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Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Todd, Oct 14, 2014.
Perhaps the "pay 2 play" deals from other breweries are factored in to the numbers?
Yes, but the latter is irrelevant to the larger discussion of pay2play (except as a reasoning why he might not be available at the bar, which again, isn't really important in the grand scheme of things if that bar is indeed doing pay2play).
I have very little inside knowledge on how this all works but it seems like common sense that this kind of thing would go on everywhere. In any given market, there are so many different beer choices that it makes the limited tap space very valuable. It stands to reason that the establishment would capitalize on that fact. It would also stand to reason that the brewery with more resources would use them to their advantage. If people decide that this is a sleezy practice, more people will go to places that have more tap space for the little guys. The free market will take care of it.
It's illegal. The free market doesn't have a say in it.
I never want to go to your bar. Ever.
But do you think Dann or anyone knows whether they do it with everyone? Every beer is pay to play? I seriously doubt that Wilcox has that kind of pull. It was evidently an issue for PT, but that might be precisely because PT is otherwise expensive. Maybe that isn't the case for some others, who are simply on because they are good and priced right. You can't assume that every brewer on tap at those bars are paying for the handle.
Whatever the truth is, Kudos to PT for getting this dirty laundry out in the air. Maybe we will start to get some answers and see changes. But let's be careful about any assumptions.
Not sure about you guys, but I see him refuting the allegations here:
"Not only will I not sell your product because it is both inferior for the price, it is unfortunate that you would lump our small businesses into the “pay2play” category."
It's not a direct refutation, but in the words of many great debaters... come on!!!
The pay-to-play thing actually seems like it's trying to fix a market distortion. Laws outlaw price discrimination, making it less of a "free market." The pay-to-play thing is just a way to get around those laws and price your product at market rates.
And that's exactly why it's not a denial. If you're going to use such strong language everywhere else in your letter, why be so meek and simply imply denial? Either you're a terrible writer (possibly) or your don't want to lie (probably).
Perhaps, but let us find out if him airing his dirty laundry doesn't lose him his shirt...
It's either unfortunate because it's not true, or unfortunate because it is. It's always unfortunate to be outed. He also said earlier free kegs and other goods are a common practice. All he did was get very defensive and super aggressive in all aspects of this rebuttal except where he should have...in a denial of the claims.
It's not an indirect refutation either. If he's able to refute the charge, wouldn't you expect him to do so explicitly?
Not sure I follow. There are laws that outlaw price discrimination for beer? Can you provide some sources?
Sure, it's similar to a black market, which exists only as a result of regulation and other things. It's still illegal and doing your customers a disservice most of the time.
Sure, any time there's regulation, a "free market" is by definition illegal. People just seem very eager to confuse "free market" with "only the regulations I want."
**Ducks out of the way**
Response to several people: You're right it's not a direct refutation. I just personally doubt that the man would bother to write a response if his intent wasn't, in some way, to refute the charges. You guys sound like my wife after I tell her all the reasons why I did X stupid thing and then ask why she is still mad at me "because you never said you were sorry!" Well FFS, isn't that implied!?
By the way, why are we so eager to believe the midnight ravings of an apparent lunatic over the latest rebuttal from industry?
If you say or imply I broke the law and I know I did not then I will deny your claim in no uncertain terms. If he had the real high ground why wouldn't he take it?
Oh man - now this is getting good!
Nothing personal but I dont care what anyone on this thread has to say unless it's a brewer themselves responding to this Wilcox Group guy.
Serve. . .volley . . . .Spike???
For clarification purposes, in Massachusetts it is entirely legal for a distributor to offer volume discounts on alcohol, but you must offer the discount to all qualifying retailers- you cannot discriminate as to who gets the discount as long as they reach the volume thresholds the distributor has set. Some are very reasonable to encourage as many retailers to get the best prices possible, others require very high volume purchases which limit them to the very largest volume retailers.
This guy is impartial, you can hear it in his own accusations (lunatic) and calling some bar owner the industry.
I own the bar. I own the taps. If I have two beers of similar quality I think will sell equally well, what is wrong with choosing the one that is a better deal financially? Unless I'm missing a huge part of the story, I don't see why it is illegal or even why it is wrong. It just seems like basic free market capitalism.
