Store owners handling on case of KBS...

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by RayOhioFelton, Feb 24, 2013.


What is the best way to handle limited quantities of rare releases?

  1. Lottery

  2. First come/first serve

  3. Waiting list

  4. Who ever spends the most gets priority

  5. Other

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  1. RayOhioFelton

    RayOhioFelton Devotee (416) May 24, 2011 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I am located south of Cleveland, OH and am lucky to have 4-5 really solid beer stores surrounding me. They all have there pros and cons but between them all it isn't hard to find what I am looking for.

    Upon discussing the upcoming release of KBS with one of the store owners he informed me that he gets one case a year. I asked him if he had a waiting list or how I could get some. His response was that he only sold to certain customers that spend "boo coo bucks" and makes more customers angry than happy with his distribution of the case.

    I understand he has to take care of his top customers but I probably spend around $100 a month in that store, sometimes way more depending on the season, and feel like I was told I don't spend enough. This was about a week ago and have stopped shopping there. The only thing they get over the other stores is Three Floyd's so that s all I plan to purchase in the future significantly cutting down the amount I spend with this store.

    I feel like a waiting list, lottery or first come/first serve would be a more fair response than spend the most money and maybe you'll be considered. I'm waiting for the KBS release to see if he will sell it to me but until then thoughts on this store owners mindset?
  2. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    IMO first come first serve with a staggered release is the best way to release a beer.

    If we're honest here, most peoples idea of what is fair is also the option which they are more likely to get the beer they want. If you really want the best way to release a beer it has nothing to do with fixing the store, it has more to do with fixing the customer. Until the customers get it through their head they don't need the beer and stop being upset when they don't get the beer, we will be dealing with more whining and complaining with every release.
  3. ChefHopMeister

    ChefHopMeister Aspirant (256) Aug 3, 2010 Virginia

    A retailer can distribute to customers as they feel fit for their business but there is no easy fix. With that said, I would want to make as many customers happy as I could and recognize the regulars, whether they spend $25 or $100+ a month. Why shut out the guy who has a thinner budget but still frequents and buys regularly from the shop?

    If I were only allocated 1 case/24 bottles, I'd make a list limit 1-2 bottles to regulars. This way more customers get some and are recognized. It's better to get at least one bottle of highly allocated, great brew than nothing at all, plus develop good will amongst regulars.
  4. RayOhioFelton

    RayOhioFelton Devotee (416) May 24, 2011 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I completely understand the store owners side but why tell me he is getting it if he doesn't think I spend enough to get it. I felt like he was saying, hmm, buy some more beer and maybe I'll consider you. It was an odd approach.
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  5. michaeljstraub

    michaeljstraub Aspirant (294) Oct 6, 2012 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    I'd be fine with the first come first serve release if distributors bowed down to my work schedule. What, are you too busy at 6pm to deliver beer?:stuck_out_tongue:
  6. ChrisMon02

    ChrisMon02 Crusader (738) May 2, 2010 Ohio

    I too live in Cleveland and have a good idea of who you are referring to. I asked the same question and got the same answer. If it is in fact the same shop, he needs to carry WAY more than he currently does to get me to spend more. I am not interested in 50 bottles of Pumking and limited supply of everything else. If it is not the same store than somehow I got the same answer. Either way, I will seek out KBS when it ships and if I don't get it, I will live.

    As far as shopping at this particular store, I will stop while in the area but their are others that offer more.
  7. HeadyTheElder

    HeadyTheElder Disciple (390) Nov 3, 2012 Louisiana
    Beer Trader

    Anything but lotteries. A local store did a lottery for Westy 12 and it allows people to come out of the woodwork and get special things instead of regular customers.
    gwdavis, BigBarley and ChefHopMeister like this.
  8. JoeBloe

    JoeBloe Zealot (523) Nov 16, 2007 New York

    My local place has a first come first served policy, however they apparently allow the same two guys, time after time, to buy ALL of their limited release stock - no limits - I'm talking multiple cases - (bwaah!)
    Holsie likes this.
  9. Steimie

    Steimie Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2012 Michigan

    Know why you felt that way? Because that's exactly what he's saying.

    Now, you can decide if and how you want to deal with this store in the future, but make no mistake, he was telling you that you need to spend more money to get KBS from hm.
    victory4me likes this.
  10. RayOhioFelton

    RayOhioFelton Devotee (416) May 24, 2011 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Buehler's on 303 in Brunswick and Circle A on Sprague and 130th are far superior! Not going to call out this particular store and won't pitch a fit if I don't get KBS.
    jaywz and ChrisMon02 like this.
  11. ipas-for-life

    ipas-for-life Disciple (347) Feb 28, 2012 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    I have no problem with this approach as long as you know where you stand. If they had a point system and every time you make a purchase it says on your recipe your total points and rank then I'm cool with it. In this case it sounds like the people who get the good stuff probably kiss the owners ass more than you.
  12. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    Here is my issue with customer loyalty systems, it exacerbates the sense of entitlement. Entitlement is one of the biggest problems with releases. There are many way to reward loyalty, limited releases is not to only one.
    thenamestsam, draheim, Vav and 16 others like this.
  13. jrman1386

    jrman1386 Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    The best way I have found that a bottle shop can handle limited releases.

