Hill Farmstead Bait and Switch?

Discussion in 'US - Northeast' started by rodmanfor3, Aug 11, 2018.

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  1. rodmanfor3

    rodmanfor3 Savant (931) Aug 11, 2014 Vermont

    Following Hill Farmstead's announcement on Friday, August 3rd, 2018, regarding the onsite availability of Westly at the brewery this week, I decided to make a special trip up to Greensboro to get a taste of Sante's famed beer.

    I was, however, thoroughly disappointed this afternoon when I arrived at Hill Farmstead, only to be told by a staff member that Westly had apparently "sold out" on Thursday afternoon.

    Given the wording in the original post on their website, I interpreted the announcement to read that the Tim Clifford Residency Beers, along with Bernice, Cellarman, and Westly, would all be available throughout week, and that only 6th Anniversary and Matrices would run the risk of running out, based on their limited allotment.

    At no point during the week did I see any updates from Hill Farmstead indicating that Westly had sold out or had been removed (for whatever reason) from the onsite menu. I was quite disheartened to hear the news, after having taken the day off to make a special trip to the brewery.

    As a consolation prize, draft pours of Capitola Sunset were being offered as part of the onsite draft menu. While Capitola Sunset is also a great beer, it was a distant second to the Westly that I had centered my trip to the brewery around.

    From the perspective of a loyal Hill Farmstead fan, I found the whole situation deflating and highly questionable. I found myself wondering how honest the, "We sold out on Thursday," line was in response to the disappearance of Westly from the onsite offerings menu. For a brewery that plans every release and every social media post down to the minutia, it seemed like a giant oversight to suddenly run out of a popular guest beer in two days. At some point, I would have thought that someone at the brewery would have had the presence of mind to realize that Westly bottles were selling at a rapid pace on, say, Wednesday or Thursday, and, upon observing such facts, would have made an adjustment to their onsite cellar allocations to make sure that bottles of Westly would last throughout the week, as advertised.

    It also made me ponder whether current allocations of bottles of Westly were pulled from the Hill Farmstead onsite menu because they were detracting from the popularity of the Tim Clifford Residency Beers, which seemed to be the focus of the original post. Perhaps, given the hype surrounding Westly and the high demand it created at the brewery, the staff at Hill Farmstead decided to remove the beer from Friday's list to shine greater focus on their own beers, including those created during Tim Clifford's residency period?

    Now, I understand that many people will be upset with me for creating this post, and respond in anger with lines like, "You should be happy to have the opportunity to try any of these world class beers!" and, "You are so entitled!" but I felt that it was a topic that was worth discussing. Breweries should be held to a certain standard of honesty in communication and overall transparency in the way they conduct their business with the public. It is reasonable, as a consumer, to expect an advertised product or service to be made available, when requested, throughout the duration of the promotional period, without issue.

    The fact of the matter is that Hill Farmstead advertised the availability of Westly for "onsite enjoyment" this week without restrictions. There was no mention of limited availability of Westly in the original post. At no time during the week did the brewery post any updates regarding the stock of Westly being depleted. Up until the moment on Friday when one viewed the onsite menu for the first time or inquired about its availability with a staff member at Hill Farmstead, the general assumption was that bottles of Westly were available at the brewery. What transpired at Hill Farmstead on Friday seems to me like a craft beer bait and switch.

    For me, Friday's trip to Hill Farmstead was all about getting to try Westly. It has been a beer that I have been chasing for nearly four years. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to get to try a personal whale of mine at a fair menu price, at my very favorite brewery, no less. In reading the description given by Hill Farmstead in their original post, I thought that it would be reasonable to assume that Westly would be available on Friday, when I finally got a break in my schedule. I felt that this trip was warranted; others have traveled greater distances for lesser beers. At the end of the day, though, Hill Farmstead let me down.

    It would have taken a minimal amount of effort for Hill Farmstead to update their website or social media accounts to reflect a change in the availability of Westly as part of this week's onsite menu. Such an update would have redirected my plans for Friday and prevented an otherwise beautiful day from being loused up by an apparent lack of attention to detail.

