Bottle shops selling out of distro beer

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Johnnyramirez, May 20, 2013.

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  1. Johnnyramirez

    Johnnyramirez Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2012 California

    So, what's everyone's thoughts on this? I see more and more blatant illegal selling of beer in shops and people advertising on Instagram/Facebook that they have out of distro beer for sale at their shop. Personally, I'm against it for a number of reasons, but does anyone think this should be allowed? My former local shop even offered me $100+ for certain bottles in my cellar, which is what actually caused me to stop going there. But do any of you guys think these type of shops are assets to the craft beer scene?
  2. TheBigEast

    TheBigEast Initiate (0) Oct 21, 2004 New York

    As a consumer, I think it's great. Americans should be free to buy any beer we want. But the goofy beer laws we have in this country often prevent it.
  3. StoutSnob40

    StoutSnob40 Poo-Bah (3,008) Jan 4, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Yeah, I think it's bullshit that I live/shop for beer within 5 miles of Stone, yet I have never seen a bottle of Enjoy By on the shelves.
    JohnnyMc and SDbeer like this.
  4. LukeH

    LukeH Initiate (0) May 5, 2013 Minnesota

    I'd say; respect and follow the law. Otherwise, you are just a step or two above a drug dealer.
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  5. Johnnyramirez

    Johnnyramirez Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2012 California Don't they have it every release? How do you not see it?
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  6. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (12,644) Apr 18, 2007 Florida
    Society Trader

    i think that these shops are E-Bay like especially if they advertise and seek brews to exploit the market.. IMO
  7. StoutSnob40

    StoutSnob40 Poo-Bah (3,008) Jan 4, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    No idea. It must always be gone by the time I get into the 15 stores I frequently visit. It's like a joke.
    johnsonni likes this.
  8. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Savant (972) Sep 4, 2010 California

    So you're saying that you would like stores closer to you to go buy Enjoy By bottles at the brewery and mark them up a couple extra bucks?
  9. StoutSnob40

    StoutSnob40 Poo-Bah (3,008) Jan 4, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Sure, if it meant I could occasionally get a bottle. I don't mind a little gouging every once and a while.
    SammyJaxxxx and Eriktheipaman like this.
  10. BKBassist

    BKBassist Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2013 New York

    I think distribution laws are screwy and don't aid any of the parties involved. I don't drink in DC, but are the prices for out of standard distro stuff super crazy? If it's a case of getting something rare and charging ridiculous prices for it, I'm not down.

    That being said, they are the laws and we should abide by them.

    Cool way of getting around it are giveaways. Bar by me was giving away a Heady Topper to anyone who answered a fairly obscure trivia question. It made a fun night and no laws were broken.
  11. willbm3

    willbm3 Initiate (0) Feb 19, 2010 Massachusetts

    From a consumer standpoint it's obviously a good thing, unless of course they're holding it for a king's ransom. However I can't really advocate breaking the law and it puts other businesses who don't want to break the law at a disadvantage. I haven't seen any shops selling "imported" goods, but a few bars in Boston have been known to import Heady Topper from time to time.
    jrnyc likes this.
  12. Johnnyramirez

    Johnnyramirez Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2012 California

    What do you guys consider a fair price for these beers that are out of distro? What's a fair markup? They have to trade for them or travel to get them, make up that cost and still cut a profit. So what's a fair markup?
  13. LMT

    LMT Initiate (0) Oct 15, 2009 Virginia

    Laws that are unjust are made to be broken. I know I'll get a bunch of hate for that, but that's how I personally feel.

    Look at it this way...if this were say, 1923, and there was a thriving illegal craft beer store near you, how many here would not buy beer from it just because "well, that's the law?"
  14. BKBassist

    BKBassist Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2013 New York

    But is there a way to break this law without screwing one of the parties?

    - Bar gets out of distro kegs to sell at their own establishment. Original brewer doesn't (most likely) get kegs back, loses hundreds of dollars in deposits.

    - People get gouged to hell to buy out of distro beer. $12 cans of Heady is one that I've seen. $3 at the brewery, through normal distro would probably be $6.

    I think that prohibition is something of a poor analogy.
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  15. LukeH

    LukeH Initiate (0) May 5, 2013 Minnesota

    It's not 1923. Grow up; you aren't above the law,
  16. rboinski

    rboinski Initiate (0) Mar 19, 2012 California

    It's a good thing, gives people who don't trade on BA (also illegal) a chance to try stuff us traders get.
  17. mnguyen281

    mnguyen281 Initiate (0) Apr 9, 2009 Texas

    Fair markup is whatever a person is willing to spend. I'd be ECSTATIC to have an opportunity to drop $50 on any BCBS variant, BT variant, etc down here in this beer wasteland called Texas. For the right beer, I'd happily spend more. Basic economics, supply and demand. Just because one person thinks its a ripoff doesn't mean a second person will feel the same. $50 for a bramble isn't bad anyway when you factor in searching, trade value, extras, shipping, waiting, possibility of damage. Eff that. I wish I had a bottle store here who would do all that, and all I'd have to do is walk in and pay for it.
    FriarTuckInLuck and jmgrub like this.
  18. LMT

