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Bell's Hopslam-limited release-WHY?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by MikeP64, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. MikeP64

    MikeP64 Initiate (164) Jan 24, 2015 South Carolina

    So Bell's Hopslam came and went pretty quick here in my hometown...like in 2 days. I didn't get any because I have a life and have other things going on instead of waiting for the local Bottles to open up...
    So why is Hopslam a limited release? It's not a 'fresh hop' ale...it's not a holiday seasonal.
    If it sells out so quickly people obviously love it so why not make more of it?
    Yeah yeah i know.."if they made it all the time it wouldn't be special...Just seems like odd marketing to me.
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,858) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    But that is indeed the reasoning here, right? Brew a beer periodically (i.e., seasonally) and this can indeed generate hype and associated pricing. My local retailers are charging over 22 bucks a 6-pack for Hopslam. There is still plenty around.

  3. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,285) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Hive Collapse is real bro, honey is expensive.
  4. Dragginballs76

    Dragginballs76 Poo-Bah (2,186) Nov 13, 2015 South Carolina
    Society Trader

    I am not sure where you are in SC but I am near Florence and it is still around here. I passed on it this year.
  5. Reef

    Reef Zealot (521) Dec 2, 2016 South Carolina

    I saw it in the cooler at Craft & Draft in Columbia, SC.
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,858) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I too passed. I could not justify $22+ for a 6-pack of this beer.

  7. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,185) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Don't worry double Two Hearted will be here in a few months and that will be nice. Maybe better then slam.
    Dtrain22, Ranbot, MikeP64 and 3 others like this.
  8. LarryV

    LarryV Meyvn (1,149) Jun 13, 2001 Massachusetts

    I purchased it for $19 at Total Wine just to try it and see what the hype was all about. It's pretty good, but not good enough to justify the asking price imho. I had no urge or desire to buy another.

    Personally, I'm just as content drinking a Founders Centennial IPA, I found the Hopslam to be a tad too sweet for my tastes.
    RobNewton, ESHBG, vabeerguy and 3 others like this.
  9. DoctorZombies

    DoctorZombies Poo-Bah (2,832) Feb 1, 2015 Florida
    Society Trader

    Mrs. Z was a tenured professor of advertising at UF; she calls this once a year release “scarcity marketing”. The brand builds loyalty, creates an almost impossible ability for many to obtain, then quickly sells out, satisfying those who obtain the product and building on the mystique for the unsatiated. It’s actually quite effective marketing, helps sustain high prices for the “scarce” good, and we see it all the time now in beer world. Six packs arrived here in SWFL last week and are flying off the shelves at $19.99 a 6pack. Better luck next year. Cheers!
  10. aufie

    aufie Aspirant (258) Sep 8, 2014 Texas

    Trader Joe's in Dallas got a decent allotment and they're only $17.99 for a six-pack. Still not worth it, in my opinion, but I suppose that's beside the point. I could buy TWO six-packs of beer I find just as--if not more--enjoyable than Hopslam with that money. Which I did when I passed by it yesterday.
  11. drh88

    drh88 Aspirant (235) Dec 21, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I'm enjoying one right now. And I agree that making it year round would destroy whatever hype Bells has left for this beer. I look forward to it every January. $18.69 per six pack at my store and still plenty left. Are there better beers, yes of course. But it's still damn good IMO.
    vabeerguy, hopsputin, dcotom and 3 others like this.
  12. SudsDoctor

    SudsDoctor Zealot (536) Nov 23, 2008 New York

    Most places in may area were selling 6-packs for $19.99. But a local bottle shop that I frequent was also selling single cans for $3.99. Hadn't had it in 5 years so I was hoping to pick up just a couple cans. Unfortunately they'd sold out by the time I got there. :slight_frown:
    RobNewton and vabeerguy like this.
  13. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,319) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    It very well could be a capacity and growth issue and not necessarily an intentional limitation of the product. Bell's has been expanding into new states this past year, so the Hopslam needs to be shared by more markets. The brewery has been undergoing a major expansion but I don't know if any of that capacity has come online yet. And to compound the issue, the demand for Two Hearted has been increasing and it uses a lot of the capacity and must also be shared in these same new markets. Hopefully the future product will come closer to the demand.

