Bad beer and bad brewery communication

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by kelvarnsen, Feb 11, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. kelvarnsen

    kelvarnsen Devotee (401) Nov 30, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    Over the Christmas holidays I did some cross border shopping to the US and picked up a bunch of beer. One of the bottles I brought back tasted really bad and clearly something was off about it. So the next day I sent a polite email to the brewery letting them know that there was some bad product about there. That was about 3 weeks ago and I have not heard any reply from them. To me that is kind of bad customer service. So my question is this, if this happened to anyone else would you post publicly about the problem with the beer (like on their Facebook page or something) or not. Or would you wait longer? I am just kind of annoyed since it is a brewer that I really liked in the past.
  2. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    It was an international email that probably had to be translated into Canadian. Give it a while longer.
    jnoble, blguillen, Sarlacc83 and 17 others like this.
  3. jtdolla911

    jtdolla911 Initiate (0) Nov 18, 2011 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Good question, I had issues with two separate foreign beers, both which came over with little to no yeast present. I informed the retailers who informed the distributor, whose response was basically "tough shit". I sent an email to both breweries with no response. Both were Belgian, so language is probably an issue.

    In your case, if the brewery snubbed you, I would inform the retailer/distro and post on their Facebook page. You don't have to bad mouth them, just say that you emailed about an issue and got brushed off. Let people make decisions based on your experience without destroying your own credibility. And, there may be different brewery personnel in charge of emails and facebook content, so you may reach a different part of the company. That's just my two cents on the issue.
  4. BillManley

    BillManley Aspirant (246) Jul 2, 2008 California

    If it were my beer, I would prefer a discreet email, which you've already done. Second choice, a direct message via Facebook. If that still doesn't work, a public message via facebook would be OK as well.
    We see nothing wrong with addressing a potential problem publicly because we see it as a way to show how we do our customer service.

    Don't be shy, let the brewers know.

  5. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,431) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I'd send a follow-up email before you post anything publicly. The first email might have gotten lost, deleted, overlooked, etc. Let them know that you sent a message 3 weeks ago and haven't heard back. These are human beings after all, prone to make mistakes.

    If you still don't hear back within a reasonable period after that, unleash hell.
    beertunes and Providence like this.
  6. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    Not knowing what your email said I have nothing to go off of but I will say that you are more likely to receive follow up from a brewery if you a detailed in your message. Breweries get a lot of emails and many of them are very generic. A generic email is not going to be the easiest to respond to. If you are more detailed you will more than likely supply needed information and make responding easier and the whole communication process much more efficient.

    Also, depending on the brewery, the person in charge of responding to emails may have several other responsibilities, may have had to route the email to a more appropriate person for answers or a number of other possibilities. This is said not to excuse the brewery by any means but it is just being realistic about the way things work at some breweries.

    This post is not in direct response to the OP, there is not enough information for me to make any informed judgement, but it is more of a general statement about contacting breweries. Help them help you, provide as much useful and unbiased information as you can and make their job responding to you as easy as possible. This will certainly increase your chances of a response.
    Mothergoose03 likes this.
  7. Mandark

    Mandark Initiate (0) Apr 8, 2008 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Took another brewer about six weeks to get back to an email I sent them regarding a six pack of bad beer I'd bought on vacation (they don't distribute to Illinois). Their QC guy replied eventually with apologies and ended up sending me a replacement 6 pack and a nice bottle opener. Don't be impatient!
    tgchief likes this.
  8. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,229) Mar 18, 2010 California

    Call the RCMP. What brewery is it?
  9. Ohsaycanyoubeer

    Ohsaycanyoubeer Initiate (0) Feb 8, 2012 Colorado

    I must say one particular brewery gave me the absolute opposite reaction.

    I sent an email to the owner, yes he lists his e-mail, telling them that I noticed a large number of floating yeast in the bottle and even though it didn't have an affect on the taste it was still visually displeasing. I was responded to within 24 hours saying they were aware of the problem and offered to refund the bottles and pay for shipping.
    jgluck likes this.
  10. Giantspace

    Giantspace Defender (655) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I have had good response to issue from many breweries EXCEPT

    Breckenridge. I have stopped buying their beer forever. Not that it was great but the small batch IPA on tap was pretty darn good.

    I did email Troegs with a question and have not heard back but it had nothing to do with any beer problem.

  11. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    What outcome are you looking for?
  12. kelvarnsen

    kelvarnsen Devotee (401) Nov 30, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    Mostly just a response to show that they care that a customer took the time to let them know there is bad product out there. Plus maybe some sort of confirmation that they are looking into the problem, because otherwise I am not sure I would buy any of their beer again. Especially since when I am in the US I have a ton of choices of different things to try that I don't normally have available.
  13. StuartCarter

    StuartCarter Initiate (0) Apr 25, 2006 Alabama

    Um... all the Belgians I have met have spoken and written a minimum of 4 languages with complete fluency...
  14. nachos

    nachos Initiate (95) Jun 4, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    My advice is to contact Mr. Lahey and Randy, I am quite sure they will get to the bottom of it.
  15. jzeilinger

    jzeilinger Poo-Bah (4,966) Dec 4, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Supporter Beer Trader

    I've had incredibly positive responses with Weyerbacher in the past which is why I'll be a fan of theirs for life. Depending on the brewery, they could be working with a bare bones crew and they wear several hats and sometimes things slip through the cracks (unfortunately). I'm old fashioned, if it's that important just pick up the @#$% phone. :grimacing:
  16. Longstaff

    Longstaff Initiate (0) May 23, 2002 Massachusetts

    Seems like you are looking for a little more than just letting them know about bad product. If that was really your only goal, you've accomplished it - move on.
    jesskidden likes this.
  17. Stigs

    Stigs Meyvn (1,050) Jun 3, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    thought this was oging to be another Sixpoint thread, moving on...
  18. HipsterBrewfus

    HipsterBrewfus Initiate (0) Jun 3, 2012 Maryland

    i was just about to say that Sixpoint responded to my e-mail and sent me a t-shirt, and 3 4 packs, all because I e-mailed them with a concern about a damaged 4 pack I had picked up.
  19. DougC123

    DougC123 Devotee (477) Aug 21, 2012 Connecticut

    I'm going to send them an email saying I'm concerend about your concern and see what I can get!
    HipsterBrewfus likes this.
  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,113) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Do you have a story that you feel comfortable sharing with us?