    Only their beer manager can sell rare bottles. He sells them on a first come first serve basis with discretion. If he doesn't recognize you, he won't sell to you. This has nothing to do with how much you spend. I might only buy a bottle or two from them monthly, but I talk to him, and he knows I appreciate the beer. It stretches their stock further with their regulars, while only pissing off people late to the game.
    codasnap52 likes this.
  14. ipas-for-life

    ipas-for-life Disciple (347) Feb 28, 2012 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    Does he tell them that he doesn't have any? Or does he tell them he won't sell it to them?
  15. taxman

    taxman Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2012 Illinois

    First come first serve sucks. Deliveries are during the works day when most people work. So, I would have to take time off and follow the delivery truck around to have a chance. Waiting lists suck because if you're not there within ten minutes after they start one, you're screwed. Lotteries are probably the best choice, but only if the they only let their regular customers enter and NOT random people who only buy limited releases.
    Willbfun and YogiBeer like this.
  16. FEUO

    FEUO Disciple (327) Jul 24, 2012 Ontario (Canada)

    There is no perfect system. Can we all acknowledge that?

    Lottery: flaw - people come out of the woodwork, does not reward loyalty or persistence
    First-come-first-serve: rewards persistence and nothing else. I could drop $1k per month at a store, which is paid for a busy work schedule, but doesn't allow for getting in line in the middle of the day, or at 4am on weekends, etc.
    Rewarding-loyal-customers: makes sense in some ways, but freezes out potential long term customers or those customers who may already be loyal but aren't all up in the beer guy's face kissing ass everytime they are in and thereby go unnoticed.
    List: works in most cases unless there is little supply. No one wants just 1 12oz bottle. 4pack minimum.

    Again, nothing is perfect. The store needs to do what they think is best for them and their customers. Invariably mistakes and missteps will happen along the way.
    MichiBrew, tlh1005, PeterJ and 9 others like this.
  17. seakayak

    seakayak Disciple (354) May 20, 2007 Massachusetts

    I imagine most beer stores need hundreds of regulars just to stay in business, so handing them out to regulars doesn't seem feasible. I've been going to my beer store weekly for 15 years, but I wouldn't count on the manager thinking I'm special.

    If it's really a special limited supply then limit it to one, sign a sheet to track it, and then first come/first served takes one home. Everybody's happy.
    thenamestsam likes this.
  18. krl2112

    krl2112 Crusader (735) Nov 10, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    So this is a very interesting conversation/debate to me as I have a couple of views. Ultimately I voted for first come, first served. However, I think it is nice when a store will hold a bottle for you if you are a regular customer. I somewhat feel that this is the benefit for consistently goig to that store. However, I think the most fair and unbiased way is simply first come. That puts less "stress" on the store. Just my opinion.
  19. Bung

    Bung Poo-Bah (2,274) Nov 5, 2007 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Basically no need to post after this. Thank You.
  20. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,519) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    The place I go to does a call list, it rewards return customers, but they also allow guys who know about a release to be on the list too, so the list is kinda 1st come 1st serve behind a few always busy customers.
    Pecan likes this.
  21. aasher

    aasher Poo-Bah (2,653) Jan 27, 2010 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    We now do a lottery/raffle a couple weeks after the release at a big tasting event.
  22. DogfishJoe

    DogfishJoe Initiate (189) Feb 14, 2010 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Hey I'm also from Ohio and I've had a similar problem with the same store in chagrin falls. I've probably spent aroundm $300 in the 4x I've been their. Every time I call this store about a limited release I get some ridiculous answer. CBS it was "already gone gave to our loyal customers" ok? Black note was "it's already come an gone!" When I had been calling almost everyday. Founders cbh was " we don't get limited beers like this, you never know"
    Coirm likes this.
  23. NoLeafClover44

    NoLeafClover44 Crusader (708) Feb 24, 2011 Delaware
    Beer Trader

    I think some combination of these strategies is the best way to go. If you get one case of KBS, maybe give 8-12 to your "best" customers and then use a lottery system for the remaining. Or substitute the FC/FS or list system for one of these. I like the idea of having at least a few of the beers raffled off because then I feel like I had an equal chance with everyone else, even if that expands the pool of potential buyers.
    MichiBrew, Pecan and gpawned like this.
  24. jbck109

    jbck109 Aspirant (267) May 30, 2010 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    First come/ first serve, but with a staggered release. Maybe put out 1/3 of the allotment at a time so that more people have a chance and it doesnt all go to truck chasers with mules. It would also be nice if people would actually ONLY buy THEIR limit of a release.
  25. DogfishJoe

    DogfishJoe Initiate (189) Feb 14, 2010 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Who has time to follow the truck all day !!! No life lol
  26. bleakies

    bleakies Disciple (388) Apr 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    If I were a retailer I'd likely put a few bottles aside in case some of the better customers got shut out, then sell the rest off the shelf with a bottle limit, but I'm lazy.

