Posted on April 29th, 2010
Mug clubs are programs at many beer bars and restaurants in which participants are challenged to try (over a year or so) every beer on the menu in exchange for their own custom mug and/or discounts on beer. As the craft beer movement gains momentum in America mug clubs are becoming increasingly popular. There’s lots of great reasons to join a mug club, the least of which is the cool custom mug you usually get when you finish. Here’s three reasons why you should join your local mug club.
1. It’s a great way to expand your beer palette.
If you’re like me, you love trying new beers and new styles, but you frequently fall back on old favorites and regulars. Mug clubs force you out of your beer comfort zone and make you try new and different styles you might have never considered before. You may end up discovering a new favorite beer or style because of the open mind mug clubs require you to have.
2. It’s a great way to support your local beer bar.
In order to complete a mug club you frequently need to become a regular at the establishment. Doing so will help ensure there’s a place in your area for quality beer for years to come. Trying all of the beer a place has to offer lets them know that they have a captive audience that’s willing to take risks and try new and unusual beers. Hopefully it will encourage them to be adventuresome in what they put on tab and always have the latest offerings.
3. It’s a great way to save money.
While the cost of buying every beer on a menu may seem expensive, if you spread it out over the time frame you’re given it can be fairly reasonable. Also, if the bar is some place you plan on frequenting for many years to come the discounts you get on drinks can really add up. Two of the bars here in Boston with mug club programs, Bukowski’s Tavern and Penguin Pizza both offer half-price on draft beer for mug club graduates.
Next time you’re at your favorite beer bar ask if they have a mug club or something similar (it may be known by another name.) If they don’t have one, tell them they should start one. As we’ve outlined above it’s a great idea for the beer maker, beer seller and beer drinker alike. Even if you can’t find a water hole with such a program, there’s no reason why you can’t have your own private mug clubs, especially if you do it with friends.
Besides the above mentioned Boston bars we’ve also heard that Pony Bar in New York City and Taco Mac in Atlanta have great mug club programs. What bars have mug clubs in your area? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.