    FarmerTed and warrendietrich2001 like this.
  2. duchessedubourg

    duchessedubourg Aspirant (260) Nov 2, 2007 Vermont

    Bob's likely up in Quebec at Dunham tonight, prepping for Foudres Unis fest tomorrow. Wonder if he is reading your post out loud to the rest of the brewers over dinner. (Someone please translate for the Francophones for maximum discussion.) Or not! My ears will be open, and my mouth closed there tomorrow, because I'd rather hear it from the horse's mouth than subscribe to the speculation you offer...
    Sabtos and GrimmGrinninGhost like this.
  3. Haze4daysWithaG

    Haze4daysWithaG Initiate (0) Apr 25, 2018 Connecticut

    All I hear here is wahh wahh I’ma cry baby. This happens all the time. At all different breweries. Westly isn’t even that good, bro.
    forum8417, chippo33, Sabtos and 10 others like this.
  4. Brad007

    Brad007 Poo-Bah (4,022) Mar 28, 2007 Vermont

    Agreed on the first part about people posting stuff like this. That's energy that would be best used contacting the brewery directly. If they are not aware of dissatifaction, how are they supposed to address it? Do contact them and let them know in a respectful way.

    That being said, have never had a bad beer from Hill Farmstead nor any difficulty whatsoever. I just don't visit often enough and that's easier now that I'm closer to Johnson and 15 through Hardwick and then Greensboro Corners. I've memorized the drive.
    7irondave likes this.
  5. HarbaughsGrit

    HarbaughsGrit Initiate (59) Sep 9, 2017 Indiana

    Are you originally from Chicago?
    Sabtos and braineater like this.
  6. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Aspirant (294) Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts

    I'm guessing you are looking for some sympathy? But you choose the internet as a forum to get it... I suspect it is going to get worse before it gets better, it it does. Given the length of your post and the audacity to take umbrage with Hill Farmstead, I doubt you will find satisfaction. Plus, just call ahead bro. It has saved me from at least a few needless trips.
  7. Justin42

    Justin42 Aspirant (229) Apr 3, 2013 Massachusetts

    Why not call ahead? Also, bait and switch implies they lured you in knowing they didn’t have what you wanted and then tried to pressure to buy something else. Not this.
  8. GrimmGrinninGhost

    GrimmGrinninGhost Initiate (20) Dec 27, 2010 Utah

    This post was awesome. It seems completely reasonable to assume they had an endless supply of Westly. You should have asked for a bottle of Ann to take home as an apology.

    At the end of the day, you were at Hill Farmstead. How terrible could that have possibly been?
  9. oldbean

    oldbean Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

  10. DrewLS

    DrewLS Initiate (154) Oct 7, 2012 Massachusetts

    You should march back in there tomorrow and demand that they give you a bottle of Westly (surprise: they're hiding them from you) or else demand commensurate monetary damages because you are absolutely entitled to either. And to be candid, youre probably entitled to both, but you strike me as totally reasonable so I'm sure one would suffice.
  11. nesarebad

    nesarebad Zealot (522) Feb 4, 2012 Massachusetts

    Prob should lawyer up first...
    algebeeric_topology and Sabtos like this.
  12. Sheppard

    Sheppard Poo-Bah (2,301) Mar 16, 2013 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    The HF post says at the bottom:
    Like I get the gripe, but I also feel like HF has underestimated demand or tried to kill early week hype before and that's massively failed for them. I imagine that a lot of people traveling up there got Westly as their guest bottle and they ran through it quicker than anticipated. Didn't they run through Art or Ann earlier this year quickly even though they said it would last the entire month of January?

    I sympathize a little because HF themselves said it would last the whole week, but also, them running out of a beer has happened before and "bait and switch" seems aggressive.
    redeemer, Rysk22 and papposilenus like this.
  13. ransom22

    ransom22 Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2016 Uzbekistan

    *Hazebro neck beard alert*

    I'm just going to put you on ignore.


