Stillwater - The Tale Of Van Winkle

Discussion in 'US - Northeast' started by kodymupa, Aug 23, 2012.

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  1. kodymupa

    kodymupa Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2010 Illinois

    Has anyone still seen Stillwater Folklore - The Tale of Van Winkle on the shelves? How much is it going for?
  2. ao125

    ao125 Aspirant (241) Dec 1, 2010 Virginia

  3. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,066) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    You might want to check Stillwater's "tied house" pub, the Of Love and Regret Pub. Last time I was there, they had several barrel aged Stillwater beers available, though I can't recall if they had this one. If they do, expect to pay a premium for it, as prices are high at the pub. I think all of the barrel aged offerings were selling for $35 a bottle (though I believe you can save $3 if you want to take any of them to go).

    Another possibility is to check with Max's in Baltimore. They have an extensive bottle list, and they tend to carry a good selection of Stillwater beers. If they do have it, I would expect their price will be considerably better than what you'll pay at Of Love and Regret, even though they're also a bar.

    Good luck.
  4. slimjim871

    slimjim871 Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2011 Pennsylvania

    They did have it at OLAR when I was there, unfortunately that was one of the few bottles that had to be consumed on premise.
  5. DrBier

    DrBier Poo-Bah (1,809) Jun 12, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Saw it in Westminster. Let me say I really like all of Brian's beers and I don't mind dropping some coin on beers but the new BA Folklore was $18 for a 12oz bottle. With MD tax that would be nearly $20 for 12oz of MD beer. That's too much, I passed. Also enjoyed my visit to OLAR but won't be back often due to the pricing there as well. Too many other options out there these days to get taken advantage of.
  6. ao125

    ao125 Aspirant (241) Dec 1, 2010 Virginia

    On one hand, I agree with you, that that's a crazy price for 12oz of beer. On the other hand, I don't see the need to crap on something just because it's from MD.
  7. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,066) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    This sums up my feelings about Stillwater exactly. While I typically would want to support a local brewer and merchant as much as I can, the pricing of Stillwater beers and food at OLAR just seems excessive. IMHO, there's no justification for the prices I see for Stillwater beers, and as much as I like them, I've generally stopped ordering Stillwater beers when I see them on the menu (or in a store). As DrBier points out, there are too many equally fine options out there, and most can be had for less money. In some instances considerably less money.

    Probably just a coincidence, but I see that there has (apparently) been a "falling out" between Brian S. and his chef at OLAR. Apparently Ted Stelzenmuller has now left OLAR to return to his position as the full time chef at Jack's Bistro.,0,5651288.story
  8. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,066) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    "On the other hand, I don't see the need to crap on something just because it's from MD."

    Wow. How'd you get that out of the prior post from DrBier? It sounded as if he was simply noting that the price for Stillwater beers was too rich for his blood, and that there are plenty of other options that can be had for less money. Frankly, I would agree with both sentiments.

    I'm just not seeing the "crapping on something just because it's from Maryland" aspect of his post.
  9. DrBier

    DrBier Poo-Bah (1,809) Jun 12, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Not trying to crap on either Stillwater and certainly not The Land of Pleasant Living. Let's Go O's. My point was for a local gypsy beer it's too expensive don't care what state we're in.
  10. ao125

    ao125 Aspirant (241) Dec 1, 2010 Virginia

    I see people all too often complaining about the price of beers, just because they're local to where the complainer is... and quite frankly, it's irritating. That's what I mean by "crap on something just because it's from MD."

    Yeah... I'll agree that $20 for 12oz is steep... but that's the laws of supply and demand and economies of scale for you.

    If I had a quarter for every time I heard someone say "I'm not paying $10 for a six pack, because brewery XYZ is just down the street," I'd have a sock full... and I'd put that sock full of quarters to good use.
    slimjim871 likes this.
  11. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,066) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    I guess I'm coming at this from a different angle. Like I said, I want to support local producers as much as possible, but sometimes I feel as if the local brewer is trying to cash in on the local appeal of a beer.

    I try to compare like with like, and in this case I would compare the BA folklore with other "comparable" BA stouts. At $18 a pop, that's more expensive than KBS, CBS, Dark Lork, Kate, Abyss, BCBS, etc. Those beers are all highly regarded and highly rated, and so arguably deserving of the high price. Can someone please make a similar arguement for BA folklore? As near as I can tell, the best thing it has going for it is that it's made in Maryland (if you're from Maryland and/or are inclined to buy products produced in Maryland). As someone who I guess falls into that category (inclined to buy iterms produced in Maryland simply because they're produced in Maryland), that tends to irritate me, as it makes me feel as if I'm getting played for a sucker if I buy Stillwater beers.

