Buyer's recommendations--trust, ignore, question

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by elNopalero, Mar 20, 2023.

  1. defunksta

    defunksta Pooh-Bah (2,608) Jan 18, 2019 Wisconsin
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Yep, check dates and check dates. For hoppy ones you can ask what's new and that can usually guide you to a good selection. If there's no date you can ask how fresh it is, otherwise you're better off not touching it if you can't be sure. Could be one year plus. Beyond asking for new and for specific reputable breweries I've already done the research on I don't depend much on the man behind the counter.

    You are probably more a beer connoisseur that this gentleman and more knowledgeable and particular. When in doubt I do a quick BeerAdvocate search on a particular beer to get a rating. If the date and reputation checks out I usually go ahead. Sometimes they ask me if I'm finding things alright because I'm looking them up on my phone and taking a long time to pick out the right selection.
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  2. elNopalero

    elNopalero Grand Pooh-Bah (4,186) Oct 14, 2009 California
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I've been tempted a few times--I saw a NA Fresh Hopped beer while visiting Portland during the season, but ultimately decided I would be happier using that travel space and purchase budget on a non-NA option.
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  3. elNopalero

    elNopalero Grand Pooh-Bah (4,186) Oct 14, 2009 California
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    This reminded me of a recent brewery visit to an old favorite. I was thrilled to see they had their special anniversary beer, a hoppy imperial pilsner, available in cans. Less thrilled to see it was not a recent release, but from their anniversary in November. A three-to-four month old pilsner is perfectly fine, and this one had just medaled at a statewide competition, but what turned me off was how quickly the bartender dismissed my interest in anything fresher. After that, I stuck with drafts and only took imperial stouts to go.
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  4. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Pundit (985) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona

    A big part of it is knowing my clientele, and the majority are older. I’m closer to a large retirement community and residential area than I am something like a university, would be a good way of putting it. So, I do make a point of stocking a good amount of traditional styles and well established brands. That is something that I’ve known many people to be hesitant or skeptical about doing, but it works for my location. It’s worth mentioning that I do have to be careful about which brands I choose for traditional style representation, but if I see that a certain style is doing particularly well I can risk stocking examples of that style from lesser known brands. It doesn’t always work out, but I’ve noticed that people generally enjoy seeing variety either way.
    I do still stock a decent amount of newer styles and up and coming local breweries that tend to follow current trends more closely because that does sell as well, and I think that it has its time and place. It’s really about balance, in my experience, and yes working with distributor reps can be a game of give and take if I’m going to get what for my department, but if you play the game well rather than just saying “yes” to everything they tout then the result is well worth it.

    Also worth mentioning, I don’t mean to make it sound as if all distributor reps act certain way or are difficult to work with because that’s definitely not the case, and I know some great people in that line of work.
  5. rgordon

    rgordon Pooh-Bah (2,627) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Same here. I've been around beer and wine for so long i can size up a place quickly. I'm an easy going shopper more likely to help other customers than ever ask for help.
  6. Shiredave

    Shiredave Maven (1,415) Aug 29, 2002 New York

    [/QUOTE] But I am left feeling like the buyer is an unreliable narrator, and I'd have been better off skipping the small talk entirely.[/QUOTE]

    If recommendations from the "beer buyer" at a grocery store results in information exposing his easily anticipated lack of beer experience, it is obviously your opportunity to roll the dice and read some labels - or risk you pass a real beer store on the way to the airport.
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  7. Shiredave

    Shiredave Maven (1,415) Aug 29, 2002 New York

    Now if you did actually find a true beer lover who had begged for the job at the grocery store he already worked at, his/her response should be something like " Dude! Do you like Oatmeal Stouts? This stuff is amazing! From a little brewery the next town over, they were a Brew Pub and just started canning. They make this awesome Imperial red too - please try them- seriously good if you like those styles. I had to bend Mgmt arms to get this in the cooler - and they allowed it only 'cuz the brewery went with the local Bud distributor and we only have 4 beer vendors we do business with. There are 3 other small distributors that carry great craft beers and a couple local breweries that have approached me to sell to us direct but we are a chain and we don't get to make many changes. Those big distrib's have merchandising people that come in and cover the faces of products they don't carry - hide them in back and stuff and I have to move them back twice a week. If I don't sell these I won't be able to get more....Oh this one is good too .... only craft beer this company distributes....." That's a person you can trust to at least give a shit.
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  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,169) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Cheers to you!
    Distributor reps have a business imperative to 'move product'. To paraphrase what is sometimes stated in gangster type movies: nothing personal, just business.:grimacing:

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  9. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Pundit (985) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona

    This is very true, but let’s just say that some people are more straightforward than others. Cheers:beers:
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  10. ZebulonXZogg

