Barrel Aged Beers and Pricing

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by denver10, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,619) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Not to say that they have become cheap, but we have seen an a drop in price (per ounce) for many barrel aged offerings over the past couple of years. What allowed this? Were prices in the past a product of demand? Have there been any types of changes in how these beers are produced? Something else?
     
  2. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,990) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    I haven't had that many barrel aged beers, quite a few were one offs, but GI BCBS has gone up every year since it came to Casper. So, naturally, I haven't seen a drop in prices. You fellas in Colorado are lucky, I reckon.
     
  3. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,619) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Not about any specific beer, so much the overall market.

    What was once the cost of 22 ounce bomber, one can now get a 4 pack for it seems (if not less).

    And I am no longer Colorado, they do have it good.
     
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  4. SteelersX

    SteelersX Disciple (337) Jan 30, 2011 New York
    Trader

    In my opinion barrel-aged stouts and barleywines, when done right, are the best things on the market. thing is, younguns are running to any IPA they can find.
     
  5. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,990) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Which 4packs are you seeing in NM that qualify?
     
  6. Ffenski

    Ffenski Devotee (404) Apr 24, 2008 Ohio
    Society

    I would say supply (I have seen more BA beers on the shelves) and competition (more brewers brewing said beers).
     
  7. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,619) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico


    Odell's Barreled Treasure, Marble's Imperial Stout, another local one, Founders KBS, I think Oskar Blues BA Tenfidy, off the top of my head.
     
  8. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,619) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    That is my initial thought too.

    Despite all the talk about the cost of barrels, the cost for aging, etc, I think the new price points is more an indicator that those things never truly influenced the high price points.....it was always about demand; the brewery could charge that much, so they did.

    Now that there is so much more competition, we are starting to see the scale shift on the supply vs demand battle and thus the lowered price points, the more appealing packaging mediums, etc.

    But, I guess, also I am just not knowledgeable enough to know if the reduced price point could albe due to breweries starting to use used barrels, or more blends (some barrel age beer combined with the basic base beer), etc.
     
  9. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,990) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Ahh..the Odell Barrelled Treasure...I bought a 4pack and drank 1. Gotta do a review. Prost!
     
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  10. Ffenski

    Ffenski Devotee (404) Apr 24, 2008 Ohio
    Society

    I thought I've seen on here that high-quality bourbon barrels are becoming harder to find due to demand, so that should actually push prices up a little you would think.
     
  11. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,619) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    That would make sense but how many of these barrel aged beers are using those high end barrels?

    How much influence do they play on the actual beer? Would I be able to differentiate a BA beer with a high end barrel from a BA beer with a lesser barrel?
     
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  12. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Initiate (198) Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts
    Trader

    IDK- I am trying to wrap my head around a barrel aged stout costing north of 25 bucks when 12 year old scotch doesn't cost much more. I know there are factors that explain at least some of this discrepancy , but if anything it seems barrel aged stouts and wild ales are still going up in cost- at least here in New England and amongst the "it and hyped" breweries across the country.
     
  13. Ffenski

    Ffenski Devotee (404) Apr 24, 2008 Ohio
    Society

    I'm sure the number of brewers wanting to use high end bourbon barrels is declining due to cost and supply. I'm also sure many brewers are saying "Yes I'll take those bourbon barrels even though they once carried BillBob's Bargain Basement bourbon".
    I believe there was a thread regarding differentiating quality BBA beers from the non-goods, and I don't think I would be able to tell the difference.
     
  14. drunkenmess

    drunkenmess Champion (864) Mar 27, 2015 Michigan
    Trader

    I'm pretty sure it depends on location, location, location. As I mean state, region, how its distributed and by who. Also each bottle shop and what the owner wants to charge.
    I've seen soo many different fluctuated prices on different BA beers, big and small, at different stores thru out MI. Some good for the price some ridiculous for others. Haven't really seen a difference in the last few years on prices, tho.