    From my point of view, I often feel as if I'm getting crapped on by Stillwater, simply because I'm from Maryland. I would add that my impression isn't helped by the fact that the last time I was out in Portland Oregon, a glass of Stillwater beer at a local pub was $2 less a glass than what I would have had to pay for it at OLAR.
    jimmy666 likes this.
  12. bstill

    bstill Initiate (0) Nov 29, 2005 Maryland

    wow.. i guess only breweries like Lost Abby & Russian River can release $20+ 375ml beers?

    i normally stay out of conversations such as these, but i feel the need to defend myself here as people like Mr. Michaelsen seem to have been lately enjoying giving me grief for my pricing (yes, i noticed your reviews and comments on a variety of sites from Yelp to the Baltimore Sun, thank you).

    first off.. i have never set out to price gouge with my products. because of the fact that my beer is produced in a way that it travels through multiple hands in the industry, the price increases (not my profit). this beer in general was produced using extremely hard to procure 20yr Pappy Van Winkle barrels and we only yielded 1,200x 375ml bottles that is 100 cases of 12 to be distributed to my market of 35 states. unlike some breweries that are able to sell rarities like these direct from their brewery (and often times still charge a premium), all of my beers must pass through traditional distribution channels, that alone can increase the cost of a product by 40%.

    my apologies for the added costs and the often 'hard to find' aspect of my beers, but i am just one dude trying to make something unique and special to share with the world, and doing it the only way i can.. if you don't dig what i do, it's cool.. but ya don't need to go hatin', yo.


    p.s. any future concerns, compliments, complaints, or random haikus.. keep me in the loop and hit me up direct: stillwaterales (at) gmail (.) com
    xnicknj, slvrmon82, cj8311 and 3 others like this.
  13. ao125

    ao125 Aspirant (241) Dec 1, 2010 Virginia

    While we're on the subject of Folklore, is 25-to-One exactly the same as Folklore? I have a bottle that I picked up a while ago that I was thinking about drinking this weekend.
  14. bstill

    bstill Initiate (0) Nov 29, 2005 Maryland

    yes.. pretty much same beer, slight recipe tweaks but same concept.
  15. ao125

    ao125 Aspirant (241) Dec 1, 2010 Virginia

  16. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,066) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    I paid $5 a glass for cellar door at Beermongers in Portland, and no, it wasn't happy hour. Glass size was 12 ounces.

    "yes i have to buy my own beer from the MD distro for my own bar.. how is that for getting shit on??"

    Volker mentioned the same thing when he first starting making bottles of the peppercorn triple. My understanding is that this is because neither you nor he were brewing and/or bottling the beer on the premises. Maryland laws....

    In terms of pricing for the BA folklore, as I indicated, I tried to compare like with like. BA folklore isn't a wine barrel aged sour ale infected with brett, nor is it a fruit flavored lambic style ale with 100% of the proceeds going to charity (which is why I didn't use RR beers as an example). On the other hand, KBS, CBS, Dark Lord, etc.... you feel your expenses are that much higher than the breweries making those beers?

    As for my OLAR reviews, I tried to be as accurate and objective as possible when reviewing it. While I said a lot of positive things about OLAR, I didn't gush over the place as some reviewers did, and you're right, I did have some criticisms as well. IMHO, they were the sort of problem areas other prospective customers going to OLAR would want to know about, which is the only reason I mentioned them.

    I've always thought your beers pretty good, but on the other hand, as others have alluded to, there are many other well made, delicious Belgian style saisons and Belgian style strong ales (which appears to be the style most of your beers are patterned after) available on the market. I don't know.... I just find it strange and difficult to fathom when a beer like Stateside saison, that to the best of my knowledge is made over at the DOG brewery in Westminster, costs $3 or $4 more a bottle than what I have to pay for Dupont Saison, which is brewed 4000 miles from here and, IMHO, is one of the best saisons on the planet.