    OP has a pretty detailed post regarding this topic. I've never encountered this at HF but you would think that a brewery that makes a 6pm update on their site about a certain road being closed off for Wednesday business hours, and where the detour is, that they would have no problem updating their own beer list.

    I'd argue that the majority of people who visit HF weekly are mostly out of staters. I'm not traveling 8 hours round trip only to be disappointed.
    warrendietrich2001 likes this.
  14. ransom22

    ransom22 Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2016 Uzbekistan

    Highly doubt you didn't read.
  15. ransom22

    ransom22 Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2016 Uzbekistan

    Imagine wasting your time typing this out. OP, just go ahead and put this knob on ignore too.
  16. rightcoast7

    rightcoast7 Disciple (389) Apr 2, 2011 Maine

    This is truly one of the douchiest posts I've read in a long time.
  17. ajthegreat

    ajthegreat Initiate (163) Nov 11, 2010 Vermont

    You sir, are exactly what I hate about this whole scene. The amount of time that you devoted to crafting this stupid post is laughable. Enjoy your weekend douchebag.
    forum8417, chippo33, rozzom and 10 others like this.
  18. Nbrock24

    Nbrock24 Devotee (463) Mar 11, 2016 Illinois

    Hey! I resemble that remark
  19. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (474) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts

    This post looks all the dumber given the absurd variety of beers available all the time at HF now. Cheers to Phil/Shaun and the team at Greensboro Bend!
  20. oldbean

    oldbean Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

  21. beer4miles

    beer4miles Initiate (111) Nov 6, 2017 Vermont

    Art was promised for a month, it lasted 3 weeks
    Ann was supposed to make it to Saturday, it lasted 1.5 days

    Moral of the story: if you want an onsite whale, then go on Wednesday!
  22. duchessedubourg

    duchessedubourg Aspirant (260) Nov 2, 2007 Vermont

    Bob said he doesn't read posts on the beer boards. So...next time, send that diatribe to the brewery directly instead of venting on here with no resolution, maybe?
  23. BigStein88

    BigStein88 Disciple (318) Nov 5, 2007 New Hampshire

    Wow, lot of hate here. Glad the guy knew it was coming, as he mentioned in paragraph 8. I mean, feel free to disagree with someone but not sure people need to call him names or be downright rude. We can be better than that.
  24. Phineasco

    Phineasco Initiate (0) Sep 4, 2016 Massachusetts

    OP, did you at least have Cellarman or 6 Years after you had Capitola Sunset? Those beers would have been worth the trip.
    #24 Phineasco, Aug 12, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  25. robo55

    robo55 Initiate (64) Oct 29, 2015 Massachusetts

    Because Hill Farmstead doesn’t have the reputation or following and needs to resort to the ole’ bait and switch to sell beer. Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?
  26. bostonwolf

    bostonwolf Initiate (128) Jan 20, 2015 Massachusetts

    What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
  27. Stormfield

    Stormfield Aspirant (232) Feb 21, 2011 Massachusetts

    Sometimes stuff sells out, sometimes it don't...
    LukieBL and SABERG like this.
  28. hopley

    hopley Poo-Bah (1,904) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    OP - thanks for posting this. I'd send it directly to them as I'm sure you have, and hopefully they'll use it to improve their social media and communication skills. I feel your disappointement, and as you stated - you knew you'd get a whole load of trash talk from Hill loyalists (I am one) and others. I am also sorry that such venom, especially coming from some of the people I recognize as decent and active contributors to Hill Farmstead's forum, can't be used for some more constructive discussion purposes.

