I was pleased with the range of beers offered on the Sobersauce web site and I found ordering very easy.
Comms following my order was also very good, (clearly worded and regular).
Delivery was prompt although the packaging box arrived a little battered. However, not enough to impact any of the contents.
As I know very little about non / low alcohol beers I found purchasing a mixed case a good method to sample a few different options. I'll likely follow up with an order of another mixed case to help expand my knowledge before focusing in on 2 or 3 favourites.
I do appreciate that the brewing process for non / low alcohol products is more complex but it does irk me a little that prices are on average higher than if I purchased 'normal ale' from a supermarket. This is not a criticism of Sobersauce as I found their prices comparable with other online vendors.
Thanks for taking the time to do a really detailed review, even more so because it gives a great opportunity to explain this more.
Brewing a great-tasting non-alcoholic beer is really difficult, which is why so many of the big breweries have done a bad job of it and many of us have been left with the perception that it all tasted bad - because it used to. Step forward craft breweries - both specialists in alcohol-free and those that do full strength too. Their extra care and time to get it right is why it now tastes great, but that's pretty much only the case for craft breweries. If you compare like for like, you'll see that alcohol-free IS cheaper. Try comparing alcohol-free variants with the full-strength equivalents on Thornbridge, Ilkley, Northern Monk, Beavertown etc's websites. The AF versions are all cheaper, despite being smaller batches If you look at craft beer sellers such as Honest Brew you'll see they have beers at £9 whereas our highest is a little over £3. If, however, you compare a craft non-alcoholic beer against a mass produced variant, the comparison won't look great but you are comparing craft vs mass produced.
Aside from that it will likely always be more expensive from us than the supermarket for a single bottle. Even in Dry Jan, Tesco and Sainsburys have 14 available online compared to our 80. It is much less normally. So with us you pay for the extra cost of going to Holland and finding their best rated alcohol free beer (Merry Go Round, by the way) and instead of having a narrow range of largely mass produced beer which you pile high and sell cheap. Plus, when you think about a supermarkets cost they receive it by the pallet and then put it on a shelf. We do the same in our warehouse.....but then have to get it off the shelf, put it into a box, pack it securely and send it. Our P&P charge doesn't even cover the courier cost so everything else goes into the product cost.
Despite all that, you can get value. It's a lot cheaper for us to ship a full case of a beer and we pass that on. For example, if you buy a case of Lucky Saint on subscription with us it is cheaper per bottle (£1.82) than the supermarket prices (ex delivery), so it really depends what you are buying. Of course, this is all before you factor in the cost of pouring a few down the sink as I had to when sampling the supermarket offer!
Finally, it's worth saying that even if when there is a small premium for shopping with a small business like ours, I can promise you we don't make as much profit as the supermarkets! That cost goes into sourcing really amazing beers, plus paying more to suppliers, staff, couriers etc, and doing so on time / early.
I'm really proud of our pricing and if you look at it on a like-for-like basis I think you'll find it is really competitive and offers great value. I hope this helps explain things a little more.