Refunds for Goose Island 2015 Bourbon County Coffee & Bourbon County Barleywine

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by snoopdme, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. Tanger112

    Tanger112 Aspirant (285) Jul 5, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    There was no reason to wait. If you bought the beer in question... call and get a refund. You keep your bottles and open whenever you want. Quite simple actually.
  2. MJS08

    MJS08 Aspirant (249) Jul 29, 2014 Florida
    Supporter Subscriber

    My check arrived today in effin Florida. Last name starts with S. All is (mostly) forgiven. Where does the line form?
    Avelasquez80 likes this.

    WCKDVBZ Savant (961) May 9, 2014 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Especially when it's already aged.
    PA-Michigander and berto714 like this.
  4. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    There didn't have to be a hard deadline, but even if there did, it could have been much longer than 90 days. They could have at least broadcast it a bit better. Issue recall notices to stores, post flyers at stores, etc. They clearly did their best to keep this limited in scope, despite knowing exactly which stores sold the beer. (And still sell it, in some cases)

    There were plenty of ways to do this without getting scammed. Require pictures of opened bottles, ask for receipts, run the refunds direct through the stores you purchased at, etc, etc. And even then, only a fraction of buyers are going to ever file for a refund - getting scammed for a few bucks here and there is a small price to pay for releasing such a giant batch of bad beer. Don't screw over the genuinely good people who ended up with bad beer because of a few bad apples taking advantage. If they did what they should have done, which is issue a total and complete recall, it would have cost them a hell of a lot more than just handing out refunds as requests came in for a year.

    "Very rarely does anyone refund your purchase for infected beer. "

    That I disagree with wholeheartedly. I've found most breweries to be overwhelmingly happy to make things right on bad beers. I've gotten many refunds/replacements over the years without trouble. Hell, The Bruery automatically refunds my credit card when they find out they released an infected bottle! Now that is good customer service!

    "I'll continue my anti-hoarding beliefs here as well. If you bought a beer, or more likely many beers, back in November and haven't opened one until now, that's on you."

    You're free to your beliefs, but not everyone agrees. And when you clearly mark a bottle as "good for 5 years", you need to support that beer for longer than 90 days. Further to it, these types of infections develop over time. So you could have easily opened an infected beer 3 months ago that tasted fine, only to find it start tasting off now. As anyone who cellars beer can attest, the Bourbon County series is one of the best candidates out there for aging. So this isn't exactly a case of hoarding IPA's...
  5. DovGibor

    DovGibor Aspirant (225) Sep 18, 2015 New York
    Beer Trader

    I'd like to get some clarification on the window in which we were able to call for refunds. I've seen folks here mention two months, three months, 60 days, 90 days, etc. My understanding is the refunds were first offered on Jan. 8. That's the date of the blog post & when this thread began. Yes, there were other threads about the infection, but as to the window to ask for a refund, it began Jan. 8. Correct me if I'm wrong, but folks who called before this date were basically turned away and had to call again to make a claim. The deadline was Feb. 29. By my math, that's 52 days, or slightly less than 2 months (I'd say the average two month period is 61 days as most months alternate 30/31 days). Relatedly, the deadline was posted here, but not clearly announced from GI in the refund offer or elsewhere. Does anyone have different math? Am I missing something here? Does anyone have contrary information?

    I'm not commenting on whether this window was too short/long, whether the deadline needed to more clearly communicated. It just that it seems there are posts here that go many ways. For the record, I've already posted that I requested a refund during the window. I've received my shirt (correct requested size) and am patiently waiting on a check in NYC.
  6. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,191) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Goose Island offered refunds for beers that weren't opened, there was no requirement to prove you got a bad beer, and how else could you do it so that it got in front of folks who bought bad beer other than by responding to their direct complaints and putting notices where they, and few scammers, would be likely to see them?

    If you aren't going to require receipts or pics I think a company would have to be out of their minds to make a major advertising push to reach folks who both didn't taste the bad beer and didn't read anything about refunds. This would invite so many scams it likely would result in more refunds requested than there were beers distributed.

    And if they did require receipts and pics? Well, try to imagine what would be said here in this thread about that?
  7. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Meyvn (1,469) Aug 29, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I guess I'm not understanding the net benefit of spending a bunch of money enacting a bunch of logistical hoops for consumers (and possibly retailers) to jump through that even you admit will result in less people getting a refund due to fewer people going through the additional trouble of doing it. If you demand extensive documentation, you piss off consumers who didn't want an infected beer in the first place. If you run recalls and refunds through your retailers, then you are putting a huge imposition on your distributors and retailers and also leaving a huge aspect of the customer service element out of your own hands.

