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Chocolate rain is coming back for sale!

Discussion in 'US - Pacific' started by ZamaMan, May 16, 2013.

  1. Perhaps their website management leaves much to be desired, but when you have a bunch of people complaining that they were *only* able to buy $175 (RS) or $350 (HS) of your $35 per bottle beer, I don't see how you could be anything but extremely pleased with how things are going with your business.

    The funniest thing about the RS is that we (including myself) have to fight the desire to feel like we have to buy as much of the good stuff (not talking about Smoking Wood here) as they are able to allocate or otherwise make available.

    It's always funny when they give you the opportunity to be buy like $500 worth of beer in one month and you see people on here fretting about how financially stressed they're going to be after buying all the beer, as if they don't have the option to simply buy one bottle or none even. It can be very liberating to simply keep your credit card in your pocket and drink one of the other 300 bottles we have sitting in our cellars, er, garages and closets.

    For those of you who got shut out, a lot of fun can be had with $35.
     
  2. Maybe :)
     
    willandperry and smonice like this.
  3. salzar

    salzar Initiate (0) California Dec 27, 2008

    Only managed to get 3 before they sold out...
     
    Johnnyramirez likes this.
  4. Franch

    Franch Advocate (540) New York Mar 22, 2011

    same. ISO: your HS membership FT: bolt cutter
     
    Beerontwowheels and JustXBeer like this.
  5. walterfredo

    walterfredo Savant (260) California Nov 22, 2011

    People just like to whine and complain. Some things never change. The bruery did nothing wrong here, and they shouldn't be spending a penny on website upgrades. Some people are just silly.
     
    domtronzero and ehammond1 like this.
  6. The same mob rush site crash happens every year in October when Black Tuesday goes on sale to the masses. Sorry to those who could not score an extra bottle of CR, but it's still preferable to waiting in line outside a brewery for hours only to not get a bottle.
     
  7. Xul

    Xul Advocate (525) California May 18, 2008

    I disagree that the Bruery did nothing wrong, and not because I was affected - I wasn't even trying to buy any more Chocolate Rain.

    What they did wrong is expect a system to hold up that they probably knew only had a marginal chance of holding up. It's obvious that breweries don't want to invest in systems that can handle considerable amounts of concurrent traffic, and I don't blame them - whether you go with a solution that can handle that amount of traffic 24/7, or a cloud-based solution with elasticity, there's cost both in the resources and the expertise to deploy it. I wouldn't expect a non-technical business to start investing their profits into technical resources, it doesn't make much sense.

    Instead, figure out a non-technical solution to the problem. Do a lottery for the opportunity to buy extra bottles among HS/RS members, this can be accomplished in under a minute if you have the list of members in front of you on a computer. Sure, people would still complain about getting shut out, but I know I'd much rather get shut out after putting forth no effort than get shut out after sitting in front of my computer for a half hour.

    Edit for clarity; I'm not saying that people should crucify the Bruery for expecting the Chocolate Rain sale to not crash their server. What I'm saying is that at some point, popular breweries need to take some accountability for how they do online releases, because it's clear that the same problems continue to happen.


    Tangential to that, this whole situation makes me really glad that Melange #3 is my favorite Bruery beer...
     
  8. Ynot2

    Ynot2 Savant (310) California Jul 24, 2009

    Justification is easy for either side. If you joined HS you justify it by saying you get twice the beer and a bigger discount, as well as a few exclusives. If you were not invited or decided not to join, you can say I did not want twice the beer, and the exclusives are meh. If you are a RS member and maxed out you CR and then tried to buy more last night but left frustrated, sorry. Me, I am happy with the amount of CR I have and had no desire or need to fight the Internet for more CR last night.
     
    ridglens, abecall98, Cboat and 4 others like this.
  9. Miruguy

    Miruguy Aficionado (220) California Nov 22, 2010

    I don't know man, I thought Melange 8 was pretty fucking epic.
     
