Supporting my local brewery is costing to much...

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic' started by RandomBattle, Jan 4, 2015.

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  1. RandomBattle

    RandomBattle Initiate (136) Jun 25, 2010 New York

    On New Years eve my local brewery, Barrier Brewing, debuted a new IIPA in 12 oz. bottle 6 pack format. It was a limit of 1 case per person. Each six pack was $25 and the case was $100.

    When I first found out about Barrier I, like many BA's looking something fresh, new, and local, immediately went to check these guys out. This is back when their operation was being run out of a little tiny garage essentially. I thought what they were doing was pretty cool and frequently went there for growler fills. I liked that they always were changing their beers and were always producing something new, if only mediocre. Then they moved to a larger facility, and I continued to visit and get my fills. My visits became longer and longer each time as I got to meet and know the owners/brewmasters and other employees of this operation. All were awesome, quality people and very much still are. Then Long Island was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy and Barrier was almost completely wiped out. Their perseverance and determination to rebuild was astounding. Everyone wanted to help them. Some of their biggest recovery supporters were other breweries (Ommegang and Blue Point). So what can I do? Well, start buying beer right? I bought every beer in which the proceeds went to their rebuilding, mind you I didn't really like any of these beers, but it's not about that. I bought merchandise and, obviously, growler fills. Long story short they were back on their feet. After the storm they were able to allocate the premises next door in which they converted into their current tasting room. Great work guys.

    I've read a lot of posts in regards to BA's arguing about beer pricing these days, sometimes I agree and sometimes I disagree with various price points, although I do work at a distributor so I have been able to accurately see if there is price gouging going on any where. I have always agreed with the mantra of "vote with your wallet", no ones forcing you buy any of this. Unfortunately I did that at Barrier that day. I want to continue to support these guys but I cannot spend $25 on a six pack at the brewery itself. I did purchase a glass of it at the bar and while it was very tasty I don't think I would've spent $15 on it. It's sad but true. It's too high of a mark up. I know what beer case prices are and how much distributors tack on, so why $25 at the brewery in which it was made? I don't follow it.

    I still think Barrier is a cool place and I think everyone that works there is awesome, but unless their pricing changes I'll be buying beer elsewhere for the most part...
  2. wd09601

    wd09601 Initiate (88) Jul 29, 2012 Maryland

    Yeah, they can charge what they want and you don't have to buy it, but you also have the right to complain about it.
    $25 for 6 of any beer is steep, much less a new beer from a newish brewery.
  3. Patbrown2

    Patbrown2 Initiate (130) Nov 27, 2013 Connecticut

    You say you've gotten to know these guys. If it were me, it'd be hard for me to not ask them straight out about their pricing strategy.

    Of course, if it were me, I would have also walked out the first time they charged something in neighborhood of $25/growler.
    mythaeus and tkdchampxi like this.
  4. cornontherob

    cornontherob Initiate (0) Oct 15, 2011 New York

    Wow, sad to hear. I was excited when I heard they had 6 packs available of a new IPA but $25 is crazy.

    I often complain about really expensive IPA's. I understand when you have a bourbon barrel aged stout that took up resources and expense for 9 months to create BUT an IPA which may have used a more expensive hop, to me, should not cost so so much!

    I get why breweries can charge so much but with great beers like celebration, flower power or 2 hearted to name a few that don't cost an arm and a leg, I try to limit more expensive options. That's me though, to each his own.

    One final not on barrier, and all breweries for that matter. I HATE when they sell beers at a higher price then what's available from a distributor. There's no middle man and this is your most loyal customer. It's an opportunity to say thank you or win over new customers. I just don't get it.

    Good post, interesting
  5. bluehende

    bluehende Poo-Bah (2,428) Dec 10, 2010 Delaware

    I would be politely telling them that 25 dollars a six is way out of my budget. We all (almost all) want to support our local breweries and will pay a premium to do so. That premium has it's limits that are different for everyone. For me that is only a couple bucks a sixpack. And 2 bucks a sixpack will not even get my loyalty, just an occasional sixer.
    tkdchampxi and jrnyc like this.
  6. Msudukie

    Msudukie Aspirant (258) Oct 26, 2013 New York

    I had a similar approach early on with them (i.e., go often, support local). I think I stopped going more because they continue to put out ok beers and just aren't doing anything interesting IMHO. Not sure of their long term plans but other local breweries are very quickly surpassing them in terms of quality and distribution (e.g., SingleCut, Finback, Other Half).

