I found it well designed and easy to use). I ordered up a 2-liter growler of Wolf Pup session IPA, a crowler of Ride-On IPA, and a six pack of 329 Lager, and after fees and a tip for the drive, my total hit $57. The six pack was a few cents over $11, while the fills were $10.63 for the crowler ($9 for the fill and a $1.62 charge for the crowler can) and $23.72 for the 2L growler (the service charges about $9 for the glass). I ordered on Thursday evening, and even with terrible traffic between Hollywood and the brewery, the beer landed at my doorstep in just over an hour at 7:36 p.m.. Everything was cold and ready-to-drink when I signed for it, and the cans of 329 were only a few weeks old. One small issue with the delivery was that the crowler of IPA that I’d ordered actually came as a 1L “growlito” instead of the disposable crowler. I was only charged the crowler cost and not the higher amount for the glass growler, so no harm, no foul in my case.
The experience was a great taste of what brewery-fresh delivery could be. Obviously, I’d rather be able to get fresh Eagle Rock Brewery, Mumford, or Three Weavers craft brews delivered to my door, and having to deal with more growlers (and paying the cost for new glass with each delivery) isn’t ideal, but in the early days of Uber you had to pay for a black livery vehicle, and the wait times and coverage were not great. That service developed quickly, and I hope that brewery deliveries can too. With a growler-exchange program, a wider adoption of the crowler format, and/or a model closer to UberEats (where the options are limited to reduce time and cost) could really change the way we buy craft beer in L.A. Until then, I’d recommend DoorDash beer delivery as an option — especially if you’re within the coverage area of a local craft brewery offering growlers.
If you’d like to try the service for yourself, you can use promo code BEEROFTOM, good for $7 off orders of $20 or more. Have you used DoorDash or another beer delivery service? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.
Full disclosure: I was paid by a marketing firm representing DoorDash for this post, and i was reimbursed for $50 of the $56 order I placed. This is the first sponsored content to be featured on Beer or Tomorrow, and while it (hopefully) won’t be the last, sponsored content on this site will be rare. I just need some help covering the hosting and maintenance costs for the site that I’ve run 100% out-of-pocket for nearly five years.
Now, the topic of this post was primarily the DoorDash service, but I understand that it looks like Golden Road could have paid for it. I was very sensitive to this, and I nearly pulled the plug on this post simply because I was uncomfortable highlighting GRB product in a sponsored post. Golden Road was the closest brewery to Hollywood that works with DoorDash, and I decided that I could live with any perception of impropriety. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been accused of shilling for GRB. There will be some additional editorial content on Beer of Tomorrow addressing Golden Road and it’s place in the LA market in the near future. If you think Golden Road is the enemy to craft beer in Los Angeles, I’m not arguing with you here. If your reaction upon seeing me buy, drink, and ostensibly promote Golden Road is to get angry or to think me compromised as a craft beer consumer please let me know in the comments or via email at email@example.com. It’s a ridiculous allegation that I’d like to confront head-on.
Founder Beer of Tomorrow