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Beer purchase limits at the beer store

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by rvajohn, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. rvajohn

    rvajohn Aficionado (245) Virginia Nov 22, 2012

    I'm new and not sure if this has been discussed. I can see the pros and cons. For me the pros outweigh the cons. I may not be able to get as many as I want, but I can be fairly confident I can usually get one of most beers Im looking fo, that may sell out quickly elsewhere.
  2. Momar42

    Momar42 Savant (360) Maryland Sep 19, 2010

    You have to have limits otherwise this hobby can easily get out of control. Pick and choose and talk with people whos opinion and tastes you trust.
    RobertColianni likes this.
  3. djaeon

    djaeon Advocate (725) California Oct 2, 2006

    I'm for limits on very limited beers. But I rarely buy more than one or two of any one beer at a time anyway.
    RobertColianni likes this.
  4. rvajohn

    rvajohn Aficionado (245) Virginia Nov 22, 2012

    So I assume limits are fairly common around the country for limited beers?
  5. xnicknj

    xnicknj Advocate (730) Pennsylvania May 25, 2009

    yes. otherwise the first one or two people would just come in and buy the whole case or allotment. which basically means there's no point in even looking for "shelf-wales" unless you have a friend who works for a store/distributor.
  6. Hanzo

    Hanzo Champion (955) Virginia Feb 27, 2012

    My capitalist side says put beer on the shelf and if you have the money and are there at the right time you should be able to buy whatever you want, but the beer advocate side of me wants as many people as possible to be able to enjoy whatever limited beer.

    I lean more towards the advocate side since really all I want is one bottle of any given "rare" beer to drink. When I do get extras it is usually to give to friends or share at tastings.
  7. Sometimes it gets a bit strange. My fave bottle shop is only 2 years old, so the guys there are a bit green in the business. They recently make Maine Brewing Zoe a 1 bottle limit, simply because they could only get 1 case of it from a particular shipment. Not that it was a limited brew or anything, as Zoe is a year-round brew (as far as I know).

    Also, gougers can use bottle limits to their advantage and rail up prices, justifying it with the limited availability. $26 Bold Cutter is high, but not outrageous. But fresh Bitches Brew at $35 is a flippin' sin.
  8. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poobah (1,005) Arizona Jun 18, 2002

    More pros than cons in my opinion as well. The business wins because it will sell all the beers no matter what, but arguably it satisfies more customers who will be repeat customers - and gives those customers a sense that they'll have a reasonable chance of acquiring the beer at their store. There's nothing non-capitalist about the bottle limits for these and similar reasons.
    JimDH likes this.
  9. Pecan

    Pecan Savant (410) California Dec 20, 2012

    Agreed with most, this is a good thing. With a limit, it is a little annoying to sometimes have to choose between cellaring and drinking immediately. Without, it is immensely annoying (to the point of losing a customer) to really want to get a beer and find out it was all sold to just a few people who are able to time things just right. And at a limit of 2 instead of 1, slight annoyance with a limit is substantially curbed while still allowing major benefits from the limit.
  10. Limits are good, but it still doesn't stop people from driving to every store in a 25 mile radius to acquire as many beers as they can so that they can add them to their hoard.
  11. Momar42

    Momar42 Savant (360) Maryland Sep 19, 2010

    True but they are still researching ways to rid the world of idiots and @$$holes. The quest goes on.
    LeRose likes this.
  12. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    Sounds like we're all in agreement here so far. The hoarders haven't chimed in yet, they must be out chasin trucks or somethin. ;) i've only experienced a bottle limit once, when a genorious fellow BA told me about a spot where i could get Pliny in my area. It kinda felt like a drug transaction because i walked in and it was this little shotty store that reeked of raw meat, you'd never expect the awesome craft selection all the way in the back. I asked for pliny and i was directed to their "beer guy" who had to go in the back to get my 1 allotment. All and all a pretty strange experience but i got my 1 bottle and was cool with it. I probably could have gone in the next day and got another but didn't feel the need. You gotta share the wealth.

    I agree Pecan, a 2 bottle limit would be way better depending on the amount of cases the store has.
    MileHighShooter, Pecan and mhksuccess like this.
  13. Docrock

    Docrock Savant (435) Illinois Jan 21, 2012

    Agree with most here. As long as the store remains consistent. Had an encounter at 1 store that I used to buy from, spent a good amount of money there too. Got an email they had 1 case of Cantillon in literally as I was pulling in to their lot. Ask beer clerk, and he says they are all reserved, WTF. He wasn't even the Manager who I knew pretty well. Talked to Manager next time I stopped in and told him I wouldn't be back, he apologized but he was on vacation that week.

