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Entry Paths to Trading: ISO/FT vs. BIF

Discussion in 'Beer Trading Talk & Help' started by jroberge1981, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. First off: I've been a member of Beer Advocate for quite a long time, but didn't use it for more than beer and places review browsing up until a few weeks ago. Since then, I've been using the forums a lot more and have started to get the itch to see what's beyond my local distribution area. Naturally, that led me to start reading the beer trading forums and introduced me to the idea of a BIF. I think the BIF concept is excellent, especially for someone like me who really doesn't have an in-depth knowledge of other regions other than "hey, that Hillstead Farm place is REALLY popular these days!"

    The idea of a box of beer curated by someone who knows their local distribution well sounds like a fantastic way of experiencing the beer world outside of my little area. It also seemed like something I could jump into fairly easily, since I've got good access to well-regarded locals, even though I'm light on "Whales." I then read through the Lame BIF Box thread and got scared off a little, thinking maybe some ISO/FTs would be the way to go - but honestly, the wild-west ways of that forum are a bit intimidating.

    With all that said (sorry for the long intro), I guess my questions are:
    1. How often does a pure newbie BIF come around? That sounds like the best way to dive in, since I've got no references yet. I've seen one or two on the BIF boards, but not sure what the scheduling is.
    2. Is there another entry path to BIF? Other newbie friendly ones that come around?
    3. Am I going about this the right way even? Should I just suck it up and work through a few ISO/FT trades? The idea of everyone being out to WIN a trade really turns me off... and I have no idea of proper values. Trying to read the ISO/FT forum and figure out reasonable trades is difficult at least to me.
    Just trying to seek some advice here and appreciate the thoughts of the veterans out there.
    xxcarpxx likes this.
  2. I would start out with a few local for local trades first so you can get a feel for packing and developing some references. Noob BIFs were MIA for awhile, but BigLobo started one recently.
    cavedave likes this.
  3. abraxel

    abraxel Savant (375) Michigan Aug 28, 2009

    I think BIFs are a great introduction to trading, and whenever a new N00B BIF comes up (I don't know when that'll be), you should jump on it. Personally, I prefer BIFs hands down over ISO/FT (I haven't had any bad experiences with direct trading, I just prefer the BIF format), so I don't think there's any need to "suck it up" and do some normal trades.

    If you're impatient to get going, though, there's nothing wrong with doing a few small trades while waiting for an appropriate BIF, and it would get you some references so you could perhaps join a non-N00B BIF.
  4. davey101

    davey101 Initiate (0) Connecticut Apr 14, 2009

    Noob BIFs are great for starting relationships that lead to trading partners. Kill your target and it becones public that youre a solid trader. Sometimes a mystery box is better than any ISO/FT.

    I had a years worth of trades under my belt before I did a Noob BIF last year and the experience was much more satisfying.The recent LNBA SS BIF was just too much fun.
  5. I think you just nailed what I was trying to get at in three sentences. The social aspect of the BIF (hints and hauls etc.) just seems like a more fun way to get involved rather than just ship off a box of beer and then wait for the next opportunity to come up.

    I'm not impatient (yet!) and would prefer to wait for a noob NBO, but is there a generally accepted level of references to have before joining a non-noob BIF?

    I appreciate the responses so far, thanks!
  6. match1112

    match1112 Initiate (0) Illinois Mar 2, 2011



    Any NOOB BIF's probably wont happen until spring time now. To get in on another BIF you will need to have a solid trading record or a rock solid co-signer (with a solid record on the trading boards) that would assume responsibility for your share should you flake out. Good luck!
  7. MordorMongo

    MordorMongo Initiate (0) Jul 19, 2009

    I started trading with a simple ISO:FT, 12 mixed locals for 12 mixed locals....hell it may have even been 6 for 6. Back then the world was mental for FFF so I got bombarded with people offering, I spoke to the first few and checked out their areas and actually ended up doing locals for locals with 3 of them, one at a time. They were all very patient and helpful and I think everyone was happy. I knew what extras were so added a couple in each one and off I went into the wide world of trading. So of course that would be MY suggestion, but the more I learn of BIFs that is probably a better way to getting a trading network and reputation developed.
    Siggy125 likes this.
  8. Really think hard and make sure it's worth the time, effort, and money it costs to trade.
    Archemedies, vande, cavedave and 2 others like this.
  9. Hugonaut13

    Hugonaut13 Advocate (710) Illinois Nov 29, 2012

    Damn right it was!
    Steimie, franklinn and davey101 like this.
  10. cavedave

    cavedave Champion (930) New York Mar 12, 2009

    I am replying to this so it gets repeated.

    I started trading when I had truly tasted most of the beer I could get locally. Since then my area gets stupid better distribution. Not sure I would be so anxious to start trading nowadays as I was then. That said, opening a great box is like Christmas morning any time of the year.
    xxcarpxx, cfh64 and nlmartin like this.
  11. nc41

    nc41 Advocate (600) North Carolina Sep 25, 2008

    Do a locals for locals first. I see you live in NC as well, and Olde Hickory trades pretty well. With Foothills bottling stuff like their BA Porter, and soon to be coming Jade, seasonal etc, I would start there. Trade for some CA IPA's, Furious etc if your into IPA's. It's the best way to go.
    jroberge1981 likes this.
  12. gklover1

    gklover1 Savant (255) Colorado Oct 18, 2009

    Two suggestions:

    1.)
    THIS was my first thought. Forget wales. Throw out a locals for locals ISO. 6 or 12, whichever you prefer. Kill them with extras (quantity and/or quality). You will be a veteran before you know it. (Quick hint...see if there is a local wine cellaring warehouse in your area. Styro shippers are garbage to them, they get SOOO many deliveries for high dollar clients. They are happy to give them to you. You might just have to rip off a couple "alcohol contents" stickers. No big deal.)

