After once again being shut out of another bottle release, I find myself in limbo about my feelings towards the community that I have begun to love. Since giving into my passion of drinking great beer over 3 years ago, I have spent most of my free time learning understanding and analyzing the craft beer industry. As a former sneaker head throughout my 20’s, I’ve noticed similarities between the two. And it all stems from one word, “HYPE”.
Check out these tips to survive a bottle release
As many do, I began my Instagram account while drinking on my couch. Staring at cool pics that other people were posting about the beers that they had tried and enjoyed. Since creating my account, I realized that many of the beers I see, I would never have the opportunity to enjoy. I found that certain beers were being produced outside the country in small breweries that don’t ship to the U.S. or the beer came from the Midwest or East Coast from breweries that don’t have the structure put in place to sell their beers in mass distribution. These reasons I completely understand and in certain situations it’s given me destination ideas for future locations that I would like to visit.
Unfortunately, I also learned that some beers would never be available to me because they were being produced in small batches for a limited one-time only sale. I found this out when I decided to go The Lost Abbey (a wonderful brewery in San Marcos, CA that specializes in barrel aging), and was denied a special release because beers were being pre-sold on the internet with an earlier pre-sale date. Since that moment of being denied I have been chasing special releases of both bottle age beers and IPA’s. Some releases I have been able to get. Some came at bad timing and I couldn’t afford them. And some I just wasn’t fast enough getting to the computer.
Those times in which I was late has always frustrated me and it is the main reason for my ranting at 9 a.m. on a Monday morning. When I was collecting sneakers, Jordans started to release retros of the most popular shoes from the past. They would release at 8 a.m. east coast time on Saturdays and if you were a minute late then you are shut out. Only to find them immediately on EBay for at least a 50% markup. Of course, the people doing this had no intention of ever keeping the product for themselves. Instead making those that had the money and strong desire to purchase the shoes pay the outrageous bounty. Thus creating “HYPE” for those particular shoes and the ones that would come in the future. Jordans knew what they were doing back then, and has used this sales tactic for many years. Producing very limited amounts, which guarantees the product would sell out gives reason for the increase in price. Forcing collectors to grab the shoes regardless of their opinion of the product. Many times the consumer would purchase the shoes just because of the perceived value.
Now years later I find myself feeling like its Ground Hogs Day all over again. I see the same happening with special release beers. I find myself getting extremely happy that I got them or extremely pissed when I don’t. I know the argument that the breweries have limited space so they can only produce so much. But why then release something new on a monthly basis that only a few can enjoy and instead make it bi-monthly so you can produce more on each release? The answer of course, MONEY. The breweries doing this know that by making small batches they will have the ability to get top dollar for their beer. And whether or not a customer can get a bottle or 4 pack is none of the the brewery’s concern. I have seen here in San Diego, Modern Times Brewery has raised their production amount to cater to the people. I respect and love that. For those who got shut out of Underworld Dreams, should have been able to get Blam Blam. They produced more and didn’t immediately sell out. This is a practice that I wish all would follow but unfortunately do not.
Maybe I’m just bitter because I took the “L” with yesterday’s release from Bottle Logic. Yet, no-one can tell me that I’m not seeing a trend with many of these beer releases. Selling out the super limited supply forces the consumers to pay top dollar for beer that may in many cases just be “EXPERIMENTAL”. I will admit that I stocked up and payed the outrageous price for Bourbon County last month. So I’m not ever going to deny that I am part of the problem. But in my world of hypocrisy, I love the beer so I’ll give them my money. But isn’t breweries putting the money first and the people second the main reason why we get angry at craft breweries for selling out to larger corporations? I will spend my hard earned dollar at local establishments but I expect to be respected as a patron. I’m starting to feel the vibes at certain breweries are changing to the “have’ and “have nots” and it’s started to break my spirit. I want to venture out. Try new beers. Support small breweries, and keep my money local. But I want to feel that the breweries aren’t laughing at me while I’m there drinking their beer. Instead understand that we are all in this together. I love to see small business grow and flourish. Just not at my expense.