  10. Lane1

    Lane1 Aficionado (205) California Jan 10, 2011

    2011 was a disaster, but if I remember it well, the 2012 Black Tuesday online release went smooth and there were incredibly few issues. And shit that was with the old site
     
    Uncleserg and ehammond1 like this.
  11. Lane1

    Lane1 Aficionado (205) California Jan 10, 2011

    I'm in the Hoarders Society and I find it worth it. I split the membership with 3 other guys. Our original plan was to get 2 RS between the 4 of us. The cost for each of us if we had stuck with RS plan would have been about $160 each and then $190 each for the HS...all including tax. We figured the extra $30 each was worth it for the 20% and Hoarders Only beers. We have been very happy with the membership and the way it's going. Totally worth it in my mind.
     
  12. Why can't they go with Brown Paper Tickets, or some other third party solution?
     
    GottaTickemAll likes this.
  13. When a single user can lock out your whole inventory for 15 minutes there are problems that go beyond scaling. I love not having to stand in line for releases, so I hope they get things fixed for future events like this.

    While I'm happy with the extra bottle I got, I was hoping to get a couple more to share with others. If a 1 bottle limit would have saved the site from dying I would have been perfectly okay with that though.
     
    m34josh likes this.
  14. I was asking myself the same thing yesterday.

    I'm sure part of it is that they don't want to admit their brand new website can't handle the traffic it was supposed to.
     
    jmgrub likes this.
  15. The problem wasnt not getting an extra bottle, the problem was watching the timer tick down to zero and losing the bottle in my cart.
    I dont care if I lose out on a beer because its sold out, but when you have the bottle or bottles in your cart and 'their' countdown timer continues its march to zero and you lose those bottles because their site is completly jammed. I even tried, foolishly, to reorder the bottle I lost only for it to say 'sold out'.Thats what people are mad about.
     
    GottaTickemAll, Jaap, m34josh and 4 others like this.
  16. Rau71

    Rau71 Initiate (0) California Dec 12, 2011

    Nailed it.
     
    Beerontwowheels likes this.
  17. Xul

    Xul Advocate (525) California May 18, 2008

    Apparently, BPT crashed pretty hard when Founders used it for KBS this year. I didn't follow that very closely so I don't know how, say, BT traffic would compare to KBS traffic, but BPT has their own scaling issues. It works well for Alesmith because the Alesmith releases are a smaller universe of people ordering than something like BT.
     
  18. Understood.
     
  19. After selecting 'Pick-up' as my ship-way, my cart timed out with a prompt that said "Shipping method does not exist".
     
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  20. stxSS07

    stxSS07 Initiate (0) Illinois Nov 23, 2010

    This wasn't a release "to the masses" though, only people in the RS/HS. The site performance from that feeble amount of traffic was laughable.
     
    2beerdogs, ZamaMan, m34josh and 2 others like this.
  21. Then I recant my "understood" comment to Xul. If this was a limited release, BPT should have had no problem with the traffic. I suspect that the Bruery's system should not have had a problem, either - people were probably seeing some other source of error.
     
  22. Xul

    Xul Advocate (525) California May 18, 2008

    Well, my comment about BPT wasn't so much a comprehensive explanation of why The Bruery doesn't use it, as much as it was pointing out that BPT isn't necessarily set up to handle the peak traffic that The Bruery could throw at it.

    From the bigger picture point of view, I would imagine that The Bruery doesn't use them for a few reasons:
    1) Transaction fees don't really fit a model where you've already charged people a membership fee to join the societies, and would be a turn off for selling their regular beers online.
    2) The Bruery is an upscale brand in beer terms and their website reflects that from a visual perspective. Losing branding by going with BPT would be a step backwards. Perhaps BPT is set up to do deeper integration if a client so chooses, I don't know.
    3) The Bruery is trying to sell a lot more things online than BPT is really set up for, so they need their own ecommerce platform regardless. They could use BPT for special events (this Chocolate Rain sale, BT), but there would have to be some sort of verification for RS/HS members on the Chocolate Rain situation, plus processing the discounts...there would be a few technical challenges to overcome if they're only using it for a couple of sales per year.
     
  23. RedBeeron

    RedBeeron Savant (250) California Jul 7, 2012

    I'd speculate that there was a not insignificant number of non-society members who, between this thread and other announcements were attempting to access the site in the hopes of getting some CR/Bois variants. I had to correct a few non-society friends that thought they'd have a chance at getting bottles.
     
