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American Trappist Beer in MA

Discussion in 'Beer News' started by dawatts, May 21, 2012.

  1. Not sure if it's true but I heard the rest of the Trappist breweries didn't want them putting put a product cheaper than theirs so they basically told them what they had to sell it for.
  2. I won't buy it, but that won't stop the discussion about the beer. Pricing is a valid topic, as is taste and availability. If you don't like how the discussion evolved, you don't need to click on the thread. You can be the one who sits back and enjoys paying $19 a 4 pack for a pedestrian belgian blonde. I won't begrudge you.
    ChrisMyhre likes this.
  3. You realize that other trappist breweries sell their beer for more than 50% less than Spencer in their respective countries, right?
    We pay higher prices in this country for European Trappist beers because they have to be imported. If other Trappist breweries told them what price to sell at, they would be guilty of collusion, which includes setting prices.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  4. willbm3

    willbm3 Savant (380) Massachusetts Feb 19, 2010

    How is price not a valid topic for discussion? If a Honda Accord cost $75,000 would the price not be an acceptable topic to discuss?
    ChrisMyhre, Sesmu and nolanz14 like this.
  5. I do realize that and like I said it's just what I heard and there is the article pretty much saying how apprehensive the European brewers were about Spencer "damaging the brand" so they had to pretty much agree to help them out and develop the recipe so it's possible they told them to price it high like theirs are here too.
  6. "Damaging the brand" had everything to do with quality, not price.
  7. I am very pleased that the subject of price has taken over this thread. The first four pages of this thread are a well-deserved love fest. People were ready to love this beer. Now I'm left to hope that the Spencer Monks will get a second chance to make a first impression.
  8. I know, that's what I said and in addition I mentioned it's possible they also influenced the price. I don't know what's so hard to follow about that...
  9. Funny to come across this thread after having just gotten into a conversation with a friend about this. He asked what I thought of it and my response was that I would probably be more likely to drink it more regularly if it wasn't so overpriced.
  10. Sesmu

    Sesmu Savant (300) Massachusetts Feb 28, 2007

    I hate when people turn to bitching about other people bitching about money. Don't like it - don't comment!
  11. LarryV

    LarryV Savant (340) Massachusetts Jun 13, 2001

    I've had four 4 packs of this beer and I really like it alot. Due to the price however I probably won't be buying it much anymore. I think it would be more realistic to price it in the $10-12 range since there is no shipping cost from Belgium. Now I don't know if there's any truth to this, but a friend of mine said that they bottle the beer and ship it to the distributor in Maryland and they in turn ship it back to distribute it. That sounds a bit fishy to me, she said someone from Austin Liquors in Worcester sent her that information in an email.
  12. scotorum

    scotorum Savant (400) Massachusetts May 28, 2013

    I initially read that only one store within a half hour of me would have this beer. But it's all over the place. Going into the third week of its release, every store with a good beer selection in my area has lots of it. So I'm wondering how successful their marketing has been in the $18-20/4 pack range. I don't think that is particularly exorbitant for the first American-made Trappist, and considering its quality, and the fact that just last month BCS was going for more than that and it all flew out the door in no time (last week I did see one store that had two bottles of BCS left, offered at $9 each! They also had Backwoods Bastard singles for "only" $6 each, and Sucks sixpacks for $16). But the market for Belgian style is not as broad as for beers like BCS in the BA top ten. I'm guessing the price of Spencer may be dropping soon even for the remaining stock of first issues, and that when a new batch is released it will be a few bucks less than it is now. Maybe not $10-12/4, but under $15. As others have noted above, a Spencer spokesperson has already confirmed their intention to bring the price down after initial start-up costs have been at least partly covered. In the meantime, if you like Belgian style golden ales, live in or near Massachusetts and haven't had it yet, try to get some - it's a winner!
    LakesideBrewing likes this.
  13. Joe_from_NH

    Joe_from_NH Initiate (10) Feb 16, 2014

    I'm honestly disappointed by all the discussion about high price. I asked at a local liquor store if they had any. The woman said, "Oh yes, but it's very expensive." I swallowed hard and asked, "How expensive ?" She said, "$16.75 for a four-pack." I laughed and said, "That's cheap. I'm use to $10, $12 and $14 per bottle for Trappist imports."