    For instance, BCBS has been the same price for many years around here. Granted it also depends on each store you frequent. Anywhere from $9.99 to $20.00 (gouge) But has not changed for many years. As well as (i.e.) Dragons Milk. Usually goes for $16.99/4pk at most local beer store/grocers.
    Yet a few places carry it for $12.99 all day

    Go figure... :beers:
     
  15. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,137) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    One thing to consider is that the infrastructure for distributing used spirit barrels is probably much more robust than 20 years ago. This would mean that a craft brewer in 2000 who wanted to bba a beer would likely require some fairly concerted effort on their part to coordinate obtaining those barrels. This process is much more streamlined now which probably contributes a bit to the increased cost of the barrels but also cuts out the cost of the employee who was previously charged with the acquisition
    In general though I have not noticed any large declines in bba beer price
     
  16. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,619) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

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  17. DIM

    DIM Poo-Bah (2,753) Sep 28, 2006 Pennsylvania
    Society

    As others have already said, the move away from large format bottles, especially those with contemptible corks and cages, are helping drive down the cost per ounce of barrel-aged beers.

    And the market is completely saturated with high-quality barrel-aged offerings right now. I went beer shopping last night and I had a very difficult time deciding what NOT to buy. Soooo many wonderful offerings in small-format singles and four packs. Quintuple or omnituple or whatever the hell it was big bad Baptist was an EASY pass.

    Ten years ago barrel aged beer was a relatively rare treat, maybe a couple per month, and without all that much variety. What a time to be alive... My basement has more variety than any place I shopped 10 years ago.
     
  18. needMIbeer

    needMIbeer Crusader (736) Feb 5, 2014 Virginia
    Trader

    To me it seems that many beers that were once more limited are now widely produced and therefore more available. The greater availability of product doesn't allow for retailers to mark up to the same extent that they once could with a rarer product.
     
  19. honkey

    honkey Zealot (572) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Society Industry

    I don't think we've seen a price decrease in AZ for barrel aged beers from our local breweries. Around $1/oz is pretty typical and has been since I moved here a little over 3 years ago.
     
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  20. mogulskier

    mogulskier Initiate (76) Feb 3, 2019 California

    Haven't noticed any price reductions in the Bay Area for Barrel-Aged beers. Pricing is either holding steady or getting more expensive. Then again, every thing in California is expensive, so it's all relative.
     
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  21. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Defender (614) Mar 28, 2009 California

    I’ve seen it both ways. There are more 4 packs of BA beers now than ever such as BA ten fidy, CBS, Big Baptist, which has driven the cost down.

    However, i’ve Also seen the price go up. BCBS is now in a larger bottle format. Bottle Logic BA beers are less than 22 ozs and go for over $20. Firestone is now in a smaller format at a higher cost per ounce. Then if you look at the smaller local more hyped brewers such as Horus, three chiefs etc they are all selling at a higher cost. Also, Modern Times is still selling there’s at something like $30 a bomber.

    So I would say it depends. Larger breweries with out the hype and flavor additions are being sold in small format bottles for less while the BA stuff from smaller hype breweries are being sold higher.
     
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  22. officerbill

    officerbill Devotee (434) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society

    This is probably it. As more BA beers are brewed brewers are less discerning about the source of the barrels and are buying discount barrels from discount distilleries. A few BA beers name the bourbon that was in the barrels, but most don't. I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of BA beers didn't use barrels from "industrial" distilleries putting out the bottomest of bottom shelf bourbon.
     
  23. honkey

    honkey Zealot (572) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Society Industry

    I doubt that's the answer (if the price decrease is a real phenomenon... I haven't seen it myself). The barrels are a small part of the cost of the beer. My brewery does have high storage costs associated with aging since we have a temperature controlled barrel facility which bumps the price some. The barrel does increase the cost of the beer obviously, but not dramatically. For me, our barrel aged beers are the price that they are in large part because they are so much more work and that's what it is worth to me to put that time and effort into it. If we didn't get a great margin on barrel aged beers, I simply wouldn't brew them. I know that's not the answer people want to hear, but it's just the honest truth. If I was going to make only slightly better margins than what I make on a normal beer, it simply wouldn't be worth it to do. If people are willing to pay the price, I'll brew the beer and if they're not then I won't and I'll miss the 1 or 2 bottles that I keep from each batch.
     
  24. dukeandduke

    dukeandduke Meyvn (1,247) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois
    Society Trader

    The two largest Chicago producers, Goose Island and Revolution, have increased prices the past few years, both onsite pours and distribution. Revolution cans for the Deep Wood Series increased substantially the past few years, GI about a $1 a bottle and from $5 / 5 oz to $7 / 5 oz onsite the past 2-3 years. Still buy, just not as much (both draft and canned/bottle).