  24. You get around this by slapping Society password access on top of the ordering program. They may still get a lot of hits, but they don't muck up the ordering system.
     
  25. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    I'm not sure what you mean. They sell some beer to the general public, but you only see the special stuff once you've logged in. Unless you want them to completely shut down the site to non-members during a release like this there's nothing they can do to stop non-members from spamming F5 because they want CR.
     
  26. I was in the Bruery tasting room yesterday when CR went up for sale. There were about a dozen people on the Bruery's wi-fi trying to get bottles and I only know of one person that managed to complete the transaction. The funniest/worst thing about the sale was that Bruery employee's couldn't even get onto the site. haha
     
    queens1130 and jmgrub like this.
  27. Yeah, I should have looked at it before openly opining. They are already doing what I said.

    I find it difficult to believe that a bunch of non-members hitting the site were causing the problem that was seen. From the descriptions here, the problem was with the ordering system itself. The system itself may be more than adequate; could have been a misbehaving web application and/or database access issue.
     
  28. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    Yeah I'm not defending their system, I find that implausible too. Hopefully after this they stop up their game (my guess is that they had more resources dedicated to it than in the past, but the new site is more resource-intensive or something similar). PMR will probably be around sooner or later to tell us what happened.
     
    ehammond1 likes this.
  29. Complainers gonna complain.
     
    Thirsty_Rob likes this.
  30. Yes
     
  31. I managed to get several, but expected to have none by the end. Got through checkout with a few minutes left on the countdown timer.

    Give us Brown Paper Tickets please.
     
  32. domtronzero

    domtronzero Initiate (0) California Aug 18, 2007

    Speculation here - I think The Bruery has avoided online sales services such as BPT because they want to control their revenue (by not having to pay a third-party service provider) and also to prevent the members from incurring a service charge for their purchases.
     
  33. mattolesh

    mattolesh Savant (270) California Sep 30, 2007

    Dear Hoarder and Reserve Society Members,

    Yesterday, we re-released 600 bottles of Chocolate Rain and the barrel variants of Bois. Many of you tried unsuccessfully to purchase bottles, and we know that the sale did not run smoothly. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience, or issue that you may have had with our eCommerce store or the release generally. We truly want to provide you with an incredible and valuable Bruery experience, and we are equally disappointed when our service does meet your (or our) expectations.

    We received many complaints related to the sale, which we’d like to address.

    “Society members already had a chance to purchase Chocolate Rain. Why did The Bruery decide to re-release this beer?”

    Our goal in re-releasing this beer was to make sure that the beer was sold to Society members -- which includes both Hoarders and Reserve Society members. We do our best to anticipate sales of beers, production of which frequently begins more than 12 months prior to the sale. We set an initial allocation of the beers based on our estimates of the number of Society members that will purchase the release, and the number of each bottle that each Society member will buy. Unfortunately, we cannot carry and indefinitely store beer that is not purchased, and we determined that re-releasing this to the Society members would help ensure that this beer is a Society exclusive.

    “Why didn’t The Bruery put limits on the number of bottles customers could purchase?”

    We probably should have put limits on this beer, and we apologize for the lack of foresight in not doing so. The vast majority of Society members did not purchase their full allotment of Chocolate Rain, and we took that to mean that demand for the remaining bottles would be lower than it actually was. While we may have sales in the future without limits, we will certainly reconsider our approach to beers that we expect to have particularly high demand, such as Chocolate Rain.

    “Why didn’t your eCommerce site work?”

    We transitioned to a new eCommerce site in January. For the most part, this new site has allowed us to customize a number of tools to help us serve all of our Societies and other online customers. Unfortunately, the transition has not been trouble-free, as each new innovation and tool carries complexities and unintended consequences. As these bugs are ironed out, hopefully your experience has been generally better than what our old off-the-shelf system provided. The re-release of Chocolate Rain was the first time our site experienced the load that it did, and, to all of our disappointment, it failed. At this point, all we can say is that we are looking into it with our eCommerce developer. Chocolate Rain was a small release compared to upcoming releases like Black Tuesday and fixing the functionality of this site is priority number one. We can’t always guarantee that beers will be available, but we will do our best to constantly improve the site and make sure your future eCommerce experience runs smoothly.