    If I were a retailer who wasn't lazy, anyone could buy a bottle if they could first snatch the pebble from my hand.
    beerindaglass likes this.
  27. BB1313

    BB1313 Poo-Bah (2,668) Jul 16, 2009 Ohio

    If we're thinking of the same store, which I think we are, then yeah they're silly over there. I remember calling this place a few years ago seeking out some KBS. They said they had some and would hold a 4pk. I get there and they tell me they never even had it in stock. I was dumbfounded. I bit my tongue and just walked out because I was about to say some rude shit. I never went back which is unfortunate because I actually liked the store. I ended up scoring some at the Heinen's nearby, so I guess beer karma was on my side that day.
    OneShinerAway and ChrisMon02 like this.
  28. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (824) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    If i ran a beer store, i would follow sites like BA to find out how much people are willing to pay for it. Than sell bottles for 50% more.
  29. TychoNDC

    TychoNDC Disciple (395) Jan 7, 2013 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Most of the stores near me are rather nonchalant with their limited release stuff. For instance, Cherry Rye was displayed alongside all the other bottles when it was released. Similarly, Nugget Nectar was placed right up front and as far as I can tell they didn't have a limit. However, for very limited releases I know some places will hold all of their stuff in the back and wait for customers to ask them specifically for it before selling it.
  30. deadonhisfeet

    deadonhisfeet Poo-Bah (1,572) Apr 23, 2011 Kentucky

    My local store always gets a lot of BCBS. They put it on the floor and let people buy whatever they want. However, they never get more than a few cases of KBS so they take care in how they sell it. First come, first serve. One 4-pack per customer.
  31. JuniperJesus

    JuniperJesus Aspirant (270) Feb 26, 2011 Illinois

    The fairest way: the beer goes to the highest bidder. Whoever values it most gets it.
    beerindex and rlcoffey like this.
  32. YogiBeer

    YogiBeer Initiate (0) May 10, 2012 Illinois

    Lottery is the only.. truly fair way. The people who dont like lottery releases are only thinking of themselves. Selling only to people who spend the moet money seems silly to me. Never has made any sense.
  33. DubbelTrubbel

    DubbelTrubbel Initiate (0) Nov 19, 2012 Georgia

    Why not a waiting list? If you know something is coming, which means you probably are dedicated enough to know, put your name on the list. That way you don't have to worry about rushing to the store.
  34. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    Replace highest bid with highest percentage of yearly income and we're getting there. Everything should really be an auction, auctions just improve things for everyone...
    oldp0rt likes this.
  35. oldp0rt

    oldp0rt Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2011 Quebec (Canada)

    when it's that limited. Just put it up on the shelf randomly and let the people who stumble upon them to buy it. (with a limit of course)
  36. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Savant (968) Mar 17, 2009 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I like the raffle at a big store tasting idea. It's the best way to distribute insanely limited things without picking favorites. You may even get to try the beer at the tasting so that can satisfy people who don't get it.

    Either that or stores should put out on shelves on their slowest day of the week for craft beer customers
  37. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    When do they put out the waiting list? Is that fair to everyone? What about the annoying customers who start pestering the store months ahead of time about waiting list. Those people aren't more dedicated, they are more annoying and don't know where to stop.

    Sure waiting list have their advantages but it also breeds laziness. You can claim to be dedicated because you know its coming out but you're not dedicated enough to do the leg work to get the beer?

    I don't really care about lists or not, it is just another game that is really unnecessary to play and breeds more entitlement.
    zach60614 and YogiBeer like this.
  38. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,292) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Biased towards unemployed college students; all they have to do is offer $1 and they become the automatic winner.

    beerindex and DubbelTrubbel like this.

    RBCORCORAN Aspirant (239) May 18, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    If a brewery can't make enough to go around they should keg it all and sell it to bars only.
    craigo19, Vav, HipsterBrewfus and 3 others like this.
  40. Barrelsnbeer

    Barrelsnbeer Initiate (0) Oct 6, 2012 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    as a beer store employee, most everything i do when it comes to special releases is first come first serve. when oracle came out we got one case, two bottle limit per customer. if one of my cool ass regulars calls me up and says hey can you hold a bottle for me ill be in after work. then no issue but i only hold special release products for one day and i have to know you. we dont have to be best friends but if we have at any point had a memorable interaction or i see you at least once every week then sure ill hold stuff but youve got from when you call me to when the store closes on super special releases. everyone deserves great beer.

    also i should mention its not based on how much they spend either, if the guy that comes in and buys 2 pbr tall boys every day hits me up and says,"hey man can you hold me a bottle of X new beer i heard about? i really want to try it" then yeah ill hold it. great beer for everyone i say!!!!
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