Is Beer Returnable?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by hudsonvalleyslim, Mar 13, 2015.

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  1. hudsonvalleyslim

    hudsonvalleyslim (0) May 29, 2003 Massachusetts

    Is beer returnable for liquor stores or bars? Been wondering since yet another incident of buying beer way past its prime at my local packie. They took it back, but I'm asking if the liquor store itself can return past date beer that hasn't sold.
  2. Vason

    Vason (0) Feb 19, 2008 Ohio

    It depends on state laws, but in Ohio at least I believe that off-date beer can be swapped out for a like item, if not exchanged for credit.
    chrismattlin and 5thOhio like this.
  3. Hayden34

    Hayden34 (0) Aug 10, 2014 Georgia

    My local bottle shop has let me return beer several times for being out of date or skunked. He knows that I wouldn't bring it back if it wasn't bad and he doesn't want to lose all the business he gets from me. Luckily this is a rare occurance.
  4. brunop

    brunop (0) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    along these lines, what is your time limit on buying canned and bottled beer? i don't generally buy IPA's after 60 days (90maybe). i know some styles age for years. but what is your limit for styles that are best "fresh"?
  5. 5thOhio

    5thOhio (0) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    I returned a beer to Total Wine because I accidentally got the wrong item, but as Vason said, it probably depends on state laws.
  6. RDMII

    RDMII (0) Apr 11, 2010 Georgia

    Every State has it's own laws. In GA it's illegal, even if the beer is bad (in date). Some places will allow an exchange but for the most part there's not much they can do within the law.
  7. 31Sam13

    31Sam13 (0) Sep 29, 2014 New Hampshire

    I believe it's legal in NH...
  8. 31Sam13

    31Sam13 (0) Sep 29, 2014 New Hampshire

    Apparently it is in quite a few states...but that was just me quickly looking on the interweb...
  9. zeff80

    zeff80 (0) Feb 6, 2006 Missouri

    Can't hurt to try.
  10. Jakmag

    Jakmag (0) Apr 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    The retailers can return beer for credit or swap for fresh here in Mass, the wholesalers don't like to do it, but it is part of there job.
  11. StoutSnob40

    StoutSnob40 (1,485) Jan 4, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I once drank 13 Sam Adam's Summer Ales in about 2 hours.. Some of that returned..
  12. MikeTheVine

    MikeTheVine (0) Dec 4, 2014 Massachusetts

    I'll actually answer the question you're asking here:

    Yes. Infact... all beer "past its prime" (date on the bottle) is sent back to the distributor. Breweries do not want a bad product of theirs sitting on the shelf.... Imagine you buy a pack of Torpedo thats 12 months old... hate it because its probably disgusting and never buy SN products again? Big picture, you gain a loyal customer by having fresh stuff on the shelf.

    The store receives credit for the product from the distributor.

    Believe it or not... A-B InBev and Miller/Coors are the BEST distributors at picking up "unfresh" beer. As far as I know, all their sales reps are salaried without commission for the main reason of making sure they provide the freshest product possible... Many smaller distributors that handle craft beer work on commission and often times try to blow in too much product for a store for a bigger paycheck... which leads to more dating issues.

    Hope this helps. :slight_smile:
  13. Hayden34

    Hayden34 (0) Aug 10, 2014 Georgia

    Really? I had no idea. I live in Georgia, and as I mentioned earlier, the guy at my bottle shop has let me return beer on quite a few occasions. I'm talking already opened beer too. I don't know if he knows it's illegal, or if he makes an exception because I'm such a faithful customer, BUT I'm not going to be the one to let him know either way.
  14. Davidstan

    Davidstan (476) May 24, 2014 Alabama

    This is correct if in date. I have a 2 yr old 12 Pak of Cisco that I bought from Total 2 weeks ago and they will swap it out only. That's all I ask. If the package hasn't been broken my local shop has taken back a mistake buy (wife) couple of times.
  15. celfan

    celfan (0) Jul 4, 2004 Vermont

    I got a skunked Abitas once and called the brewery. They wanted to check it out so they sent me a fed ex label and I sent a bottle back. They then sent me 12 new bottles, a shirt, and a glass.
  16. pat61

    pat61 (0) Dec 29, 2010 Minnesota

    I have taken off beers back to the retailer for a refund. If they feature craft beer they are usually good at making things right but I don't know what they do with it.
  17. SackBlabbath

    SackBlabbath (0) Nov 28, 2014 Kentucky

    Sums it all up, perfect answer.

  18. Desertdog100

    Desertdog100 (0) Sep 15, 2013 California

    I return all my beer to the city sewer system :grinning:
  19. StartedwithSAM

    StartedwithSAM (0) Feb 17, 2015 Virginia

    I find that if you are a regular, personable with the store clerks, and they know what you know what you are talking about they will let you return/swap beer that is actually bad, exposed cap, funky appearance, etc. Maryland of course...
  20. hophugger

    hophugger (0) Mar 5, 2014 Virginia

    I have had quite a few bottles that I have bought(usually mix a six) that have been too old. Most breweries that I have notified have been concerned and taken care of the problem and also sent me T-shirts and such. I appreciate that and I believe that they appreciate the heads up also, because it does affect their business...
  21. SonictheBeerhog