    “Why does the eCommerce site have the 15 minute timer?”

    We added the timer to help control inventory. As a customer adds a product to their cart, it is removed from inventory. If the customer doesn’t complete the purchase within the 15 minute period, the product is added back to inventory so that it is available for another customer to purchase. At least that was the plan. Unfortunately, given the load on the website, the timer became a hindrance to completing orders rather than an assurance that inventory would be available for purchase. We will be working with our eCommerce developer to ensure that the site and timer work as designed.

    “I wasn’t able to get any bottles, but I really wanted to buy some. Will you be releasing any more Chocolate Rain?”

    Chocolate Rain is included with all Hoarders and Reserve Society memberships (2 bottles for Hoarders, 1 bottle for Reserve Society members). We also produced enough to guarantee each member the ability to purchase an allotment during the 25 day purchase period, which ended on April 26th. After yesterday’s sale, we have depleted the majority of our inventory, saving some for future events and special cellar releases. We’re planning on releasing a new batch of Chocolate Rain will be in 2014. Until then, we have a lot of great beers coming out that we hope you’ll enjoy.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding, and your support most of all. It is our focus to continue improving in everything that we do, and your feedback is certainly helpful in achieving this.

    Cheers,
    Matt Olesh
    Director of Retail Operations
    The Bruery
     
  34. Beta testing woes. :)
     
  35. walterfredo

    walterfredo Savant (260) California Nov 22, 2011

    Holy shit what a bunch of whiners. Haven't seen so much entitled whining since the citra release in kernville. It's only beer.
     
  36. If I were you I would have said, "Dear Bruery Society member, It is not our fault you didn't buy all of your allocations. Nor is it our fault that you traded all of your allocations. Grow up and stop whining."

    But cheers to you for being a better man. haha
     
    ridglens, jdmandel, 1up and 13 others like this.
  37. walterfredo

    walterfredo Savant (260) California Nov 22, 2011

    Exactly! These were extras...in excess of your entitled allotments. Whether you scored anything or not, you should be thanking the bruery for tossing these out there and the chance to grab extra. Silliness. If you sent an email and complained to the bruery, you have issues.
     
  38. Hopefully next year this will just mean a bigger allocation per Reserve Society member--perhaps with the caveat that only X bottles will be guaranteed, but those who act fast can get Y bottles (whatever the temporary max allocation is). That, or just add a bottle limit to the extras sale as they seem to imply in their response.

    I'm bummed I didn't score any extras yesterday, but c'est la vie; I've still got my full allocation. (I did find it pretty funny that the checkout timer--which I've always felt is a bit too short--was timing out before people could even make it through the checkout process due to server load. Design decisions ;) )
     
    AirborneBeer likes this.
  39. Franch

    Franch Advocate (540) New York Mar 22, 2011

    dear vast majority: you are doing RS/HS wrong.
     
  40. Xul

    Xul Advocate (525) California May 18, 2008

    The Bruery made in the neighborhood of $20,000 last night in the span of 15 minutes, and their eCommerce system is what allows them to effectively service RS and HS members, who also happen to be the groups of people that give them an influx of cash to the tune of $500,000 every fall.

    You can call people whiners all you want, but The Bruery has made their eCommerce platform an integral part of their business - expecting it to work properly and providing feedback when it doesn't is hardly unreasonable. I'm sure some people are bitching beyond what is reasonable, and I'm not going to defend those people. However, providing feedback and asking why something isn't working isn't silliness, it's interacting with a business that you're a customer of.

    It seems like so many people want to take a polar position with breweries - either they need to cater to your every whim and you'll boycott them if they don't, or they should get a pass on every failure they have, be it flat beer, infections, or technology issues. There's a nice big middle ground where you can be a fan of a brewery's beers, yet still provide criticism and feedback when they make mistakes.


    Credit where credit is due to The Bruery - as usual, they're willing to discuss it in public and want to fix it. Hopefully they get it fixed before BT, otherwise, that will be an interesting release to watch.
     

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