    And honestly, this ale deserves high marks. Immediately, repeat, immediately, this ale sets itself apart from the routine, and even from many of the popular craft beers. You can clearly taste the quality and refinement of the underlying ingredients.

    I will say that the first couple of Spencer Trappist Ales were confusing. There are a lot of different flavors in this ale. It was several days later when I was half way through my third bottle that the "light bulb went on." I get it. I understand what they are trying to do. I'm now a fan.

    This is undoubtedly the finest domestic product to grace the shelves of Massachusetts anytime in my 40+ years of sampling beer both foreign and domestic. This isn't quite up to the standards of Notre-Dame de Scourmont Abbey or the Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvletern, but it undoubtedly the finest quality ale to grace these shores in a long time.
    JrGtr and VictorWisc like this.
  14. I agree with most of what you said, although not quite 40+-year enthusiastic. But I particularly agree with what's quoted above. When talking to a couple of people, including a store beer manager who had not tried it, I described it as having characteristics of multiple styles. It clearly shows its Belgian origin and very clean ingredients. They are not hiding anything or muddying up the flavors. Not to rehash the whole thread, but it's a bit pricy but not by much. If the price goes down so much the better. Certainly a premium product (which means that Duvel people might have had a hand in price collusion ;)).
  15. Imports. You paid those prices for imports.
  16. kleo

    kleo Aficionado (210) Massachusetts Apr 27, 2009

    I was in one of the larger local liquor stores. The main aisle was blocked. Upon closer inspection, it was because a man was standing back by the cart looking embarassed while a woman got the perfect angle on an empty expanse of shelf. Looking in their cart, the only thing I saw was a Spencer Trappist 4 pack.
    Ten minutes later, a guy in a shirt and tie walked over and looked to be absolutely terrified by the sheer number of beers. He asked the beer guy if there was any Spencer Trappist left. He was visibly saddened to hear that a shipment came in (I think the given day was Monday) and almost instantly left. I told him the location of a package store that had two cases the day before. He said "aw nah. I wanted some for a party tonight. Not going to go crazy." The storein question was maybe 15-20 away.
    My sister likes mixed drinks, michelob ultra, and fruit beers. Generally speaking, her spending habits make me look like I'm showing off. However, she's buying at least half the pack off me. It's exciting that there's a local trappist brewery. They do good work. It's a great talking point even though I am usually the only person who even remotely speaks craft beer at any party she throws.
    Personally, I am not upset or angry in the least. This is getting some macro-only types to go on a "whale hunt" for a craft beer. It's purportedly decent. Maybe some will come on over to our side and grow the scene. Perhaps a few d-bags will be repelled. Whatever. It's at least adorable to watch if not good for the scene in the long run.
  17. When buying an IPA, did you ever think to yourself, "I bought Bass IPA for less! I paid less for import!"?
  18. Bass is produced in New York. I don't define shipping from New York to Massachusetts as "importing". There are other "imports" though that I am sure you can use, but lets compare oranges to oranges though.

    "trappist" beer in Belgium is about 1.50 - 2 dollars american per bottle.
    We certainly don't pay those prices here for those European beers.

    We finally have a trappist beer brewed literally miles from you and I. We pay nowhere near 2 dollars a bottle.
  19. HookerBrews

    HookerBrews Savant (305) Oregon Sep 24, 2013

    On a different topic, do they allow visitors at the brewery?
  20. No. I don't believe so.
  21. Sesmu

    Sesmu Savant (300) Massachusetts Feb 28, 2007

    It's nice to know that there are beer advocates among us for whom money is not an issue.
  22. Not according to this guy or this poster from page 3, both of whom sound like they are very familiar with the Abbey.
  23. That's PA. I see the IPA so infrequently that I'm not even sure if it's still imported. But what I meant was completely different. Bass was cheaper than all top US craft IPAs even when it was imported. But I don't hear anyone whining about domestic IPAs being more expensive than imports.