    Smaller producers seem to be charging a lot as well, with mixed results regarding quality. I do agree with the pleasant price decrease by the national / large regionals, with Founders (KBS/CBS) and Lagunitas Willettized the prime examples of quality offerings which have dropped in price per oz w/ shift from bombers to 12 oz servings. KBS has been shelf turding it up in Chicago, surprised they are going year round with the glut in supply.
     
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  25. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Defender (614) Mar 28, 2009 California

    Does loss count in the equation as well? I was at a local brewery with a BA barleywine on tap. It’s was double the price of everything else and a 32oz Crowler was $30. I was talking to the owner who said they used heaven hill barrels and said they aged it for @1 1/2 years. He mentioned they had to dump one full barrel.

    I figured the time cost of storage and loss had to drive up the price, especially given it’s a small local brewery.
     
  26. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (341) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia
    Trader

    That's not correct at all. There is no such thing as an "industrial" distillery, I mean there is but they are not making beverage alcohol. Read up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_whisky_brands#Kentucky_bourbon

    By and large Beam, Sazerac, Heaven Hill, Brown Forman, Wild Turkey, Four Roses are the big players. Some of these companies own multiple distilleries (Beam has a facility for Maker's Mark for example). They also contract produce for other brands such as Four Roses makes Bulleit for Diageo. Outside of KY, there's TN: DIckel and Jack (who's barrels are coveted in Jamaica, Scotland, and Jalisco, even though #7 isn't anything to get too excited about) Dickel, and MGPi in Indiana.

    A barrel's usefulness for beer isn't any higher/better (or worse) based on what the spirit is called after leaving the barrel, and it's not like they intentionally use worse make or lower quality barrels to make mid/low shelf bourbon. Most of these distilleries use one mashbill (BT uses 3 bourbon mashbills which is the most I've heard of) and then use the best barrels they can get. The differentiation in finished bourbon is based on 1) rickhouse position 2) how long the whiskey is aged. That's it. They aren't using worse corn, or crappier barrels, or any of the other things you are insinuating. The 4yr bourbons that are $14.99 for a 750 are what americans like to drink- if they aged everything for 15yrs the evaporation would be such that they'd have to charge way more than their main normal customers want to pay. Those barrels are perfectly fine for reuse by Scotch distilleries or brewers, in fact there's an argument those 4yr barrels might have more "life"/ more usefulness than a 23yr PVW barrel that has had high proof bourbon in it for over 2 decades.The spirit strips the oak of fats, proteins, tannin... "flavor" and the expansion and contraction via the seasons in the relatively uninsulated rickhouse increases over time.


    With all due respect, what you are saying doesn't even make any sense and you're not doing anyone any favors by spitballing on something you are quite clearly not informed on.
     
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  27. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,382) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Trader

    BA1050 is the same price I used to pay for non BA 1050. So theres that. I think the breweries that are older are having a hard time moving the beers like the next generation of breweries is.
     
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  28. officerbill

    officerbill Devotee (434) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society

    sigh
    It's a figure of speech intended to refer to a distillery that churns out large quantities of cheap bourbon for multiple brands with the primary focus on volume and low cost with little, if any, concern for quality so long as the bourbon is drinkable and meets the minimum federal definition of bourbon.

    You're implying that all brewers use barrels from quality distillers. I'm implying that, without a named distiller, that might not be true.
    from Wikipedia
    The Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits state that bourbon made for U.S. consumption must be:
    • Produced in the United States
    • Made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn
    • Aged in new, charred oak containers
    • Distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (80% alcohol by volume)
    • Entered into the container for aging at no more than 125 proof (62.5% alcohol by volume)
    • Bottled (like other whiskeys) at 80 proof or more (40% alcohol by volume)
    Bourbon has no minimum specified duration for its aging period. Products aged for as little as three months are sold as bourbon."

    These rules leave a lot of wiggle room and only apply to bourbon intended for domestic consumption. I have no idea if there even are any rules regarding bourbon intended for foreign consumption.

    There are distilleries around the world producing "bourbon". That aging barrel for the lower priced BBA stout could very well have come from the Gaolong distillery in China, D.M. Distillery Co. in Mexico, Sikkim Distillery in India, South Pacific Distillery in New Zealand, Tasmania Distillery in Australia or any one of the other foreign distilleries making "bourbon".
     
    #28 officerbill, Jan 12, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
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  29. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Defender (614) Mar 28, 2009 California

    Forgot all about Willettized. That was one of the first to lower the price on BA stouts.