    Having said this, I have run into similar issues in trying to decifer exactly what is / is not available prior to making the drive to Greensboro, and calling beforehand - only to get voicemail - is just not an option. This leaves these discussion boards, which often prove helpful, though less so in this case. However, this would not have helped your situation, nor mine several months ago. And like you, I will probably get shit just for empathizing with you (!), but in this day and age of social media and hyper communication, given the standards it sets for itself in brewing, HF might want to consider your comments to see what it can do to better clarify how it communicates with its die hard fans.
    StoutElk_92, jrnyc, lic217 and 10 others like this.
  29. Rysk22

    Rysk22 Zealot (558) Nov 12, 2014 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    He might be entitled and making a dumb allegation, but after that response you’re the douche here...
  30. ajthegreat

    ajthegreat Initiate (163) Nov 11, 2010 Vermont

    You are right, I was a douche. I was just super sad that he didn't get to try Westly after 4 long years of trying.
    algebeeric_topology and Sabtos like this.
  31. Shyla987

    Shyla987 Initiate (134) Jul 18, 2013 Connecticut

    What OP should have written: It would be better if HF kept their social media updated with availability, especially when they imply selections will not run out.

    What everyone else would have said: Agreed.
  32. Seacoastbrewer

    Seacoastbrewer Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2012 New Hampshire

    Could be the best troll job on this site to date. Seems too polished, too practiced. Almost crafted for maximum hate. Excellent work
  33. Lupin

    Lupin Devotee (493) Jun 4, 2006 Connecticut
    Society Trader

    For a post on site that is centered around writing about enjoying beer, that was a lot of words about not enjoying a beer.
  34. pbrian

    pbrian Crusader (752) Feb 8, 2001 Connecticut

    I think the whining about the whining is worse than the whining itself. Or maybe I take the cake for whining about whining about whining.
  35. rodmanfor3

    rodmanfor3 Savant (931) Aug 11, 2014 Vermont

    I apologize to anyone whom I may have upset in the aftermath of my post. I deal with enough hated and negativity in my own life; I certainly had no intentions of contributing a similar energy to the lives of those in the craft beer community.

    My goal in creating this thread was to begin a constructive dialogue regarding a perceived limitation of customer service at Hill Farmstead. It has been made clear to me that this is not the forum to conduct such discussions.

    Moderators, feel free to close down this topic, if warranted.

    "Craft beer should bring people together, not tear them apart."

  36. Jbrews

    Jbrews Disciple (368) Aug 6, 2013 New Hampshire

    Hill Farmstead hasn't been the same since this post.
    algebeeric_topology likes this.
  37. oldbean

    oldbean Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    The title of this thread is “Hill Farmstead Bait and Switch?”.
    rozzom, Sabtos, Auror and 7 others like this.
  38. mountaindewORcrabjuice

    mountaindewORcrabjuice Initiate (75) Sep 6, 2017 Connecticut

    I think we've all been secretly (and maybe irrationally) upset about beer-related disappointments at some point. I mean I disagree with most of OP's commentary about HF and special releases in general, but I totally get it. Dude went for Westly, didn't get Westly. I'd personally be super duper sad too if I formulated that I had close to a 100% chance to try Westly. It was a pretty level response to what he felt he experienced. Calling a haze-bro/boi a douchelord is something I totally support. But in this situation, I think it's uncool to attack with so much vitriol.

    Was the title and content a bit excessive? Maybe. But did I once cause a scene at a Waffle House at 3am because they ran out of waffles? Yes. I'm the pot, right next to the kettle. How does a WAFFLE House run out of waffles?!
    #38 mountaindewORcrabjuice, Aug 13, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
    StoutElk_92, Auror, AirBob and 6 others like this.
  39. Chuckdiesel24

    Chuckdiesel24 Poo-Bah (1,904) Jul 6, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    If the Waffle House had Westly, you were out of line.
  40. Smirq

    Smirq Initiate (0) Oct 7, 2009 Vermont

    People always read the most negativity possible in written messages and I honestly don't think that was OP's intention....if you read it and take it for what the substance is, I think it's clear it's someone who loves beer and Hill Farmstead and wants to continue enjoying the magic in that community.

    As a Vermonter who went to all the anniversary celebrations until they stopped, I can identify with the feeling of something that I loved changing and morphing into something different. We are super lucky to have Hill Farmstead here but with it's success comes the zoo-like popularity onsite. Plenty of great breweries here in VT, share the love and visit HF as you see fit/tolerable.
    #40 Smirq, Aug 14, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
    Haze4daysWithaG likes this.
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