    The price of these bottles are crazy. Even if they put Money in bottles, I would still pay no more than $15/6-pack. I wish them luck.
    RandomBattle likes this.
  7. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (878) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    Not that $25 for a sixer of an IPA is cool by any stretch, but re: distributor pricing, it wouldn't really make sense from a business standpoint to undercut local distributors/stores selling your product. And I know your point was breweries in general, but I believe Barrier self-distro (at least they used to)
  8. cornontherob

    cornontherob Initiate (0) Oct 15, 2011 New York

    ^ that's definitely a good point for why they would do said practices but still frustrating.
  9. jrnyc

    jrnyc Meyvn (1,158) Mar 21, 2010 New York

    $25 for a sixer is pretty nuts, but I am sure part of that high price is due to high ABV, but even so still very expensive. As others have said since you have a good relationship with them ask why so expensive and provide your feedback.
  10. needMIbeer

    needMIbeer Crusader (775) Feb 5, 2014 Virginia

    Can't blame you for your frustration. I'd be more than willing to pay a premium to support a local brewery producing quality beers but that willingness has a limit. When a local product is far exceeding the cost of a "world-class" beer in the same category it's hard to justify that purchase.
    tkdchampxi likes this.
  11. dar482

    dar482 Poo-Bah (3,873) Mar 9, 2007 New York
    Society Trader

    They could've put the beer in a 22 oz. bottle and charged $8... (Stone Enjoy By costs at least this much) And this post wouldn't exist...
    sfr26, abkayak, pitweasel and 4 others like this.
  12. RandomBattle

    RandomBattle Initiate (136) Jun 25, 2010 New York

  13. jrnyc

    jrnyc Meyvn (1,158) Mar 21, 2010 New York

    And if I recall correctly the bombers of BBHCFM they put out last year were $10.
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  14. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (878) Jan 22, 2011 New York


    So you would have been fine with the same cost per ounce in a different sized bottle?
    mikeburd1128 likes this.
  15. BoardwalkBock

    BoardwalkBock Zealot (577) Aug 18, 2012 New York

    You are correct. Daddy Warbucks and Submersion (years 1, 2 and 3) were also at 10$. It seems they have a pretty flat rate.

    I had no problem paying $10 for a few bottles of the first Submersion as it went towards getting the brewery back on its feet, but I had a hard time buying more than one this time around.

    The first version of Rock and Roll was, if I remember correctly, much cheaper than $25. Not sure of the price hike this time. Next time I am up there, I'll have to ask.
  16. RandomBattle

    RandomBattle Initiate (136) Jun 25, 2010 New York

    I didn't do the bad.
  17. Ilovelampandbeer

    Ilovelampandbeer Initiate (0) Aug 25, 2013 New York

    I agree with OP wholeheartedly... I try to make a point of supporting sixpoint, barrier, barrage, transmitter, rocky point, etc but some of these places have prices that don't add up when your talking about getting a product from the source...sixpoint has a couple different levels of markup before it gets to my hands and their value is still better than some of these places prices that have no markup..what gives
    tkdchampxi likes this.
  18. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,204) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    Economies of scale
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  19. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,204) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    Despite the fact that his point ignores that the bottles are being bought at the brewery, @dar482 hit the nail on the head. When I first saw the post with the asking price, I was really surprised. Then I realized I recently bought two 22oz bottles of Cutie Pie (a Pretty Things IPA) for about $9.50 each... which is more $ per oz.

    It should be pointed out that Barrier is really a draught operation (any bottles being sold are an anomaly). Living in NYC, when I first visited their taproom, I was very happy with the comparatively low prices of drinking beer there. Buying the regular offerings at the brewery is a good deal.
    Hirshi and rozzom like this.
  20. pitweasel

    pitweasel Initiate (0) Jun 11, 2007 New York

    Yeah, keep that little nugget of knowledge tucked away any time you reach for a bomber. Multiply that price by three and ask yourself if you'd really want to pay that much for a sixer of said beer.