    When I first tried the stateside saison during 72 hours of Belgium several years ago, the impression I got from talking to the bartenders at Max's was that your beer was a bit pricey at present, because you had a lot of start-up costs and your expenses were high because the initial batch was so small. Still, I was happy to pay the freight (I bought a LOT of stateside at that first weekend event), as you were local, the beers were good and highly regarded, and we all wanted to see you succeed. I'm still happy to see you succeed and I wish you nothing but luck in all your endeavors, but dammit man, IMHO, your prices are just too high for what you're making.
    jimmy666 and bum732 like this.
  17. ao125

    ao125 Aspirant (241) Dec 1, 2010 Virginia

    Economies of scale.

    Brasserie Dupont produces more beer and has a larger buying power for raw ingredients than DOG. Since they buy in larger bulk, their costs go down.

    In 2010, Dupont produced 10,000 barrels of beer, which is what... 420,000 gallons?
  18. DeutschesBier

    DeutschesBier Initiate (0) Feb 8, 2009 Maryland

    I won't get into the price thing, but one thing about Stillwater is that I wish more of their barrel-aged and special edition beers stayed somewhat local (not just at Max's, OLAR, and maybe one other place in B-more). I know you have to keep the markets happy and all - I get that - I just wish some other stores got some of the wine barrel beers and such.
    jimmy666 likes this.
  19. DeutschesBier

    DeutschesBier Initiate (0) Feb 8, 2009 Maryland

    As a Gypsy brewer, shouldn't there also be savings from not being tied down to a brewery or brewpub (rent/mortgage, utilities, general overhead, payroll, dividends to investors, etc, etc)? It's an honest question, I'm not trying to be a dick. I know it costs a lot more on a per-beer basis to produce smaller batches, but I would think that other savings would almost cancel them out. I guess he pays a fee to the brewery in which the beer is made though....
  20. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,066) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader


    On the other hand, doesn't Dupont have to maintain a brewery (with all the costs associated with that), and for that matter, even though Dupont has larger buying power, allowing them to negotiate a better deal for ingredients, I would still expect the cost of raw materials to be more expensive in Belgium than the US. Add to that the cost of getting the beer over here, whatever licensing fees are necessary, the importer's costs...

    I don't mean to suggest I'm an expert on any of this, and maybe there really is a good reason why Stillwaters beers are so expensive (at least they seem so me), however....

    Obviously, Brian S. has to pay some sort of fee to use the faciliities over at DOG, but even so, I would assume that's still cheaper than having to operate your own brewery (at least in the short term... maybe not in the long run). Add to that the additional cost of getting the beer over to the US, and at least to my unsophisticated eye, I would expect a local product made with similar ingredients to be cheaper than a foreign product (assuming the foreign producer isn't intentionally trying to take a loss on the sale of their product here for one reason or another).

    I would also add that there are plenty of other domestic saisons available now as well. I'd have to think long and hard before naming one that is more expensive than the stateside saison.

    Let me finish with this comment. I absolutely support local producers and merchants wherever possible, but I'm not going to cut off my nose to spite my face. If Stillwater stateside saison (for example) sold for the same price as Dupont Saison, I'd buy the stateside saison most of the time, just because it's made by a local guy who I support. I like Dupont better, but I like state saison well enough that I'd prefer to throw my money to the local guy. However, asking me to pay extra for a similarly styled beer that I don't personally think is as good... that's asking too much.
    DRBiser and jimmy666 like this.
  21. ao125

    ao125 Aspirant (241) Dec 1, 2010 Virginia

    How do those costs go away? DOG has those costs and they still have to be met, unless they're a charity and brewing and packaging Stillwater Ales for free. They just cut into the split between the contract brewer and the person or entity doing the contracting and/or raise the overall price.

    Victory has an 82K BBL annual production and they don't have to import the beer.

    That still represents a significantly larger buying power. Hell, they probably spill more beer than some smaller brewers make all year.
  22. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,066) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    "How do those costs go away"

    They don't, but they can be shared or offset. DOG makes beer under their own label/name of course, and for all I know, Brian S. isn't the only brewer using the facility. In theory, the more people using the facility, the greater the reduction in the fixed operating costs passed on to the users. Wouldn't that be the case?
  23. ao125

    ao125 Aspirant (241) Dec 1, 2010 Virginia

    It's all going to hookers and blow.
  24. DeutschesBier

    DeutschesBier Initiate (0) Feb 8, 2009 Maryland

    Finally! We have the answer!