    I was buying 4-pk of Kasteel for 2 euro and Grimbergen and LaTrappe 6-pk for 4-5 euro (6-7 for the quad) when I was in Groningen. But that's about half the price of Budweiser there and a case of domestic lagers in the Netherlands goes for 7-8 (although I've bought them for as little as 4).

    Let's talk about reality here. We're paying more not because of imports but because we are willing to pay for beer. Anyone who willingly pays more than $1 for a mediocre lager (American or otherwise), really does not have the right to whine about a $4 bottle of real Trappist ale. Get over it. Either buy it or don't but stop the unnecessary complaining about overpricing. I paid $5 less for Spencer than I did for BCBS. In both cases, I believe I got my money's worth.
  24. Not specifically germane to the topic of this thread (and I agree with your overall point on pricing of import vs. small domestic brewers' beer) but the Bass India Pale Ale is/was brewed and specifically marketed in the US and, IIRC from threads at the time of its release, the product did not exist in the UK.


    All the bitching on the price of this new Trappist brewery's beer in the US makes me feel sorry for the poor little Girl Scouts - like these monks also raising funds to do good - who try to sell their expensive (compared to store brand) cookies to some of these guys....;)
    Loganyoung, VictorWisc and ufmj like this.
  25. Every post I make on this site is 100% necessary, same as everyone else.
  26. I'd say this product is more like that god awful popcorn the Boy Scouts try to sell. I don't buy it from my own son.
    Sqratch likes this.
  27. I'm a beer buyer for a liquor store, and from what I've seen the high price point hasn't been an issue at all. We can't keep the stuff in stock. Plus, after the bottle I had, I can see why. I was getting pear, ripe apple, typical belgian esters and a nice prickly carbonation to match. Now that Spencer's thrown down the gauntlet (or, since they're monks, offered you a gauntlet with a complimentary jar of jam and thanked you for visiting), I'm looking forward to more American breweries tackling the Belgian pale ale style.
    VictorWisc likes this.
  28. Good for your store. I'm seeing cases of the stuff rotting at quite a few beer shops around me.
    SunDevilBeer likes this.
  29. That's a bummer. The best thing about the stuff was how fresh it tasted.
  30. What would it taste like if one were to drink it 2 months after bottling? Would there be that much of a difference to 99% of the public who would drink it?
  31. Two months? Doubt anyone would notice, but Rek said "rotting", which implies it won't be going anywhere for a long time.
  32. Aaron58

    Aaron58 Savant (270) Massachusetts Dec 16, 2007

    Name the stores, Ill have my distributor go pick it up and bring it to us! Ive been out for 3 weeks and cant get it. I have 5 requests a day.
    JrGtr, VictorWisc, Rekrule and 2 others like this.
  33. I bought heavier than I probably should have on this one as well. I've moved through only about 15% of what I ordered on the first go 'round with most people telling me they were one and done.
    SunDevilBeer and Rekrule like this.
  34. That's why I was going to use a word other than complaining, but thought I should stay civil.
    geocool likes this.
  35. JrGtr

    JrGtr Savant (365) Massachusetts Apr 13, 2006

    Rotting seems to be a bit harsh considering it's been released for barely a month at this point.
  36. Burlington Wine & Spirits
    BUSA Burlington
    Oakdale (Tewksbury)
    Rapid (Stoneham)

    Just a few - but all have sad, languishing displays of this beer.
    Rekrule likes this.
  37. How about "languishing"?
    Rekrule likes this.
  38. A beer that is going to be best fresh is always rotting when it's sitting in a warm room on the floor. To add to the sundevil post georgios and lincoln also had a few cases a piece sitting untouched. Georgio's even moved the display so people would see it when the enter the store. Not a good sign.
  39. willbm3

    willbm3 Savant (380) Massachusetts Feb 19, 2010

    I got a single last week and enjoyed it quite a bit. Not $4-$5 a bottle good, but good nonetheless. Still, I'll buy a 4 pack of La Fin Du Monde for $11 over this 100 times out of 100.
    JackHorzempa and geocool like this.

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