    P.S. If it's not too late, check out your Costco. Many reports are that they are selling Hopslam for $13.99. This may depend on state laws, but many Costcos are required to admit non-members who are looking to purchase just alcohol products.
  14. vtcraft

    vtcraft Initiate (153) Apr 1, 2013 Vermont

    Unless you like expensive sweet malty IPAs you did not miss anything. Tons sitting on the shelves in vt.
  15. hoagzzz

    hoagzzz Initiate (181) Feb 28, 2014 Pennsylvania

    I love limited release ipas/ dub ipas. Why? You get them fresh!! I wish hop stoopid and some others were the same way. I saw stoopid five-six weeks old ( warm of course) this year and jumped on it, and it was only only because a Giant supermarket just started selling beer and for a relatively fresh shipment. If slam were year round literally no one would ever get it fresh.
  16. DoctorZombies

    DoctorZombies Poo-Bah (2,832) Feb 1, 2015 Florida
    Society Trader

    True in FL, to an extent... Costco (we’re members) has an adjoining liquor store that has to let non members in to buy liquor...but the beer and wine are sold in the main member’s only store...
  17. Troutbeerbum

    Troutbeerbum Initiate (162) Dec 5, 2016 Maine

    Pretty much exactly what I was going to reply, but substitute Torpedo for Founders. Never had it, tried it, too sweet (for my taste), too expensive, but it hides the booze pretty well. When it comes around next year I will pass on it. I didn't follow social media to get it, I walked into my regular beer shop and picked it up. Bell's has so many other good offerings that I hope eventually make their way to Maine.
    vabeerguy, cavedave and LarryV like this.
  18. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,368) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    $13.99 is about where I feel this beer's price point should be for a 6er.
    LarryV, laketang, tzieser and 5 others like this.
  19. Troutbeerbum

    Troutbeerbum Initiate (162) Dec 5, 2016 Maine

    I can attest to this. Since it appeared in Maine and on grocery store shelves, This is THE ONLY craft beer I have ever seen be completely out or down to the last four pack in the grocery store craft section every time I am shopping. That's not to say it's hard to find, but it sells consistently and quickly.
    vabeerguy and PapaGoose03 like this.
  20. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (78) Mar 15, 2014 California

    They released it in 5L micro kegs and regular sized 5 gallon kegs to certain accounts as well so that might be part of why the short supply in 12 oz form.
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  21. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,405) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    The expansion was pretty much done last year. They make more Hopslam than a majority of breweries make beer.
    alucard6679, PapaGoose03 and drtth like this.
  22. JrGtr

    JrGtr Disciple (376) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    This is the first year that Hopslam was available in Massachusetts. I grabbed a 6-er when I saw it at my local, cause....
    I'm going to pass from here on out. Glad to have tried it; for a long time it was one of the highly regarded beers.
    I see it more as a reasonably hoppy barleywine than anything else. Good bitterness, but not much aroma or flavor. It's a 01/15/19 canning run too, so it's not like it's old or anything.
    LarryV, Troutbeerbum and PapaGoose03 like this.
  23. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,746) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    If it were available year-round, it might become a "Flagship", which people would then avoid in favor of other limited brews.
    sharpski, Mikexw, PapaGoose03 and 2 others like this.
  24. eldoctorador

    eldoctorador Zealot (578) Dec 12, 2014 California

    The answer of this is kind of obvious. Moving it to year-round would likely result in a decrease in sales.

    I bet there is less Breakfast Stout being sold annually now than when it was a seasonal.
    alucard6679 and Hoos78 like this.
  25. Hoos78

    Hoos78 Aspirant (236) Mar 3, 2015 Ohio

    I know the sales of Backwoods Bastard have also ground to a halt since it went year round...and it is a fan-freaking-tastic beer.
  26. eldoctorador

    eldoctorador Zealot (578) Dec 12, 2014 California

    Yeah, one of my favorites. Quite expected the dip in sales. I don't know what Founders was thinking really.
  27. raynmoon

    raynmoon Crusader (785) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado

    Hmmm, I dunno about breakfast stout. I'd bet it is doing fine year round. My reasoning: how many brewers can offer a cheap keg of a stellar coffee stout year round/ or 4-packs to stock the store. They aren't competing with hazy IPAs or fruity sours, and at its price point it is likely an easy mover at stores. Just my guess.
    SFACRKnight, PapaGoose03 and cavedave like this.
  28. Ceddd99