    LMT Initiate (0) Oct 15, 2009 Virginia

    I'm grown up and have my own brain. Am I supposed to be intimidated by this statement?
  19. LukeH

    LukeH Initiate (0) May 5, 2013 Minnesota

    And your own brain says "whatever laws I don't like, I don't have to follow. I'm just that cool."
  20. LMT

    LMT Initiate (0) Oct 15, 2009 Virginia

    Thank you for an actual thoughtful disagreement to what I said.

    I think your first statement is a legitimate concern. As for the second point, people wouldn't need to buy any of it if they didn't want to do so. Again, thank you for the civil post.
  21. Barrel_age_me

    Barrel_age_me Initiate (0) Dec 26, 2012 Ohio

    The bottom line is if a brewery doesn't distribute to a certain area then a retail store or a bar should not be selling their products! If the brewery wanted them to, then they would be in that area! Its ridiculous if any place thinks that's ok.
    craigo19, KarlHungus and LukeH like this.
  22. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Savant (972) Sep 4, 2010 California

    I think it all just comes back to trading then. If you trade your argument doesn't hold any weight.

    edit: not you personally per say but for sake of argument.
  23. backbaybrewer

    backbaybrewer Initiate (160) Feb 26, 2010 Massachusetts

    It's a bit of a logical fallacy to assume that because a brewer does not distribute somewhere that it necessarily follows that they don't want to distribute there. Furthermore, who cares what they want? If you really wanted to buy a Sony tv but the company didn't want them sold in Ohio, would you care what they wanted? Or does this only apply to beer?
    BrettHead and jmgrub like this.
  24. mcrago

    mcrago Initiate (0) Oct 6, 2012 Indiana

    Trading for your own consumption is illegal?
  25. Johnnyramirez

    Johnnyramirez Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2012 California

    I've heard that it is and that it isnt, but its definitely 100% illegal to ship USPS
  26. DmouthCaliBrewz

    DmouthCaliBrewz Initiate (144) Mar 29, 2013 New Hampshire

    lol I think that one might be your fault its not that hard to get bro. Plus, Stone distribution is amazing
  27. jmgrub

    jmgrub Aspirant (211) Nov 20, 2010 California

    Don't really get how any consumer could ever be upset about the availability of out-of-market beers in their area. If you decide to purchase such a beer at a purveyor of out-of-market bottles, you are getting a beer you normally wouldn't have had the choice to purchase in the first place. If you decide not to purchase such a bottle, no skin off your back-it's not as if the beer is normally available in your area anyway. In any event, it's not as if the store is ever depriving you as a customer of anything by giving you the option.

    I totally understand why store owners would be upset by the practice-if they decide not to engage in the practice so as to comply with the law, they are missing out on customers who will likely purchase other items during their visit at the store. If they decide to follow along, they are exposing themselves to legal liability, both fines and penalties that bare on their ability to carry on selling alcohol. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario for stores, especially given the lax enforcement by state regulators that makes it unlikely that stores selling out-of-market beers will be penalized.

    At the same time, I think what mitigates the potential loss of customer dollars is the fact that those BAs who go to certain stores just to buy certain out of market beers probably also shop at all the other quality stores in the area. Most of the BAs I know frequent multiple beer stores, and most frequent some stores that engage in the practice and others that don't (oftentimes in the same shopping trip).

    As for people who complain that customers are being gouged by stores: if someone is willing to buy a luxury product (emergency scenario gouging is inherently absent from this discussion because nobody ever NEEDS a certain bottle) at a premium, they are not getting gouged. This is a meeting of the minds between the store owner, who sets the price, and the purchaser, who agrees to pay that price.

    TM-DL: As a consumer, I'm happy for the option to purchase, even with a significant markup. If I were a store owner, I'd feel as if I was in a bit of a bind, though I wouldn't lose sleep over it.
  28. GRG1313

    GRG1313 Poo-Bah (3,904) Jan 15, 2009 California
    Society Trader

    jmgrub is right on. Period. As I've said before, no one has a gun to any of our heads to buy beer. If you don't like the price or the practice - don't buy and don't shop there. Easy.

    Interestingly, and just for a moment, each of us should stop and think how we would feel if we were deprived of making as much money as we could in our given fields because some people simply thought we charged too much. Everyone looks at the medical providers, legal providers and crazy salaries and bonuses of CEO's of Fortune 500 companies as just being "too high or too expensive."