    2.) Reach out to Woodchopper. He is a great friend, and loves to do this kind of thing. Feel free to mention I suggested it. I would offer myself, but I am slowing WAY down until end of April (Dark Lord Day). I have my Bruery Reserve Society beers to order, as well as 3 Crooked Stave guys to ship to, and I am FAT. Need a hiatus of sorts.

    I love the NOOB BIF idea for you, but this way you don't have to wait.

    You seem like a solid guy. Good luck!
    jp7161 and jroberge1981 like this.
  13. Good call on the wine storage area, I could slap myself for not thinking about that. I've actually got a small wine locker here in town (my wife and I are wine geeks as well, not the high roller type though!), and I'm sure they'll have something hanging around I could use. Unfortunately, the couple of cellar clubs we belong to tend to use the recycled cardboard shippers and I'm not sure how well those hold up. Not to mention, we've just been throwing them away up until now.

    I'm coming around on the idea of doing a couple local/local trades to ease into it, but watching all those 3-post members come barreling in with requests for KtG, DL, Rare, etc. still seems like it makes the good traders wary. I do appreciate the posts telling me to think this through, and I will! Keeping it slow is definitely in the cards. I don't want to shut down my local drinking, there's lots of good stuff here in NC.

    On another sort of related note, since I'm a barrel aged stout fiend, is plain ol' BCBS considered a local? Hopefully next year it'll make it to NC so I can get it off the shelf, but it seems to be a must try and might be a good first target.
    cselby likes this.
  14. cselby

    cselby Aficionado (135) California Sep 14, 2012

    Great thread, jroberge. I, too, am fairly new, and the idea of a newbie BIF really appeals to me. I'll be keeping an eye out for one opening up so I can jump in.

    I hope this isn't too off topic, but I also have a question for some of the more seasoned BAs:
    Is it appropriate for a BA such as myself to put up a post (I have no clue where it would go other than the ISO/FT forum) searching for a trading partner rather than a specific beer? I'm on the west coast and there are tons of things that I would like to try from the east coast, central United States, etc., whether they be local shelf beers or even something a little bit more limited. The one and done trading doesn't appeal to me too much, and I would much rather have someone that I could send stuff to that I have formed a relationship with.
  15. cavedave

    cavedave Champion (930) New York Mar 12, 2009

    A quick search yielded a plethora of folks like yourself, and good models to follow in your own search.


    http://beeradvocate.com/community/threads/iso-lexington-kentucky-trading-partner.58653/

    http://beeradvocate.com/community/t...g-partner-ft-fist-bumps-and-high-fives.57685/
    \
    http://beeradvocate.com/community/t...ing-partner-s-ft-honesty-and-gratitude.57651/

    http://beeradvocate.com/community/posts/684369/
    PoopstainKilla likes this.
  16. cselby

    cselby Aficionado (135) California Sep 14, 2012

    Nice, thanks! I guess I should have used the search function. Appreciate your response regardless.
  17. cfh64

    cfh64 Advocate (635) Texas Aug 16, 2005

  18. Did you ever find a Noob BIF? I have a few trades under my belt but was looking to get in a BIF group.
  19. Urbancaver used to run a NOOB BIF every so months. If there is a demand then I have no problem running one. If I get some people BM'ing me then I'll do it.
  20. Bluecane

    Bluecane Initiate (0) New York Dec 30, 2011

    Your location isn't too far from Foothills in Winston-Salem, and a lot of people are also after their releases (Sexual Chocolate, BA Sexual Chocolate, and ORF). Furthermore, make some friends with people in line, as they seem to always bring very cool out-of-market stuff to share! Try and hit those up and you can trade any "extra" bottles for some interesting stuff.

    Also, if you want to try a 2012 BCBS and are going to the Sexual Chocolate release, then let me know. I'm not attending, but I can try and send a BCBS along with some buddies who are.
  21. When the weather warms up I'm going to run another NOOB BIF. The last one was a bit disastrous with a scam artist involved, but I'm just going to tweak it a bit to hopefully work around potential issues this time...
  22. Thanks for the info Bluecane. My wife and I are going to check out the Sexual Chocolate release next weekend and we're really looking forward to our first bottle share. I don't think we can do the Friday night into Saturday morning thing, but we're planning on showing up early on Saturday (4 or so should be ok to get an allocation I gather?). I did get a 2012 BCBS in an LIF box earlier this month, but many thanks for the offer!

    Awesome guys, I'm absolutely interested!
    Bluecane likes this.
  23. tx_beer_man

    tx_beer_man Savant (260) Texas Jan 22, 2013

    I'll be looking forward to that...until then gotta knock down some 20 days of activity (hard not to - great message boards here) and some positive trade action. -- Houston Craft Beer drinker

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