    Since you mentioned Revolution are you a fan of straight Jacket?
     
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  30. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Initiate (198) Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Thanks once again for your informative honesty. I bought two of your barrel aged beers when I visited my dad in AZ last year. I think one was a rum barrel aged stout and the other was a Calvados barrel aged stout. I enjoyed both, but at the price point, it has to be a rare treat. I also really enjoyed the IPAs as well. Definitely going to pay a visit on my next trip down.
     
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  31. keithmurray

    keithmurray Meyvn (1,353) Oct 7, 2009 Connecticut

    When will the price of Parabola come down?
     
  32. dukeandduke

    dukeandduke Meyvn (1,247) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois
    Society Trader

    I really liked Straight Jacket (4.25), I did not like Strawberry Jacket (3.25), too sweet for my taste.

    Cafe Deth and VSOD were my two favorites in the Deep Woods Series 2019-2020. Cafe Deth ranked with my favorite BCBS Coffee (2012), VSOD my favorite version yet. Revolution has passed Bourbon County stouts over the past two years, though GI still produces very good variants at times. I really liked the Prop, Reserve and Cafe de Olla 2019 stouts, too many misses last year.
     
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  33. woodchipper

    woodchipper Meyvn (1,145) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut
    Society

    Just paid $24 and change for a 4-pack of KBS Esrpesso.
     
  34. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,551) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    If there is an overall price decline - and I suspect that there is - I can only suspect that it is due to the incredible amount of BBA beers on the market today, which reduces the extra profit a brewery can charge while expecting to maintain competitive.

    As @honkey pointed out, the price a brewery charges for a BBA imperial stout has been, basically, what they feel is worth it - not what they need to make a minimum profit margin. Did 50/50 really need to charge $30 per bottle of Eclipse? Almost certainly not - but they could, and did.

    Now if you're a brewery trying to pitch yourself as an alternative to $20-30 BBA stouts, are you going to be able to guarantee that your beer will be just as good, or better, than these established brands? Probably not, in most cases. But can you eat a smaller (but still large) profit margin, and thereby make your beer more attractive by price margin? You definitely can do that.

    It's also fairly straightforward economics: when the supply of BBA beers is relatively small, the price is higher. When there is more competition and more supply, the price is (on average) lower. Not for every brand or bottle (if you can get away with charging a premium based on the quality of your product or your brand recognition, why wouldn't you?), but overall in the market.
     
  35. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,551) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader


    That's a good example, too: 48 ounces of a limited edition flavored BBA imperial stout, for $24. 22 ounces of that same beer, 10 years ago, would easily have gone for a $30 asking price. More than double the beer, for a smaller price.

    CBS 750s around here opened at $18.99. That's absolutely ludicrously low compared to what we used to pay.
     
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  36. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Crusader (731) May 3, 2016 Illinois
    Trader

    Most of the mass market stuff has come down in price or shifted formats so you get more for the same price while the small, local stuff that is big on hype and limited in production continues to command higher premiums...
     
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  37. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,990) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    The only store in Casper is still asking $26 for a 750. I reckon that they will have to sell out before I see the 2019s in the smaller packaging.
     
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  38. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,990) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    In general, I have seen a lot of price creep. For all beers. Most are quite subtle but I tend to look closely so I notice. 4 packs of Wind River 16 ouncers used to be $9.90, now they are an even $10. Sneaky.
     
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  39. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,382) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Trader

    $6 a bottle is roughly half of what it costs me to buy similar products from Firestone and Avery.
     
  40. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (341) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia
    Trader

    Sigh

    With absolutely zero evidence, you're foolishly building a (very faulty) case that breweries in the USA are having barrels shipped from China / India / New Zealand (lol, do you know how much it costs to ship to and from NZ?) instead of using American Oak barrels from KY/ IN/ TN?

    These are wild (read: idiotic) claims, to say nothing of the TTB definitely not permitting what you are fantasizing about, it makes zero sense economically or even logistically. What craft brewer would order (fake knockoff bourbon) barrels from China? Also if you knew anything about which you speak, you'd know that the fake "Bourbon" that is sold in those local markets, is basically rum not whiskey at all, and they don't use actual oak barrels for price reasons (it's counterfeit and un-exportable), it's mostly smoke and mirrors and caramel color and additives, maybe oak staves if you're lucky.

    Take a lap dude, you're out of your league.