    Don't even bother posting/emailing if they aren't actually for sale. Their other store in my area is first come first served for everything. I have no problem with limits, just like to try and or share with friends if its Special.
    JustXBeer likes this.
  14. rvajohn

    rvajohn Aficionado (245) Virginia Nov 22, 2012

    The limit / price gouge is an issue at my local beer store. They have the Bourbon County Brand Stout and I was hoping to get 4-8, but the limit is two, and they are charging $6.50 a bottle. So I'm glad I was able to get two, but with them selling as singles, they jacked up the price from what I've read on here. Seems average price is $5.50. If I wanted to get 8 and enjoy one a year for the next 8 years, they almost make it impossible. Also, they get the Hardywood GBS, but keep it behind the counter for regular customers only. I guess as a private business owner, they can do as they please, but sometimes it can be frustrating.
  15. sarcastro

    sarcastro Savant (405) Michigan Sep 20, 2006

    I am a capitalist at heart, and agree with that. It is better to move as much inventory as fast as possible. But you also have to think of the big picture. It is also good to make as much of your customer base happy as possible. A happy customer is more likely to be a return customer, and hopefully not just for limited items.
    semibaked likes this.
  16. rvajohn

    rvajohn Aficionado (245) Virginia Nov 22, 2012

    In a capitalist environment, the most profitable customer is a repeat customer. It's weird though. I can't think of too many other "rare" items that have purchase limits. I'm guessing this is a new phenom with beers, or have people been seeing this for a while now?
  17. It's standard operating procedure here at work. Just in the last two days we scored a case of Alpine Duet and Pliny. 1 bottle limit to customers and employees. Honestly, even with that limit, we never have a case of anything like that for more than 2 days, tops. In the event that a regular misses out, it's no big deal, they get the hookup on the next go around. Thankfully we've actually taken the time to develop relationships with our customers, and our regulars are pretty awesome. As far as i'm concerned, it's all about spreading the love around.
    rvajohn likes this.
  18. Pecan

    Pecan Savant (410) California Dec 20, 2012

    I hear you on the part about a limit being an issue for you, but keep in mind the beer store is concerned about ALL customers. You might have wanted to get 8, but getting only 2 probably won't lose you as a customer (or most other people). However, the 3 people that didn't get any because you got 8 might just start taking their money elsewhere. And even if the limit did cause people to go elsewhere once in a while, I'd rather have 3 customers than 1.

    As individuals, you or I are concerned with our personal purchases. As an industry, we need to make sure good beer gets into the hands of as many people as possible, even if that means limiting quantities. A unique part of the craft movement is the community atmosphere and the idea of fostering the love of beer among everyone, and the limit (as annoying as it can be) helps focus the industry in that direction.
    El_Chupahueso and rvajohn like this.
  19. rvajohn

    rvajohn Aficionado (245) Virginia Nov 22, 2012

    Agreed on getting to as many people as possible. Personally, I can't wait to share a beer with my friends and introduce them to something good and new (to them)
    Momar42 likes this.
  20. rvajohn

    rvajohn Aficionado (245) Virginia Nov 22, 2012

    I guess another issue this raises is, does any brewer limit their beer intentionally to create a craze and higher demand for their beer? It is a marketing ploy that I think we will increasingly see
  21. Momar42

    Momar42 Savant (360) Maryland Sep 19, 2010

    I share/split most all my bombers. If its a 12oz/375ml bottle....well sometimes those don't make it out of my casa. It's all about sharing the love, bottle shops and beer drinkers.
    Twal likes this.
  22. Momar42

    Momar42 Savant (360) Maryland Sep 19, 2010

    Would say any beer that has a release event would qualify as an intentional inflation of demand. Of course, it still has to a quality beer.
  23. Twal

    Twal Savant (305) Colorado Sep 20, 2010

    I'm all for spreading the wealth,there's a good chance a friend will share the beer w/ me at a later time !
    That being said I know people that are literally insane when it comes to getting a specific beer,case in point. Westvleteren 12 neighbor didn't know it existed before I asked him if he was trying to get some,he replied by asking if he should,"is it a good beer?"... Ahhh yeah,widely touted as the worlds best (beer).Instantly went to WE NEED THIS BEER ,where can I get it !!! Also the guy went to every store in the area and bought out every Dissident available..
    Yes,I support restrictions.
    P.s.- I was In a wealthy ski resort area (CO.) last winter and started talking to the clerk about beer,when he realized I had a decent knowledge and an obvious passion for beer he told me he had a bunch of beer in the cooler he doesn't put on the shelf if I was interested,I asked what he had and why he was holding and he flat out said if I put out a Pliny on the shelf some rich prick would come and buy every single one of them only to say "I bought every single one of them".He told told me,I'm a beer guy just like you,I'd rather see you get one than a some rich prick buy him out...
    rvajohn likes this.
  24. jlt6116

    jlt6116 Aficionado (170) California Oct 13, 2009

    I limit limited beers or beers that I have cellared. One bottle per person. Obiviously the same person can come back for another bottle but at least it will slow them down. Beside, my store isn't over run with people thinking I've got goodies, but I do.
  25. rvajohn

    rvajohn Aficionado (245) Virginia Nov 22, 2012

    More people are going to become aware of the gooodies I think
  26. mychalg9

    mychalg9 Advocate (710) Illinois Apr 8, 2010

    The only problem I have with it is when one store has a 1 bottle limit and it may cost $5 a 12 oz bottle and then I go to another store right down the road and I can buy an entire 4-pack for $13. So I guess it's the (in)consistency that bothers me.
  27. Pecan