    As I noted above, a debate over extending the deadline is reasonable. But it seems like we're overlooking the fact that they were willing to take a hit from scammers to minimize the pains that consumers had to go through to get their refunds. That, to me, is a noteworthy fact. Admittedly, they mitigated that hit to some degree by making the refund window small.

    Of course, the underlying problem is that the less proof you require from people getting refunds, the more risk that comes with an extended refund period. More time means more people that never even bought bottles learning about the issue and devising ways to get $100 checks in the mail for free. To me, the relatively short refund window was a way to balance all the factors:

    • Minimize the imposition on customers who are already unhappy about the infection
    • Minimize the spread of information about the "no(t very many) questions asked" refund policy to people outside of the actually impacted group
    • Minimize the window in which scammers could figure out a way to game the process
    • (likely) Maximize the percentage of the most hard-core consumers being compensated. I would be surprised if the thinking was "if we acknowledge this on twitter, the most dedicated fans--the ones who likely represent the largest bottom line impact from year to year--will find out by following us, knowing someone who follows us, or by participating on the beer culture websites".
    That last bullet may sound a little cold and calculating, and it is. It's a business, after all. They are trying to maximize the benefits to their best customers while minimizing inevitable costs. It's the same basic formula that every single business follows to one degree or another.

    As far as other breweries refunding money for beers--I still don't think there have been any examples this widespread. I know someone previously mentioned Deschutes from a few years back, but in my experience, infected beers are either not addressed at all, or addressed in a way that only people who call/contact the brewery to complain are sent some sort of replacement beers or care package.

    The Bruery is in a unique situation because they are selling direct to consumers through their societies. The administrative costs to just issue a refund is fractional compared to what GI undertook with this one.

    Let me be clear: I feel bad for anyone who missed out. That completely sucks--heck it stinks that we had to deal with this issue at all. And while I understand why they chose a short refund period, I also understand the calls for a longer one. It just seems like they were in a no win situation here and did quite a bit compared to what seems to be the industry standard for these types of things. That should count for something imho.

    Your math is correct. The three month period being mentioned is based on when the bottles were sold. I think the idea is that even though the window to actually call was 52 days, the window to catch wind of something being wrong with your beer was three months.
  8. Jaycase

    Jaycase Meyvn (1,064) Jan 13, 2007 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    The last sentence is inaccurate. I called GI on Dec 29 (as mentioned in this post) and they took all my information on that call. I subsequently received a refund for that bottle as a result of the Dec 29th call. This was all prior to the GI blog post.
  9. 64vdub

    64vdub Aspirant (265) Feb 20, 2014 California
    Beer Trader

    I also called before the blog post and got a shirt and refund.
    Jaycase likes this.
  10. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    I would imagine the vast majority of potential scammers would walk right past an 8.5x11 flyer with a heading of "Attention Bourbon County Barleywine shoppers", nevermind then going through the effort to figure out they'd be able to get a refund without proof, followed by actually committing fraud over $50.

    The scammer angle feels like a boogeyman. Even let's say scammers were a real potential problem here. What's the greater evil? Goose Island screwing over 100% of buyers with a known batch of bad beer, or a tiny percentage of that sales volume getting incorrectly refunded? It doesn't seem like much of a contest IMO.

    The real reason they realistically curbed this is cost. This beer is going to get worse and worse over time, and to most untrained palates, it probably tasted completely fine up until now. The barley I had this weekend was mildly off, but in 6 months it's going to develop the funk and taste more like the putrid coffee I tried. They likely processed extremely few refunds in this short window vs the amount of refunds they'd need to process if they let it go until, say, end of 2016.
    SammyJaxxxx and erik_c like this.
  11. riotontheroad

    riotontheroad Devotee (430) Apr 7, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    check came today!
  12. cosmicdebris

    cosmicdebris Disciple (339) Feb 8, 2008 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    Got my check today
  13. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,191) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Well, not to be obtuse, but if the beer tastes good to a person than why should that person get a refund?

    That said, and your untrained palate comment notwithstanding, there were reports of off flavors and infections almost immediately after the beer went on sale, and in fact I had trouble ignoring the numbers of different places they all were posted (I wasn't able to get either variant that was infected so wasn't interested personally).

