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Shelton Brothers issue statement regarding New York's repeal of beer tax and fee exemptions

Discussion in 'Beer News' started by Todd, May 1, 2012.

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  1. dnstone

    dnstone Zealot (95) Massachusetts Dec 13, 2006

    I rarely feel need to chime in and many of these ideas have been stated in forms by others, but…

    1. The Sheltons should not refer to the products they resell as their small breweries…those breweries literally belong to the hardworking people behind them in Belgium etc. The reputations of the brewers and that of the importer are not one in the same, although one can certainly affect the other. Having lived in Belgium, and met many of those people whose beer the Sheltons represent, I can tell you that the business is important to their hard-earned livelihoods; many of the brewers depend on an overwhelming percentage of their sales coming from exports to the US. The point is, the Shelton bro’s should not be winging product around in an effort to make more (or spend less), whilst using artwork (beer that hardworking craftsmen created) as moral cover for their (Sheltons’) personal gain. They are dealers not artists and they get their product at a fair price and then resell it under the laws that allow them to…

    2. I find it hard to believe that the Sheltons, who buy their beer at a fair (and likely generally stable) price have the interest of their “little foreign breweries” at heart. They have put those they represent at risk through these actions, and have worsened the position by attacking critics of the Sheltons’ actions. I doubt that the Sheltons intended to cause a reduced shelf price of their imports by reducing the cost of putting those beers on NY retailers’ shelves. Why would they lower the cost for the consumer who is already accustomed to paying the current price, when they could just turn more profit. Even if they did lower prices, would the retailer too lower his prices and allow the savings to trickle down to the consumer? Little argued in the Sheltons’ statement would really benefit the most important players in the situation: the consumers and the brewers.

    3. As a general rule, it’s not good to throw others under the proverbial bus…especially respected peers. I think that one could legitimately believe that the Sheltons were trying to get a more fair footing for their products, which is understandable. The fact that this backfired (for lack of a better term) and dragged NY Brewers into a situation that someone will pay for (whether the consumer through price increases or the brewers by not changing the cost of their product by even a fraction of a cent) is unfortunate, and surely unforeseen. That said, even if the law is now more “equal” to all, the Sheltons initiated this awkward change of circumstances and should not try to cover what should be embarrassment by berating those negatively affected and those who support this stance. The Sheltons dropped the ball, and then dragged others under the bus…however unintentional, the respectable thing to do would be to admit their role in this and certainly not try to drag others’ names through the dirt. Whether, those-who-will-not-be-named deserved to be dragged under or not should not be a matter of public scruitiny simply because misery loves company…the Sheltons should by doubly shamed; don’t dime out your buddies and then don’t try to drag others into the muck you caused. I’m not sure that someone can cause pain for others and then tell them to sack-it-up and still maintain a positive image.

    4. On top of pissing off the NY Brewers and making more trouble for them, the Sheltons are now pressuring the same folks to fight off rules (that the Sheltons caused, to an extent, to come into effect) on their behalf; to share the pain. The ruling may be “fair”, but don’t blame people for being upset that the ruling is a great inconvenience. Whether or not the hate “dissipates,” NY Brewers are left little choice now but to spend resources seeking further changes. Brewers will probably not go out of business and consumers will still buy the beer, just like they are forced to pay higher prices on gas…in a grudging fashion.

    5. Going back to point 1 for a moment, as the Sheltons have stirred up this ridiculous crap-storm (whether constitutionally correct, morally driven, or motivated by person gain) they have splattered some of said crap upon the image of the hard working foreign craftsmen who rely upon the Sheltons to represent them (not just sell their beer). A grudge should not be held against these foreign brewers by the consumers for the ills of their representatives, but rather a change should be called for where those brewers are represented by someone who has their interests/business (both economic and reputation…which tend to go hand in hand) at heart. It happens to public figures, politicians, and Monday-Night-Football-theme-song-singers too…you shed a negative image on those your represent, you go.

    6. Don’t insult the consumers; they are the reason you have a good job. Be bigger than the hateful people and you won’t look foolish.

    7. I don’t know how the Sheltons can credibly call NY State’s ruling fair and then call the states rules “money-making schemes” and then say that the state (or its laws) are discriminatory when the intent of their argument from the beginning was to make more money themselves. It appears convenient to hide the failure to increase profits (or at least decrease costs) behind arguments that alcohol laws are out of date (that is obvious) or that they were ever fighting for the greater good for the out of state brethren…remember they are an importer, not brewer. It may not appear from these statements that I support the Sheltons’ idea that there should be a more even playing field for all beer-related companies, I do…just not at the expense of creating this situation which both poisons and polarizes those who could be working together. The Sheltons can blame the “emotional types” for “vilifying” them; but with this tirade, they appear to invite (even incite?) the emotions while vilifying themselves.