    I'm sure I am underestimating his costs, but I just have no idea about that side of things.

    Expanding so rapidly into 35 markets and using the labels/designs that he does can't be cheap, either.
  25. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,066) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    Well dammit then, he at least needs to start sharing the next time I see him at a Stillwater event!
    ao125 likes this.
  26. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan Initiate (0) Dec 13, 2009 New York

    Price least you guys have access to these beers.

    ISO - Tale of Van Winkle and tons of other Stillwater beers that don't make it out to Long Island NY. I feel thankful that we finally started getting a few of the more popular brews and every now and then when I get into NYC I stock up on Stillwater brews...but the BA stuff is impossible to find by me (if it ever shows up here).

    If you have access to any of the barrel aged Stillwaters or brian's extended lineup of beers, please hit me up...there are lots of new variations I haven't had the pleasure of trying (esp Tale of Van Winkle). got more than plenty to trade and would love to work out a mutually beneficial relationship so I can try more Stillwater.

    ps. Brian, how we doing on seeing some new Stillwater glassware?

    don't let these fools get you down. haters' gonna hate. if they weren't bitching about your beer, they'd bitch about someone else's...fact of the matter is that there is a TON of crap beer out there selling for $20 a bottle and people are gobbling it up. if you don't like the beer, don't buy it...there are plenty of us who dig what brian does and wish we had the opportunity to support him more but we simply don't have access. Cheers!!!
  27. bstill

    bstill Initiate (0) Nov 29, 2005 Maryland

    ok.. the short of it.

    DOG is small.. and the growth of Stillwater has it at max capacity. they invested in new tanks and bottling equiptnent this year to keep up.. where does that $ come from?? Stillwater sales. I have to buy all my beer from the host brewery at their decided price. I may not own the brewery, but i have to pay their costs. It then goes to my exclusive global distro 12% Imports, who then sells it to State Distributors. It's a model I created because I wanted to be artistically free with my beers and was not sure any one local market could support an endevour like this.. A good call because MD is not my largest market.. add in my lust for travel and there you got it.

    In all honesty myself and 12% are constantly looking for ways to bring costs down, but for the moment this is what we can offer, but the support of Stillwater drinkers is allowing us to grow and work that economy of scale.

    As for Van Winkle? There were 1,200 bottles that's like 115 gallons.. that's a small spill in some breweries.

    Also different State Distros charge different margins.. that's why my beer is cheaper in Philly & Chicago then MD / DC.

    We spread the beer around as much as possible, because I want the widest audience possible to experience what I do, most breweries work the local angle more, but that's not what I set out to do. We still give MD / DC first dibbs and the lions share.. but Stillwater isn't a local brand and because of the model I cannot compete with local prices.. and some of these local breweries self distribute, thus cutting 2 hands out of the mix right there.

    so.. Stillwater - brewed locally somewhere.

    fmccormi, cj8311 and ao125 like this.
  28. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,066) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    Well if anything would get him to, it should be this post. :-)

    If I understand his post, apparently he's willing to pay any price to obtain Stillwater beers (or anything else he happens to like). Things must be pretty awful in Long Island.
  29. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,066) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    Thank you. Your explanation goes a long way in my book and I'll reconsider my buying stratedgy accordingly. There is a lot of good beer out there, and a lot of good domestic saisons and Belgian strong ales. However, whenever possible, I always like to try to support a local entrepeneur. Cheers!
  30. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan Initiate (0) Dec 13, 2009 New York

    sorry "bro" already married so covered in that area...just looking to get ahold of some quality beer (that i'm willing to pay for without bitching and moaning about the cost). forgive me for actually praising a brewer for his craft as opposed to whining that his prices are too high.

    Long Island actually gets decent distribution, but there is only one store that i know of that ever gets stillwater and never gets any of the special treatments. i don't know if i would pay "any" price for stillwater beers, but you hit the conceptual nail on the head. there are certain luxuries in life where i have expensive being one of them (i think most of us on this site can relate). you gotta pay to play. i have plenty of friends who will balk at a $10 6-pack and instead pound some macro over a quality made brew...those same friends will then make a comment about their imported custom shoes or some other luxury item that i couldn't fathom spending the cash on.

    i find it shocking that you are surprised that the beer you like the most costs more than the beers that you don't like as much. do you complain on that your favorite steakhouse charges more than some other comparable steak joints in your town? if you feel that stateside is overpriced for what it is, then drink victory helios (your comparison). i personally feel that allagash is overpriced for a lot of the beer that they make and as such, i choose to drink beers that have the quality/taste/price ratio that works for me.