    So we have differing opinions it seems about whether there should have been some proactive search on ABI's part for folks who hadn't opened their beers, or thought they tasted fine, and/or don't read the beer info sites so as to offer them refunds. I am certain that would seem like a great idea to those who fit that description but I really believe it is ridiculous to want ABI to search for folks who don't read beer info sites, couldn't taste the problems, and/or didn't open a beer and don't know if there is a problem or not.

    And as for your scammer comment, there are already numerous reports. I too would love to believe people don't act like people, unfortunately we do.
  14. croush

    croush Zealot (537) Mar 20, 2015 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Well, I guess we agree to disagree. I find it ridiculous for them to expect someone to have opened one of these within 3 months of purchase, when they are known to be beers that age well (and state as such on the labels).

    Because of different opinions and palates, that's why. Plus, GI puts it on the label that it develops in the bottle for up to 5 years.

    Not that simple. If someone was unaware of these bottles being off and the refund process, they would have no reason to call if they hadn't tasted the beer and known it was bad.
    #934 croush, Mar 10, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2016
    BaseballNBeer and erik_c like this.
  15. TheOneTC

    TheOneTC Aspirant (208) Aug 23, 2013 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I'll play devil's advocate here.


    I don't see where it says to age anything. (At work, don't have an actual bottle in front of me.)

    Also, who ages beer without trying a fresh one? What's the point? You have no basis to judge the aged version on.

    And sure, the beer "develops" in the bottle, but so wouldn't an IPA. "Flavors Develop" =/= "Flavor Enhances"
  16. croush

    croush Zealot (537) Mar 20, 2015 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I wondered if it said it on this year's, as I don't have a bottle handy either. It has definitely been there in prior vintages. Lots of people age these (not sure I'd say waiting 4-6 months is that much aging, but that's debatable) based on experience with prior vintages, so they may have held off. I just don't agree with penalizing those people.
  17. LanePerson

    LanePerson Aspirant (220) Dec 31, 2013 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Just went and looked at mine. On the little tag that sticks out (on the back side) it says it develops in the bottle for up 5 years. So they kept with the continuity of previous vintages.
  18. TheOneTC

    TheOneTC Aspirant (208) Aug 23, 2013 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Not arguing the fact that lots of people age these beers. I do. But if the entire argument is based on the fact that the beer is meant to be aged, you still need something to compare the aged version to, right? I don't purposefully age any beer unless I've tried it fresh. It defeats the entire purpose of aging, which is to see how the flavors develop. You can't tell how they develop if you have no starting point to compare it to.
  19. croush

    croush Zealot (537) Mar 20, 2015 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I do pretty much agree with you there, but people have their choice as to whether they also do that. To penalize them for that choice seems wrong to me, that's all.
  20. berto714

    berto714 Aspirant (262) Oct 16, 2014 New York
    Beer Trader

    Fair enough, and I left room for different palates in my comment. If someone doesn't like a strong coffee flavor (or enjoys the green pepper taste that comes from aging coffee beers), it makes sense to age it so the coffee flavor fades. I would think, however, that the majority of people buying a coffee stout enjoy coffee flavors and would benefit from drinking it sooner rather than later.

    As for the bottle saying it develops for 5 years in the bottle - well yea, obviously. GI didn't have to put this on the bottle for it to be true; oxidation causes all beers to develop for 5 years.
  21. benjamminjones24

    benjamminjones24 Initiate (167) Jan 15, 2016 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Received check in the mail today. No shirt.
  22. Avelasquez80

    Avelasquez80 Initiate (77) Jul 9, 2015 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Check rcvd...shirt 2 weeks ago....I'm satisfied.
  23. TheOneTC

    TheOneTC Aspirant (208) Aug 23, 2013 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    FWIW, got the check today, no shirt. Western MA, called end of January. Last name starts with V. Doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.
  24. Hoppity1

    Hoppity1 Aspirant (272) Apr 25, 2015 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Shirt two weeks ago. Check today. but the best part is I'll never read this thread again
  25. Angerhaus

    Angerhaus Defender (683) Oct 1, 2015 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    Got my check today in Milwaukee. T-shirt came 2 weeks ago.
  26. Jayblez

    Jayblez Initiate (35) Nov 5, 2014 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Guys, thanks for all your patience. I received my check today and give you permission to shut down this thread. Thank you for everything you do.
    croush likes this.
  27. nick0417

    nick0417 Aspirant (213) Jun 13, 2014 Illinois

    Got my check today. Shirt came about 10 days ago. Have to say, big kudos to Goose for how they handled this situation - makes me more inclined to reach for a standard Goose beer in the future just because of how classy this whole process has been...
    foundersfan1 likes this.
  28. scjohnsonwax

    scjohnsonwax Initiate (193) Nov 30, 2014 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Any one else have issues with this? Mine came today, somehow ended up at my house even though the address on the envelope was wrong. And amount was for $24 dollars, I was told I was getting $85. Never had a t-shirt show up either - not that big of a deal but it seems like everything was messed up on this. Anyone else?
    mctizzz likes this.
  29. Tomcheeze

