This issue, we asked BA mag readers: From what we’ve been reading, it appears that most people feel that special-release beer events have gone too far. Generally speaking, these special-release day beers gain an insane amount of hype, get put on eBay before they’re even released, bad distribution systems are put in place, people wait in lines for many hours/travel from afar in hopes of getting their hands on a bottle or taste, hoarders/campers are an issue, many walk away disappointed, etc. What are some solutions?
ColForbinBC (New Jersey)
We, as a community, are the solution. There is a ton of great beer out there to be had, and we cannot possibly have it all. However, by creating a list of the best and feeding hype by publishing certain beers as the most sought-after, we create the problem. We are creating an atmosphere of competition. This has become an environment for collectors and not consumers. We post pictures of our beer cellars as trophies as we scour the earth looking for white whales. Until we find a way to keep every beer in its place organically, we will continually be feeding a beast that we cannot tame.
nopucophop (New York)
In order to stop the nonsense, you need to stop following. The reason athletes make so much is because we support them. If we didn’t buy the jerseys from the beginning, there would be no athlete worth $30 million. If we did not support the venues, Yankee Stadium would not charge $10 a pop for a Bud and $100 per ticket. We have to stop supporting these events! The brewery will then realize that these beers need to follow the normal chain of distribution. Sure, you can stagger distribution some and ask stores to limit bottles per customer. I think the hunt would be much more fun then waiting in line for hours just to get nothing. Let’s bring these beers back down to earth.
I would do what most other industries do regarding special limited releases: pre-sell. Pre-sell with a set limit on the bottles, offering club members the first opportunity. They are your bread and butter. If you don’t reserve your bottles, you don’t get them. That simple. On the release day, have a keg-tapping party where people who didn’t get to purchase the bottles can still experience the beer. Offer up a few other limited beers for purchase that day as well. Use the day to promote the rest of your products. eBay is inevitable. There is not much that can be done with regards to that. ■