    SonictheBeerhog (0) Oct 31, 2013 New York

    Here in New York no alcohol is returnable.
    utopiajane likes this.
  22. jmw

    jmw (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    He's not asking if you can or do take your old 6-pack back to the store, he's asking if the store can return to the distributor.

    depends on the state and the distributor within that state.
  23. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA (0) Jan 2, 2010 California

    If it's a brew that actually sells it's typically the distributors fault for past date; either they had it sitting in the warehouse too long or loaded a customer with too much by offering a hot deal to hit a number. In a three tier system suppliers are over reliant on distributors to do a good job in the best interest of the brand: merchandising, programming, and securing "the right" shelf space. Any reasonable size beer supplier is probably protected against beer past it's date as they fill the distributors warehouse with plenty of time to get the beer out to the retailers. Because the distributor eats the cost and craft beer unlike BMC is costly, they often don't pull and maintain shelf life as the BMC distributors do.
  24. StartedwithSAM

    StartedwithSAM (0) Feb 17, 2015 Virginia

    Oh, thanks for that clarification. :flushed:
  25. utopiajane

    utopiajane (0) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    It all comes down to who should be responsible for old beer. If the brewer would kindly use a bottled on date as an industry standard I think a lot of this kind of problem would not exist. The idea is that the shop owner invested in that beer to sell and we are a fickle bunch. If every store has to take it back past the best by date which does not really exist, then how would money be made? (a best by date for the purpose of returning the beer that is because it is misleading. Beer is not milk. It does not spoil like that)

    I am sure I said that poorly.
    #25 utopiajane, Mar 14, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
    jmw likes this.
  26. jesskidden

    jesskidden (884) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    The industry standard is that the distributor is responsible for maintaining fresh beer on the retailers' shelves. Here's AB contract language, circa the 1980s:

    "In no event shall over-age Product (according to age standards published from time to time by Anheuser-Busch) reach the consuming public. If any over-age Product is found in the possession of wholesaler or in the possession of a retailer to whom wholesaler sold such Product, wholesaler agrees, unless prohibited by law, to destroy such over-age Product in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, and to replace any such Product which had been in the possession of a retailer with fresh Product at no cost to the retailer. Wholesaler's cost of destroying and replacing over-age Product shall be borne by wholesaler or by Anheuser-Busch, depending upon which party was responsible for the over-age condition."
    And the National Beer Wholesaler Association seems to agree:
  27. 31Sam13

    31Sam13 (0) Sep 29, 2014 New Hampshire

    Yeah, thats generally what I do. However, I was complaining about old Lagunitas on a different thread the other day, and it honestly never occurred to me ever to return it. I know you can in NH but I'm still on the fence about it...I don't know what my hang-up is about it really either...
  28. readyski

    readyski (534) Jun 4, 2005 California
    Society Trader

    past date beer - one of the great problems of the world (my world at least)
    seems to me it would be tricky since who is going to eat (drink) that cost
  29. TonyLema1

    TonyLema1 (0) Nov 19, 2008 South Carolina

    TW in SC will take back beer and wine
  30. gcg49

    gcg49 (0) Dec 29, 2014 Texas

    Not exactly your question, but I messaged Half Acre about an awfully stale 4 pack I bought at a grocery store. They were happy to replace it with the freshest 4 pack they had (out front they had 4 packs that were a couple of weeks old, he went in the back and grabbed one that was only one week old). Great customer service.
  31. nc41

    nc41 (0) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I've returned crappy beer, but it's from stores I do business with. A great owner and beer store will back what they sell.
  32. something_is_brewing

    something_is_brewing (0) Aug 28, 2014 Massachusetts

    @31Sam13 it s actually illegal in to return beer in NH. Been to MTS, and listened while i was there. That is all.
  33. twb0392

    twb0392 (0) Aug 1, 2014 Wisconsin

    In the urinal
  34. Scarfer_Brad

    Scarfer_Brad (0) Mar 19, 2014 Florida

    amazing how many people actually read, understand, and answer a question correctly.... most of you need to put the bottle down and READ THE QUESTION FULLY AND UNDERSTAND IT BEFORE ANSWERING!!
    chrismattlin likes this.
  35. twb0392

    twb0392 (0) Aug 1, 2014 Wisconsin

    I think it was around 13.
  36. something_is_brewing

    something_is_brewing (0) Aug 28, 2014 Massachusetts

    but it is legal to return liquor with a receipt unopened at the state liquor store.
  37. confer

    confer (0) Jan 10, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Just returned a case of Weltenburger Dunkel Weiss to my beer store. I drank two bottles and both were bad and not even in the same way. One was sour and the other just watery. There was an 8 digit expiration code on the bottle. Neither the Weltenburger folks nor their imported returned my email with they key to expiration code.
  38. BradStokley

    BradStokley (0) Jan 19, 2013 Maryland

    Can you return beer to a bottle shop? I don't know. I guess it depends on if you want the store owner to like you or not.
  39. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat (0) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    This is a process in my opinion that really needs to be more common place.

    Yes it can be done, but it is not without some consumer vigilance, and some knowledge and dedication to make it happen.

    I have returned beer. It was not good, it never should have been sold to begin with. However, the place I did it is a place that had honored my wishes, and they in return have gotten much of my dollars and dedication through the years.
    Brolo75 likes this.
  40. SFNC

    SFNC (265) Apr 7, 2013 North Carolina

    I've done it! Of course my lawyer won't let me talk about the deatils until the trial is over.
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