    Tomcheeze Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2015 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I asked for $40 and received that amount. Check came on Tuesday. Have heard other people saying they did not receive the full amount they asked for. Not sure what the best course of action for that would be. Give customer service another ring.
  30. beerspudz

    beerspudz Initiate (122) Aug 20, 2015 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I was supposed to get $24. I got a check for $100 today - paid for my KBS allotment and then some.
    cjohns73 likes this.
  31. monkeybeerbelly

    monkeybeerbelly Devotee (479) Dec 6, 2012 New York
    Beer Trader

    got my check!
    was supposed to be $48 but they sent $56
    ill call to see whats up.....
    cjohns73 likes this.
  32. Mikexw

    Mikexw Defender (637) Mar 3, 2014 New York
    Beer Trader

    So I have only been into beer for a couple of years (I'm catching up though), was able to chase down 1 Barleywine myself and got another as a gift. I saw no reason NOT to age a barleywine, but didn't feel right submitting a claim without knowing it was bad (take that as you will). So I opened one of mine, thought it was mediocre (I didn't know how it was supposed to taste), but definitely with something sour in the background. So I didn't drink it and decided to put in a claim. Then I opened the other one (completely different batch, purchased at least 1500 miles from the first one) and it was horrid. At that point, I opened a BCBBW I had saved from last year and loved it, but the main thing that did was convince me both of mine were bad.

    But anyway, my point is that I understand people not wanting to open the Barleywine in a short time span (before the claim window). I think I agree on the coffee (that it is better to drink soon), but some folks who are lucky enough to get multiple bottles may want to age some just to see how it changes I guess in that situation I would probably open one, and if it was put in a claim for all of them.

    On a side note, is there any chance Goose Island is somehow insured for something like this, and that they needed to put in a time constraint so that they could file THEIR claim? And FWIW, I think they handled it reasonably well -- they obviously can't reimburse those of us who invested a day of time and lots of miles chasing down the beer, but at least acknowledged the problem and seem to be making an honest effort. And the customer service guy I spoke to was terrific.
  33. whatruDOINdragic

    whatruDOINdragic Initiate (174) Aug 22, 2013 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Received a check for the correct amount yesterday, 3/9. Also got the correct size t-shirt a couple weeks ago.
  34. SlothB77

    SlothB77 Zealot (566) Dec 28, 2012 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    I got a t shirt.
  35. SlothB77

    SlothB77 Zealot (566) Dec 28, 2012 Virginia
    Beer Trader

  36. PintOfPaul

    PintOfPaul Initiate (0) Jun 17, 2014 New Jersey

    Not to beat a dead horse here, but I knew there was a potential for sour barleywine, I had seen that they were standing by their product and offering a refund so I waited. I drank 1 of my 2 barleywine last weekend and it was very sour. I go to look up the refund contact info and find that they added a deadline in the interim. Guess it's my fault for not following more closely but I can't help but feel they went off half cocked announcing a refund and not thinking it through fully, and then later adding a deadline after it got to costly. For those in my situation it is not great looking from a customer service perspective, both the refund and deadline should have been announced at the same time.
    cbeer88 likes this.
  37. ravot

    ravot Devotee (426) Mar 20, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    bigger thread here. didn't see any posts with similar situation as yours.
  38. VDubDJ

    VDubDJ Initiate (0) Aug 11, 2011 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    I would like to be one of the people giving some kudos to GI. Of course I can only speak from my personal experience. When I called them to ask about my refund the process was quick and easy. I got my shirt(it's really nice) a couple weeks ago and got my check today, no issues at all. They did the right thing and fessed-up to their mistake and had what I feel was an easy process to get a refund. Just wanted to be a positive voice in what I understand isn't a fun situation overall.
    foundersfan1 likes this.
  39. PsilohsaiBiN

    PsilohsaiBiN Defender (608) Aug 10, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    Got my check today. :sunglasses:
  40. Pound

    Pound Initiate (187) Mar 5, 2015 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Got my check yesterday. Was for $30 when it was supposed to be $100. Called and they acknowledged the problem, saying they will send me the balance.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.