    However, what about trash collectors or store check out clerks or auto mechanics or steel workers or auto workers or the aircraft industry or people who work for Ebay, Google, Yahoo, etc. etc. etc. Do we all just "make" too much" when someone else is doing the judging? Sort of a case of "whose ox is gored." No?

    I'm for the good old greedy American way! Charge as much as you can and the market will sort it all out. I'm sure when Albert Pujols or Tiger Woods or the "you name him/her athlete" is paid $100 million they don't say, "oh no, please, not so much," any more than the Retail Clerks or the Teamsters turn down their hourly rate that they fight so hard for - fight for as much as they can get in rate and benefits! We all try to get paid as much as we can - end of story. Let the beer store charge whatever they want. The market will govern. And, just in case anyone forgets, it is precisely this conduct.....charging as much as we can and what the market will bear, that causes all of us to pay more. (Well, except for each of our professions/jobs, of course; WE deserve what WE'RE paid!)

    Ok. No more pontificating! Sorry...! JMO
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  29. 4Socialanxiety

    4Socialanxiety Aspirant (277) Apr 21, 2012 Tennessee

    That is just the point! If it is ok for them to pick and choose what laws they enforce, why should we not be able to pick and choose which laws we obey? Using your logic from your first post, it would still be braking the law regardless and we should "Respect and follow" the law, correct?
    tweezer159 likes this.
  30. socon67

    socon67 Poo-Bah (2,612) Jun 18, 2010 New York

    Its not an asset, but when these releases become more valuable it is naturally going to happen. If I benefit from being able to buy something I can't normally get, then its a positive for me and the shop selling it.
    4Socialanxiety likes this.
  31. willbm3

    willbm3 Initiate (0) Feb 19, 2010 Massachusetts

    Because we're not animals; we live in a society.
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  32. 4Socialanxiety

    4Socialanxiety Aspirant (277) Apr 21, 2012 Tennessee

    Thanks Jim Jeffries! I'm not saying brake the law but, some laws are so outdated and not supported by the majority that they should have been changed along time ago. That includes a lot of the laws bars and beers stores have to follow. In Tennessee you can't sell water in a Liquor store or any non-alcoholic beverage for that matter.
  33. BKBassist

    BKBassist Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2013 New York

    I don't think general price gouging is the issue here, we're talking about price gouging for out of distro product. The shopkeeper, regardless of your feelings about the law, is breaking it by selling that product, regardless of price.

    The gouging thing is another argument entirely. Do you want to pay $10 for a bottle of Two Hearted that would be $2.50 in distro area? Is it morally wrong to charge it? It is 100% legally wrong,however,based on current law, outside of DC.
  34. LukeH

    LukeH Initiate (0) May 5, 2013 Minnesota

    As contrarion and ODD as you are, I think you already know the answer to that question. Drive a red car down Lake Street; nobody is going to care. But try to break the liquor laws of MN or TN; people are DEFINITELY going to care. You aren't as devoid of common sense as you pretend to be.
  35. 4Socialanxiety

    4Socialanxiety Aspirant (277) Apr 21, 2012 Tennessee

    OK, I get it now, only brake the laws no one cares about. Thats easy enough. But, I will need a way of finding out which ones they are going to enforce and the ones they are not. I think they have that on the Tennessee State Police web site. Don't they?
  36. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Savant (972) Sep 4, 2010 California

    Don't feed the trolls they get pretty hungry this time of day. *There's nothing to see here*
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  37. socon67

    socon67 Poo-Bah (2,612) Jun 18, 2010 New York

    I think *blatant* selling of out of distro beer is a pretty big issue, and likely stupid for the shop owner if a competitor blows the whistle on them.

    The shop that stashes a case of some rare that dsoesn't ship to the state and sells it on the side to some customers is a minor issue.
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  38. Johnnyramirez

    Johnnyramirez Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2012 California

    I dont mind price gouging too much, to a degree. I will gladly support a mom and pop shop and pay extra than I would at say a Safeway or BevMo. However my issue is that I see people run a legitimate business and not break the law and they lose customers because x stores are selling Heady, Alpine, KRBC at $15 per can or bottle and getting away with it. Now, I trade, but I do so for personal consumption and to share it. If I did the same thing these shops are doing, people would crucify on the boards for profiting off beer, why are retailers free from this scolding?
  39. willbm3

    willbm3 Initiate (0) Feb 19, 2010 Massachusetts

    It's not that no one cares about them, it's that they're legally unenforceable. Lets not act like we're imbeciles here. Believe it or not, it's not exactly a legislative priority to clear centuries-old unenforceable laws off the books. If you would like them to be cleared, perhaps you should contact your local representative. If you would like to buy water at a liquor store, perhaps you should write your representative and ask them to change that law. That's just sorta how this whole government thing works.
  40. rc51sport

    rc51sport Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2013 North Carolina

    Who is this person that cares?
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