    Pecan Savant (410) California Dec 20, 2012

    I don't think there's a clear answer. Yes sometimes, no others. A lot of the monster beers, especially the barrel aged ones, take more time to make. They also tend to be more expensive to produce, making the profit margin about the same as the regular beers despite the higher price tag. In fact, I've even heard rumors that some of the more popular releases are sold almost at cost due to the high expense of ingredients. Add in the cost of storing a bunch of barrels in the right environment too. I'd also venture to guess that sometimes brewers just don't have the facilities to brew to demand on special release batches at the same time as brewing flagship beers.

    Then again, I'm sure there are also plenty of brewers out there limiting release for the publicity. It really is brilliant marketing, though I don't think I've seen many brewers capitalize on it to the full potential...
  28. lotsaswigs

    lotsaswigs Aficionado (230) Indiana Jan 24, 2006

    In the true capitalist framework the issue is that the price on rarer beer is not properly adjusted for supply and demand. As those Westy bricks have shown (and beers like rare bcbs, barrel aged dark lords, etc...), there is a much higher ceiling for pricing than what is being realized on the market right now. There are in fact a number of BA's who have expressed a desire for prices to go up significantly to reduce competition for rarer beers, but most of us believe that doing this could alienate the rest of their regular customer base and in the long run potentially hurt their business which usually relies on moving a lot of their flagship beer to remain profitable. They want to keep their special releases available as a treat to their regular customers, so keeping prices lower than the traditional supply/demand model would suggest is the only way to do this.

    Also beer is somewhat unique when considering other markets for rare items. Usually sellers of rare/high price items (jewelry, luxury cars, etc.) are doing all of their business selling only high priced exclusive products to a well defined customer base who can afford them, whereas the majority of beer is sold to a very wide ranging customer base that, to keep them happy, needs to keep all of their products accessible to their entire customer base IMO.


    I'm sure there are a few brewers who do this on purpose, but from what I've read from brewers discussing these rare releases they are generally producing these special beers to be bottled as a treat to their customers, and the actual production of these beers are not very cost effective. Many of them lock up fermenters for long periods of time, use more ingredients to make, and if they're aged in barrels they have to find space to store them and often occupy areas of their brewery for a year or more in some cases, so making large volumes of these beers usually isn't very cost effective.

    I would agree producing these beers is intended to create more interest and hype for their breweries in general, but I don't believe most of them are limiting production purposefully to raise the demand even higher, it just doesn't make sense logistically to produce boatloads of their rarer beers.
  29. sarcastro

    sarcastro Savant (405) Michigan Sep 20, 2006

    You should not shop at the store that you felt overcharged anymore. Vote with your dollar. If you bought it and keep shopping there, it tells him he can charge that and it wont affect his business. The BA mentality is to buy overpriced beer, complain on BA, and hope somehow that changes things (I am not saying that you are doing that here). I am pretty sure shops wont care if people complain if they continue to sell out.
    Momar42, krl2112 and szmnnl99 like this.
  30. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poobah (1,135) Wyoming Sep 14, 2002

    No bottle limits in my town ever. And...that's the way, uh huh uh huh I like it.
    dachshunddude86 likes this.
  31. The only bottle limits I've run across are some limited releases at cigar city and the Westy bricks
    Bitterbill likes this.
  32. kscaldef

    kscaldef Advocate (690) Oregon Jun 11, 2010

    Concert tickets come to mind.

    And, of course, many wines have an implicit limit by virtue of only being available as part of a club shipment.
    rvajohn likes this.
  33. Rai

    Rai Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2012

    I don't mind limits. I buy beer to enjoy or to fairly trade. So many people who buy large quanties of limited releases do so just to resale on craiglists. I can't believe that today I saw someone selling a Westy Brick for $500.
  34. Purchase limits are all good until you find an amazing score that you know you will never find again that is one bottle per person and then you do a Darth Vader "noooooooooooooooooooooo" in the middle of the store.
  35. ThatCracker

    ThatCracker Savant (360) Virginia Nov 20, 2012

    I understand and agree with bottle count limits. The reason a lot of places keep the bottles for limited releases behind the counter is so there is not a total grab and also so the clerks know there is a limit. I just hate hearing the people that will go crazy on the sales clerks because they won't "hold a bottle" until you get there. If you want it, get there! I hate waiting in line for an hour to grab a release but I will if it is something I really want - don't be a DeltaBravo and expect everyone else to hold something for you because it is inconvenient for you to get there. I also keep around one or two bud light drinking friends that will pick me up a few extra of the limited ones....

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