We may live in a time of drones and sort-of self-driving cars but when it comes to beer at the click of a button, the reality is much harder. But there is a new company that debuted service earlier this month that will deliver craft beer from the brewery to your door.
Craft Chaser is in the proof of concept phase and is currently limited to a wedge of Los Angeles from Playa Del Rey in the south to Santa Monica in the north. Currently, four breweries are partnered with the service, all within minutes of each other in Torrance: Yorkshire Square Brewery, Scholb Premium Ales, Absolution Brewing and Cosmic Brewing. Pick your beer, place your order, and you will be prompted to choose a delivery time from three daily windows. Order before 11 a.m. and you could get same day delivery.
Jalynd Gallardo, part of the three-person team that launched Craft Chaser, was looking to fill a niche that was between the Amazon and Instacarts on one side and craft beer specific services on the other. The former doesn’t have a strong stable of craft beer choices while the latter focuses primarily on packaged beer that may or may not have sat on shelves for an unknown amount of time.
Food delivery has taken off in recent years as has grocery delivery, but will independent beer fit into the same logistical mold of delivery like those examples? Other services have entered the market but haven’t really lifted off. One reason may be that beer is something that we WANT to drive to buy. As opposed to the chore nature of buying beets or driving to get hot chicken and bringing it home before the wings get cold. On yet another hand, maybe the sheer traffic-ness of Los Angeles will push consumers to use a service for those big events like Thanksgiving or New Year’s or the Super Bowl.
Craft beer fans from newly converted to will stand in long hazy IPA line types will desire a greater choice though with an emphasis on hard-to-get and rarity. Having a pipeline to beer straight from brewery taps is a major differentiator, but until the brewery list and delivery radius expands and the SKUs with it, this business will by design be a smaller player. Maybe the Craft Chaser model is the way forward or the first step down that road. A web of providers providing a delivery infrastructure that can get me a fresh winter seasonal whether I live in Glendale or Ocean Park.
We may not have the jetpacks that were promised years ago, but you can get beer with a few keyboard clicks and the future may hold even more options.
This time of year, there are two iconic winter seasonals that I have to have to help me get into the holiday spirit since it refuses to snow in Los Angeles. First is the 40+ year tradition of the Anchor Christmas Ale, AKA Our Special Ale. Each year brings a new tree onto the label but the beer is pure comfort. A lightly spiced malty gem that the brewery describes as “flavors of “brûléed sugars, holiday spices and freshly baked banana bread.” On their website you can even chart the different labels through the years.
The other beer is the Fresh Hop seasonal from Sierra Nevada, Celebration. A garnet hued hit of hops that allows malt to add a second layer to the beer. The IPA has a duo of citrus and pine aromas and is all about the “C” hops, Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops.
Speaking of Sierra Nevada, they were in the thick of the Camp Fire and have started a fund to help those affected by the fire AND they have brewed an IPA, Resilience IPA on Giving Tuesday, November 27. AND they have asked other breweries to brew their take on Resilience on that day and donate 100% of the sales to Camp Fire relief. Remember that date and then remember to look for these charitable beers in January in bottles and on tap. If you want to help closer to home, pick a day and please head up to Ladyface Ale Companie in Agoura Hills and get a beer or two, they too have been deeply affected by fire.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.