Very interesting. So, if I follow you correctly, you're suggesting that the market would be better served by removing that law and letting wholesalers price product differently for different customers? Such that the more popular bars might receive discounts to ensure that a product retains a tap line? (Which is basically what pay-to-play is achieving.) Right? Not implying anything good or bad about it -- just wanting to make sure I understand your point.
Because it's not a rebuttal? In fact, it reads more as a "Dann, you of all people should offer pay since your kegs are so expensive."
1). Nothing's more common than responding in a way that fails to clarify one's potential wrongdoing so as to be on record as having issued a response. This is how political and corporate press representatives make a living.
2). What about the brewer's midnight tweets suggests lunacy to you?
So, we won't serve your beers because they're too expensive for our clientele. But, we'll serve Enlightenment Transcendence at $9 and Rising Tide (!) at $8.50 per 12 oz. Give me a break.
I'm saying that it would be more "free" (anyone could sell to anyone at any price). "Better served" opens a huge can of worms.
The fellow from berkshire is right, by the way, typically it is the distributors who are even more guilty of this than Brewers. Sometimes breweries are on board with it, sometimes they aren't.
Also note that many of the breweries mentioned in that rebuttal are represented in MA by the same distro that represents some of the Big 3. Not the same distro that represents Pt.
Alistair from Mystic has the same distro as Dann, and on Fb he mentioned Wilcox asking for discounts on their beer, and the distro refusing.
Why bother to write this? For the same reason you feel the need to tell your wife the reason why you did something. To try and save face. Neither of those things are needed if you either didn't do it or have a sincere apology in store.
The industry has more to lose if this comes out as true, as it is illegal.
Simple, your average beer drinker knows what Sam Adams is an equates it to good beer. Therefore they sell high volumes of it. Guarantee if you took a random sample of the population and put them in a bar with Sam Adams Rebel IPA and something better like Pliny, most would probably go with Sam Adams due to familiarity with the name.
Fair enough. Care to dig into the can at all?
Nice corporate speak, where you can repeat a few old chestnuts, i.e. the hop shortage of some years ago and how all pulled together like the band of brothers they are, and be all holier than thou in a responsible merchant battling for the good of the customers kind of way.
Even some nice deflective mentioning of pay to play, where you can mention it in such a way as to appear to be denying it, while in fact using it in a way that says absolutely nothing about anything, "it is unfortunate that you would lump our small businesses into the “pay2play” category." Doesn't deny it exists, doesn't deny they routinely engage in it, doesn't have a point at all.
Wow, this industry is really becoming what we all predicted it would once craft beer became very profitable, and competition for consumer dollars grew more intense. Craft brewers, and the fine beer industry in this country as a whole, are finally admitting they are the same adversaries that exist in every business, shedding the Cumbaya image they worked so hard to merchandise themselves as.
Also worth noting that Deep Ellum currently lists 3 Pretty Things taps and they almost always have at least one PT offering. I'm sure others know the history better, but isn't Deep Ellum run by former Bukowski guys?
I bothered to write what I did because I thought it would shed some light on my position. I failed, as I have so many times in the past. Thank you all for making that abundantly clear. I'm sorry.
I guess that ultimately I am not a fan of trying people in the court of public opinion without evidence. Please feel free to buy or not buy from Jacks' Abby and the Wilcox hospitality group. I have no stake in either company.
For the record, Mayflower Brewing Company does not pay to play. We self-distribute our beer in eastern Massachusetts and have earned our tap lines by providing quality beer and good service to all of our customers, including Gordon Wilcox. Yes, that means we are unable to sell our beer to certain bars and restaurants who are looking for more. That's ok. We believe we are building a stronger and more sustainable business this way.
I suspect you run into problems when prices start hinging more on negotiating power rather than the demand for the product.
Here's 200 pages on the pros and cons: http://www.kkv.se/upload/filer/tryc...ons/rap_pros_and_cons_pricediscrimination.pdf. As I suspected, the primary con from an economic perspective is that you can get market distortions if dominant players offer things like loyalty rebates.
Well said Drew. We feel the same way.
Care to call out the bars that are participating who are looking for more?
Certainly. Or, when pricing decisions are made to intentionally keep certain retail establishments out of the market, for whatever the reason (personal, prejudice, etc.)
Correct. Deep Ellum/Lone Star Taco Bar is owned by two former Buks employees, but that's irrelevant. They're former employees and longtime friends of Paquette's.