    8. Last, if the “Albany Beer Party” does go down as proposed, perhaps those of us who still enjoy the little foreign brewers’ beers will be able to fish the bottles out of whichever body of water resides in Albany and find them cleansed of the aforementioned crap, unscathed by a company’s attempt to use their innocence as a shield in a battle for profit and unharmed by a brewers desperate act to hurl such treasures to the depths where no one could enjoy them until rediscovered years from now, sold on ebay, and put on a shelf next to a bottle of Alllsopp’s Arctic Ale.
    Long story short, I understand the Sheltons’ argument, agree with (but don’t like) the result of the ruling, don’t respect the Sheltons’ backlash to the beer community and their right to a free opinion (as a professional seeking the support of consumers one might choose to limit their free opinion…or not J ) and I don’t like that I don’t have much of a choice in who I buy some of my favorite imports from; this is like listening to the top 10 count-down on clear channel radio and thinking you ever had a real choice in what they played. I guess Im lucky that I purchased my beer from the brewers direct and brought my beer collection back to the States on my own.
  2. Keith238

    Keith238 Savant (290) New Jersey Jul 31, 2007

    NJ had a similar problem with state wineries. Basically, NJ wineries enjoyed more rights to do business in state than out of state wineries. Similar outcome: equal rights for all businesses. I didn't really agree with NJ's handling of the situation and I don't really agree with NY's handling of it either. States have a right to promote their own interests and stimulate their own economies just like the US does. Don't like it? Sell your wares somewhere else. Maybe the end around to this is for NY to lower or eliminate other costs of doing business such as permits, licenses or wage taxes. You may not be able to charge outsiders more to do business in your state but maybe you can attract them to set up shop and create jobs in your state.
  3. cavedave

    cavedave Champion (930) New York Mar 12, 2009

    The Sheltons are a wonderful company and wonderful people who do not seek to extort every single last penny of profit that their monopoly of the finest Belgium imports allows them to squeeze from the fine beer lovers who enjoy them. They are not responsible for the crazy high prices of these products, nor their willy nilly distribution which leads to areas being without them, and for prices sky rocketing when they somehow return to shelf. They are a fine importer, loved by every one of the breweries for whom they import. In fact, these breweries cannot wait to sign new contracts with Shelton. Some, including Cantillon, have sung their praises right here on Beer Advocate.
  4. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Savant (480) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    Actually, no they dont. It was part of the reason the states chucked the AoC for the Constitution. They wanted to be a united country and not 13 separate countries. And thus, certain rules were unified. And one of them was to not treat products from other states the same way you do products from other countries.

    They can promote their own economies, but they have to do it in other ways. But it cant be in a way that is functionally a tariff on other states.
  5. dnstone

    dnstone Zealot (95) Massachusetts Dec 13, 2006

    I wouldn't assume that the people working there are not fantastic people who share a love of the same beers I enjoy. Nor would I assume that if it were not for the company, I would not have had the opportunity to taste some of these great beers for the first time. I wouldn't blame a brewer or blender for signing on for distribution either, it appears to be the best option available...I just don't think that there are enough options out there with the same resources/reach that can compete at the moment. If there were more viable options, perhaps there would be greater competetition among importers to offer the better service to the brewers; not that there isn't competition already, but it appears, based on the portfolio size of Sheltons', to be a one-sided fight. More competition would benefit both the consumer and the brewer...as a side effect, Shelton Bros might not be so willing to show their ass as they might be worried that another company could take their contract from a brewer next time. They are right that people will probably continue to buy the beers but I bet they probably wouldn't mind if it came from another source, especially with a competetive price. Obviously, some brewers have chosen to go with other distributers...I had a conversation with one brewer who happened to be very vocal about his distain for the Shelton company...this brewer and his distribution company will help eachother grow and so far I haven't heard a negative word about (or perhaps more importantly FROM) the distributor; perhaps one day they will give the Sheltons a run for their money?
  6. Keith238

    Keith238 Savant (290) New Jersey Jul 31, 2007

    I got the whole 'tariff' thing. Did ya miss this part:
    Maybe the end around to this is for NY to lower or eliminate other costs of doing business such as permits, licenses or wage taxes. You may not be able to charge outsiders more to do business in your state but maybe you can attract them to set up shop and create jobs in your state.
  7. This is incorrect. The federal government can do things the States cannot. Legally/constitutionally speaking.
  8. kojevergas

    kojevergas Champion (850) Texas Aug 15, 2010

    I'll take anything the Shelton Bastards have to say about pricing with a grain of salt. This whole "we made it worse so that people will see the problem and make it better" argument reeks of a lack of accountability. I see the retroactive logic of their argument, and it makes sense from their perspective - but what I don't see is acknowledgment that the course of action the Shelton Bastards took made the current situation worse than it was before. Consumers in New York now pay more for their beer as a direct result of the Shelton's court case. Regardless of their intentions, that was the end result. The snide pretentiousness of the Hudson River comment only intensifies my disgust for the company. That's not a professional press release.
    beertunes, cosmicevan and cavedave like this.
  9. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Savant (480) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    No, I didnt miss it, I agreed with that part so no need to quote it.
  10. This too, is factually incorrect. Indirect result sure. Direct? No.

    New Yorkers paying more for beer is the direct result of New Yorkers CHOOSING to pay more for beer.