    ZebulonXZogg Pooh-Bah (2,426) May 5, 2015 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    My wife won't buy, try, go to a movie, restaurant, hospital or whatever without 10 million positive reviews on some bizarre, far off web site.....
    Sometimes ya just gotta wake up and say F@&$ It, life goes on......nobody lives forever....
  11. MrOH

    MrOH Pooh-Bah (2,999) Jul 5, 2010 Malta

    Used to be easier, but I always just pick up stuff that I don't have access to that sounds interesting. Never really need anyone's input. Now that all breweries seem to have the same things, it's a bit of a crapshoot.
    bluejacket74, ChicagoJ and elNopalero like this.
  12. jvgoor3786

    jvgoor3786 Grand Pooh-Bah (4,176) May 28, 2015 Arkansas
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I appreciate people like you! The buyer at my local store will text me when he knows stuff I may be interested in shows up. I usually buy what he recommends even if it doesn't seem like my thing. I trust him and will happily buy anything he "pushes." I also bring him beer back when I travel as a thank you. Treat your beer guy well!
  13. bubseymour

    bubseymour Grand Pooh-Bah (4,584) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    When I travel, I’ll do my homework in advance to find time to go a reputable brewery or bottle shop buy the best stuff I can’t get back home. For the OP with limited time/ grocery store pitstop I think his Beachwood and 2 mystery 4 packs as a grab and go in 5-10min was a success.
  14. Jack_14

    Jack_14 Savant (1,196) Nov 2, 2019 Italy

    Obviously I'm speaking of a totally different reality for reasons of geographical and cultural distance (here the school is much younger and after the period of "explosion of novelty" the market is now saturated).
    Without self-incensing, given that everything I learned I learned thanks to someone and that I considered to be a reliable guide and that the knowledge of such a vast and constantly evolving world can only be partial, after a few small talks I think I'm able to understand the credibility of my interlocutor.
    When I go to a new place, for the reasons mentioned above (saturated market: too many want to ride this wave, without the necessary knowledge, or worse, without the necessary passion) I always interact with the publican or with the manager of the beer shop just to get me an idea of who I'm dealing with (at the cost of being a bit talkative or "annoying"... but "ao"... I'm not a NERD at all, in this area yes, as I accept it, you must accept it too) .
    Then, based on the idea I have of the interlocutor, I decide whether to accept his advice or follow my mental concepts even in choosing beers I've never drunk or breweries I've never heard of before, based on the information on the labels or getting me a little taste from the keg .

    In general, the situation here is quite awkward as many salespeople have entered the business just to do… business. Often there is a lack of knowledge bases, there are no topics to propose, there are no details to share with the drinker who approaches this world by detaching himself from the industrial supermarket beers.
    I work in a completely different field, but in my opinion the vast majority of publicans or beershop managers fail to convey to the customer the passion that should always animate them for the product they sell and for the work they are doing, often for real and own lack of arguments and curiosities to tell to make someone passionate.
    This is one of the most serious things that can be done and which for many people relegate the world of craft beer to a mere fashion in these parts.
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  15. md3kcn

    md3kcn Savant (1,074) Feb 4, 2021 North Carolina

    I ask a random non-employee to pick out the beer with the label they find the coolest-looking.
    elNopalero likes this.
  16. TongoRad

    TongoRad Grand Pooh-Bah (3,838) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    It all depends on the vibe I get, for the most part.

    It's rare that I find someone spouting obvious bs, but then again that makes things a whole lot easier. What usually happens that makes me have second thoughts is when I hear a shop owner earnestly pushing what their regulars really like- but I get the sense that they haven't ever had a sip of any of it themselves.
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  17. GuyFawkes

    GuyFawkes Grand Pooh-Bah (4,844) Apr 7, 2011 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Right or wrong, my thought in any bottle shop when dealing with employees:
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  18. Rug

    Rug Pooh-Bah (2,898) Aug 20, 2018 Massachusetts
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Or you could end up on a side quest and get no beer. Your choice :wink:
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  19. Rug

    Rug Pooh-Bah (2,898) Aug 20, 2018 Massachusetts
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I tend to mostly just browse myself, only asking someone for help if I'm looking for something ultra specific and I haven't seen it. Or if I'm approached right as I enter the beer aisle. Otherwise I'm relying on beer recommendations from irl friends or y'all on here
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  20. 57md

    57md Pooh-Bah (2,587) Aug 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Golden Road?

    The dude discredited himself right then and there. Don't buy anything that guy is pedaling.
  21. elNopalero

    elNopalero Grand Pooh-Bah (4,186) Oct 14, 2009 California
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    ...but it's local! Just like I asked... to the letter, but not the spirit.