    it is all simple economics, if the price is to high, the product won't sell...the product won't sell, the business will cease to exist. if brian (or any brewer) makes a product that people want, their goal is to set a price that the market will tolerate while keeping their costs as low as possible. also, it isn't like the prices are that out of line compared to what other people charge for much inferior quality.

    perhaps you are right, "hater's gonna hate" was the wrong thing to say...i should've said "a whiner's gonna whine." carry on.
  31. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan Initiate (0) Dec 13, 2009 New York

    indeed i am a fanboy...Stillwater is one of many breweries that i sing praises for.

    you can just as easily point out facts that there are other beers with higher price points than's okay, i whine too. in fact, i was pointing out the fact (aka whining) that i don't get enough stillwater distributed to my home turf. the bulk of the content on this website is people whining and/or making fun of each other. remember, on BA, the only thing more fun than talking about beer is making someone else look bad.

    i think it is great that we got Brian's attention in this thread and that he is showing general concern about the happiness of his fan base, but bottom line is if it is too pricey for you, then leave it on the shelf for someone like me who appreciates what he does and is willing to pay a bit more for it. as mentioned, Stillwater is just one guy...i've been fortunate enough to try some of the interesting treatments and experiments and i like to support brewers that are pushing the envelope and doing unique things. i used to feel that way about mikkeller and then i hit a point where i decided that the price point was too high for the quality of the beer (with minimal exceptions) now, when i see a new mikkeller beer in my bottle shop, i leave it for the guy who thinks that taking the chance is worth the price point.

    just like you have a right to voice your opinion about price being too high, i have a right to voice my opinion about price being in line with quality.

    You see, this is a forum where i can voice my opinion, and i think (others do as well) that their his prices are a tad high more than fair for the product that is produced. we all have a right to voice our opinion, not just you so no reason to get defensive.
  32. kodymupa

    kodymupa Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2010 Illinois

    Well as the original poster of this thread, I guess I never expected it to turn out like this. Just have been placing ISO:FT posts about Tale of Van Winkle to no avail...just seeing if it is even out there for someone to pick up and trade with me I do live in Chicago (but still thanks for all the bar names and bottle shops that I have no idea where they are).

    I do have to say, price is nothing when it comes to a beer you are looking for and really wanting to try. I rather try something I really want, then cry about the price.

    cosmicevan likes this.
  33. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan Initiate (0) Dec 13, 2009 New York

    it's all good that we have different opinions. would love to get ahold of more stillwater i haven't tried. sent you a convo :slight_smile:
  34. DrBier

    DrBier Poo-Bah (1,809) Jun 12, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Irony!! The crazy and frequently unexplainable world I love called craft beer. I walk into Al's of Hampton tonight and there it is! $12 a bottle, gotta love Al and Brian for the beer. Bought 2, dollar an oz I can do. Also Terry Hawbaker's 1st Pizza Boy beer on. Holy F "77 IBU 5% American Wheat Ale". Peace & Love too Y'all. Frankly I think this has been one of the more intelligent and relatively harmonious debates I've seen on Beer Advocate.
    slvrmon82 likes this.
  35. slvrmon82

    slvrmon82 Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2007 Delaware

    Love Stillwater and will support no matter who they brew with and from where it comes from!!!

    Cheers, Matt
  36. WillCarrera

    WillCarrera Initiate (0) Oct 11, 2010 Ohio

    Anyway in response to the OP, I bought a bottle a few days ago from Whole Foods on P Street (it's in the back room and you need to ask for it) for $14, it's very possible that they still have some.
  37. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,066) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    I would also add that I heard from Casey that Max's is getting one of two sixtels of this beer (OLAR will tap the other, which makes sense). Max's will tap their sixtel during Baltimore beer week, I assume the night that Stillwater is one of the featured breweries. Not sure when OLAR will put their sixtel on, though I would assume it will be during BBW as well. I'm sure it won't be cheap by the glass, but I would assume it will be cheaper then buying a bottle from a bottle shop.
  38. ao125

    ao125 Aspirant (241) Dec 1, 2010 Virginia

    Semi-related, really digging on Perfect Crime. Knocking back the American Blonde now.
    cosmicevan likes this.
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