    In between the court case and forking over the $$ was the NY legislator CHOOSING to CHARGE MORE for beer.
    Furthermore, there was the media stories giving carte blanche to retailers to CHOOSE to CHARGE MORE, up to $1 more per pint, for a $3.50 tax on 15.5 gallons of beer.

    Then there are the retailers CHOOSING to CHARGE MORE for beer, apparently, jacking up their prices during a period of emotional fervor, where rather than do math, people just want to blame outsiders rather than their own who are exploiting their own customers, neighbors etc. . .

    Anyways, in terms of proximate cause, or direct result, no, the court case is neither of these.
  11. Keith238

    Keith238 Savant (290) New Jersey Jul 31, 2007

    So then you could have continued the conversation in a positive manner rather than being snarky about it.

    Of course the Feds can do things the states can but states can still promote their own interests and stimulate their own economies. Every state in the union pushes their own state's farm products for instance. They may not be able to establish 'tariffs' but they can make sure there is a benefit to setting up business in their state as opposed to shipping in products from another state.

    New Yorkers aren't CHOOSING to pay more for beer unless you want to imply they should stop drinking beer all together to avoid the higher cost. You're really pushing the boundary on this. It's not much of a choice when you have to decide to pay the extra money or do without. You were right the first time when you said they were paying more as an INDIRECT result of the Shelton case. Consumers aren't to blame here, the greedy pricks who ask for more money along the three tiered system are to blame and I'd even argue it's a four tiered system with the government(s) taking a piece of the pie too.
    beertunes likes this.
  12. ^^^
    NY people are CHOOSING to pay more for beer in NY. I'm not saying they should stop drinking beer (I don't care, pay more or don't, no skin off my back), I'm saying they're CHOOSING to pay more for beer in NY. Actually it is the very definition of CHOICE when we're talking about a non essential luxury item.

    Furthermore, you're confusing my words on the feds/states thing. I said the feds can do things the states CANNOT. You replied talking about the things a state CAN do. Yes, some things a state can do. But make no mistake, the federal government has more authority to regulate commerce than a state, therefore, to repeat, the federal government can do things the States CANNOT.
  13. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan Champion (790) New York Dec 13, 2009

    NY'ers are CHOOSING to drink beer, not pay more for beer. are you CHOOSING to pay more for gas when the price goes up or are you CHOOSING to drive and as a result of driving you are forced to pay whatever gas costs? your argument makes no sense...no one can go into a bar and order a beer but tell the bartender that they don't want to pay what the price is. the only way we CHOOSE to pay more for a beer is through how much we are tipping and that has nothing to do with how much a pint costs.

    perhaps you are CHOOSING to look foolish in your argument...or maybe that isn't a choice either? ;)
    Kuemmelbrau and beertunes like this.
  14. bum732

    bum732 Advocate (630) Lesotho Feb 18, 2008

    I think you're just trolling, but i think he meant the NY legislators, who represent the great people of NY, are choosing to pay more by their actions.
    teal and Beerandraiderfan like this.
  15. Yes, my purchase of gas is a choice. There is no gun to my head or governmental mandate like health/Obamacare, to purchase gasoline.

    If you can't acknowledge there's a personal choice in whether/where you fill up your gas tank or buy a beer, (or as pointed out by another, who you vote for, who decided to charge you more for beer) there's no point in trying to have an intellectual discussion with you.

    That's probably why you CHOSE to act in the manner you did in the final sentence.
  16. emannths

    emannths Savant (390) Massachusetts Sep 21, 2007

    I think you guys need to hash out whether you're talking about "paying more" on an absolute or per-oz basis (or whatever else you're holding/not holding constant). The former is a choice, the latter isn't.
  17. I'm saying if you buy beer at any price, under any tax scheme, its a choice.
  18. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan Champion (790) New York Dec 13, 2009

    you can think whatever you want...i was replying to what was actually written. and in his next rant Beerandraiderfan clears up that unless a gun is held to his head he has a choice...although one can argue that there is still a choice (some rush lyrics come to mind :))...so this unending circle has thus been revived in a new thread.

    i choose to stop following this ridiculous thread.
  19. ^^^ Are you equating a choice between life/death with the choice between buy beer/don't?
  20. And let's all chill on the pejorative terminology regarding other's and their opinions.

    Its not like these are issues that whichever side of the argument you're on, it makes you a monster or idiot. This has been a good thread for the most part, there's more pressing things for the mods & todds to attend to, like the website integration that began in February.
    avenuepub likes this.
  21. If we framed the argument, "New York Tax Loophole Closed" wouldn't we all be for it?

    Yes, the there will be consequences to brewers and beer geeks in NY. In the end the brewers will eat some of the cost, and pass some of it on. That's life.

    BTW: in the case of Shelton vs. Brooklyn Brewery (aka Mr. Oliver) - stop acting like meatheads in a shoving match because one of you spilled the other's Bud Light. You both have more influence in the industry than your sales would indicate. Grow up.
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  22. bobWFMU

    bobWFMU Aspirant (35) New York Jun 8, 2013

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