  21. HipsterBrewfus

    HipsterBrewfus Initiate (0) Jun 3, 2012 Maryland

    You might be a bit late LOL

    I was floored though. he could have easily told me to fuck off, but the President got involved and hooked me up. I'll be a loyal fan for life after that kind of treatment.
    Beerontwowheels likes this.
  22. DougC123

    DougC123 Devotee (477) Aug 21, 2012 Connecticut

    Customer for life, and you will tell the story again and again. Awesome perpetual advertising and it only cost him a few bucks. Some businesses just don't get that.
    Beerontwowheels likes this.
  23. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,459) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    In my experience it's only the smaller, "local" breweries that ignore emails that are important like this. Sam Adams, Stone, and others always seem to give a professional reply and even more importantly they do something about it.
  24. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    In other words breweries who can afford to have a dedicated customer service department. I am not making excuses for anyone but this makes sense. Many small breweries do not have this luxury. It should be a priority without a doubt, however these breweries abilities to respond and the senders time line may not always align.
  25. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,459) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Well, hard for me to see how breweries can "afford" to have a bunch of infected beer on shelves and not know about it and/or do anything because they ignore their concerned or angry customers. They should just NOT put up a publicly availble email for consumers and just write a little F-you paragraph under the "contact us" link on their page.
  26. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    No arguments there, however with this situation we are only left with more questions than answer. A lot of peoples "bad beer" is not always bad beer. A lot of peoples emails are not doing anything to help the senders cause. The I bought bad beer and I wanted you to know email is not going to get answered as quickly when you have a number of other emails that can be more easily answered. We can make a lot of assumptions both ways hear. Without specific incidents and information it is hard to make definitive statements.

    I have had emails sent for various reasons go unanswered from breweries both big and small. I will say that any concerns I have had about questionable beer has been answered when I have sent them though I was very detailed and descriptive in my emails making it easier to respond.
  27. jtdolla911

    jtdolla911 Initiate (0) Nov 18, 2011 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Doesn't mean they ALL speak four languages. And with no response from either, it's either poor service or a language barrier, so I was giving the benefit of the doubt.
  28. 806Polarbeer

    806Polarbeer Initiate (0) Oct 18, 2012 Texas

    freakin amazing! just now caught my breath from laughing so hard.
  29. JCDenver

    JCDenver Initiate (142) Feb 8, 2010 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Odell, which is much smaller than the breweries you mentioned above, certainly does not fit that bill. An email about carbonation issues resulted in an unsolicited apology, refund, tshirt, etc. I already love their beer, but now I go out of my way to get it. And I don't even live in their distro area anymore.
  30. merc7186

    merc7186 Initiate (0) Dec 5, 2010 New York

    Whats with the abrupt Randys???
  31. kelvarnsen

    kelvarnsen Devotee (401) Nov 30, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    Well it would be nice to get some acknowledgement and some sort assurance that they have looked into the problem. If someone isn't going to get something like that how do I know this isn't an ongoing problem?

    And in response to another poster I was very detailed in my message with both my description of the problem and when and where I got the bottle.

    By comparison I also bought a bottle of Full Sail Session Dark lager while I was on the same trip.I had a question about the label so I sent a message on their website comment form. I got a response from the brewmaster via email 20 minutes later.
  32. OddNotion

    OddNotion Devotee (478) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    As mixed as my experience has been with their beers, I can say that their customer service has been nothing but top notch. Shane has gone out of his way to rectify any issues I have had, that alone keeps me buying some of his beers.
  33. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,431) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Agree. Not that they're a huge brewery, but when Russian River decided to pull out of Washington a month or two ago, I sent the brewery a quick note basically saying I've been a loyal customer for years and I'm sorry to see them go, and that I hope they decide to distribute here again someday if they reach a capacity that allows it. I got a nice message back from someone (probably someone in marketing/PR) acknowledging my email, followed later by another message directly from Vinnie. I replied, asking him for more specific information about the reason for the pullout, and he wrote back within the hour with a pretty lengthy explanation laying out how they came to the decision.

    Even if they never come back to Washington, I'll remain a Russian River enthusiast based solely on their attention to their customers—past, present, and future. How a small brewery doesn't get this—that spending a few minutes simply acknowledging emails they've received from their customers can mean the difference between long-term success and failure—is completely beyond me.
    yemenmocha likes this.
  34. KevSal

    KevSal Savant (959) Oct 17, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    track down the right email address too. sometimes there are multiple emails you can contact. contacting someone directly at the brewery than the generic email could get a much faster response

    good luck!
  35. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,431) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    typng teh eamil adres rite is aslo impotent :wink:
  36. KevSal

    KevSal Savant (959) Oct 17, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    they reply faster that way. making it a game to decode the email.

    funny thing i went back to ninja edit it and as soon as i finished up popped an alert. dammit you struck too fast
    draheim likes this.
  37. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,431) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Never try to out-ninja a ninja.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  • About Us

    Founded in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.