    Ceddd99 Initiate (122) May 14, 2018 Michigan

    We have tons sitting on the shelves here too. No desire to try it as I don't like IPAs and have never liked a beer from Bell's but it looks like most stores received a huge shipment. Maybe because I live less than 2 hours from the brewery.
  29. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,368) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    The one good thing about beers like Backwoods though is they age well, so when your periodically in the mood to grab one from the shelf, there is no worries about stale/oldness. Sending any type of hop forward "drink fresh" beer to year-round is almost always the kiss of death though.
  30. mickyge

    mickyge Crusader (791) Nov 1, 2014 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I paid 19.99 for a six pack, it's good but not great for that price. I feel it's like a tradition to have it every year like Nugget Nectar and other once a year releases. It definitely is hype, I agree with @DoctorZombies wife. Create a demand and raise the price, I also think many stand in line breweries do the same.
    DoctorZombies likes this.
  31. montman

    montman Disciple (381) Mar 10, 2009 Virginia

    Cases of it just sitting here at the last local shop I stopped by, and even some hanging around at Whole Foods. It's been there for a few weeks too, I assumed the demand had died down.
    I bought my annual can of it, and yep....still too sweet/syrupy for my personal ipa tastes.
  32. honkey

    honkey Zealot (549) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Society Industry

    Let John Mallett handle the answer:

    LarryV, nodder, tzieser and 11 others like this.
  33. MikeP64

    MikeP64 Initiate (164) Jan 24, 2015 South Carolina

    UPDATE FROM OP- Ok so I checked Bell's website and the 'find beer' option. It was for sale at a store called 'Kitchen and Co.'...a store that sell pots and pans! WTH Bells??? The store has been open for a few years and never in my wildest dreams did I expect them to sell beer...especially good beer. Putting a hard to find beer in a place like this makes no sense to me but that's another thread...Yes it was overpriced at 18.99 and surprise!..IMO not as good as last years. I still love you Bells just please make more Black Note...
    Junior likes this.
  34. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,415) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Well, Bell's beer in South Carolina is distributed by local wholesalers who typically by law can sell only to licensed retailers, so you're complaint would seem to with your state's alcoholic beverage commission for licensing the store and the regional Bell's distributor for selling them the beer, not Bell's.
    tzieser, drtth, JackHorzempa and 3 others like this.
  35. MikeP64

    MikeP64 Initiate (164) Jan 24, 2015 South Carolina

    No,my complaint is with Bell's....
    FarmerTed likes this.
  36. dlcarst

    dlcarst Initiate (90) Aug 21, 2015 Illinois

    It's plentiful where I'm at. It lasts a few weeks, and sometimes I find it after a few months when it should have been long gone. So don't necessarily blame Bell's, it may be your distributor or stores.
  37. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (1,643) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    Wow, OP. It sells out within two days in your area??? If that's not an exaggeration, that's incredible. It's lasts sometimes for several months now where I'm at. Just long enough to get old.
    If your experience isn't an exaggeration, it means either your area is behind the times--or, you're lucky for it--depending on your perspective. That was my experience with Hopslam five years ago. Not so much nowadays.
  38. dlcarst

    dlcarst Initiate (90) Aug 21, 2015 Illinois

    I was in St. Louis a week and a half ago. It was gone within a few days there. It does happen in some areas, but it's a distribution issue, not necessarily a production issue.
  39. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,285) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    I'm hard pressed to buy FBS when java stout and coffee Baltic porter are on our shelves.
  40. Hyptochrons

    Hyptochrons Meyvn (1,209) Jul 12, 2015 Massachusetts

    meh ... its showed up in VT for the first time this year, and while its pretty solid, definitely sitting around. i think as everyone else has mentioned, the little hype still remaining for this beer would be killed if it became a shelf turd.