    This is exactly why I'm thrilled about Victory at Sea being sold in six packs. The one time I bought it at home, it was $10. Saw a six pack on the shelf yesterday for $14. Uh.....yes. Yes please.
    RandomBattle likes this.
  21. taestee

    taestee Initiate (132) Dec 12, 2012 New York

    I figure they're still selling out of these at $25, so there's really no incentive for them to drop the prices.
  22. RandomBattle

    RandomBattle Initiate (136) Jun 25, 2010 New York

    That's pretty much why it doesn't matter if I say anything to them in regards to the price. So what if I can't afford it because there are plenty of people who can and will buy them. I just happened to think its an absurd price.
  23. RandomBattle

    RandomBattle Initiate (136) Jun 25, 2010 New York

    That's a good point, but those bottles were marked up at a distributor. If you were buying it straight from the source it would be much, much cheaper...well, one would hope. Most distributors make a killing on bombers. If distributors were just looking to break even on a case of bombers they would be selling them for less than $5 (average). Barrier is selling these right out of the tap room. I just didn't understand the very high mark up.
  24. taestee

    taestee Initiate (132) Dec 12, 2012 New York

    do they outsource their bottling? maybe that can explain some of the cost.
  25. Lucoli

    Lucoli Defender (644) Apr 2, 2013 New York

    I heard from a friend who talked to them while they were there that they do all the bottling by hand. Hand labeling, and hand capping.
  26. abkayak

    abkayak Disciple (346) Jan 8, 2013 New York

    is the six-pack carrier still hand spray painted? cause you cant put a price on that
    i can go up the block and buy growler fills of their stuff for less than at the brewery :astonished:
    i support these guys as much as possible but they do overestimate my financial abilities
    good thing for me i got my more well to do buddies hooked on them...i reap the rewards
  27. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (878) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    a friend of mine is really good friends with the Barrier guys. He says that yeah $25 may be a bit steep, but they're paying employees by the hour to hand bottle these beers on site
  28. 2Xmd

    2Xmd Devotee (408) Apr 19, 2013 New York

    They should accept volunteers to help like Great South Bay has. I would work for a few beers.
    beerloserLI likes this.
  29. RocketFrogDavid

    RocketFrogDavid Zealot (596) Apr 29, 2010 Virginia

    In therory it's a good idea and many breweries do this, but it can also be an insurance issue.
  30. Kanger

    Kanger Zealot (521) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    Yeah Transmitter was looking for bottling volunteers recently.
  31. mikeburd1128

    mikeburd1128 Zealot (547) Oct 28, 2011 New Jersey

    This is the problem though. Why is it that an $8 bomber is perfectly fine, but a $25 sixer isn't? Believe me, I'd pass all day on a $25 six pack of an IPA, but I'd probably grab an $8 bomber - I do it all the time with Enjoy By. I don't know what's going on in my dumb mind when I validate it to myself, but it's craziness. Just remember, @RandomBattle, next time you're at the store and about to grab that $8 bomber that it's the same price as that $25 sixer. And if you're still grabbing those $8 bombers, like I do fairly regularly, what are we really okay with paying for beer?
    zid, dar482, rozzom and 1 other person like this.
  32. BoardwalkBock

    BoardwalkBock Zealot (577) Aug 18, 2012 New York

    They absolutely do hand bottle and design each individual beer. I've seen it first hand, and it takes plenty of man hours to get it done.
  33. RandomBattle

    RandomBattle Initiate (136) Jun 25, 2010 New York

    I totally understand the logic. Although we, probably, also buy the $8 bomber because it's not available in a six, and if it is the bomber is usually way cheaper (i.e. Firestone Walker Union Jack for example). If the only way for me to get a beer is via bomber then what choice do I have? One of the bigger factors in my decision to not buy the beer was why the high mark up? Mind you when they were selling bombers of their beers I didn't purchase them either for the same reason. If the high cost is because of hand bottling and 'pretty' artwork, no thanks. I don't plan on keeping the bottle.
  34. thenamestsam

    thenamestsam Initiate (0) Sep 13, 2012 New York

    It isn't necessarily illogical. For me (and I suspect many others), a big part of what I'm interested in is just trying the beer. No beer that costs $25 for 6 or 8 for a bomber is ever going to be in my regular drinking rotation, but that doesn't mean I'm not curious to try it once. That means that I'm willing to pay significantly more for the first few ounces (the try) than I am for all of the ounces that follow it. So my willingness to pay for the beer isn't a flat $x per ounce like people in this thread are suggesting it should be. Paying $8 for 22 oz is significantly more appealing than paying $25 for 72 oz, because the $25 for 72 comes with a lot more of those lower value ounces, i.e. the ones after I've already gotten the try I craved.

    If I could pay $8 to get two of the beers out of the 6 pack I'd greatly prefer that to paying $25 for the whole 6 and be basically indifferent (other than to 2oz difference) between that and paying $8 for a bomber. $4 for a single 12oz is even better. In this situation though where the beer is available to try on draft I can't see ever paying that kind of price for a bottle.
    1Sundown2C and bluehende like this.
  35. Kanger

    Kanger Zealot (521) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    I think paying $8 for a bomber is more accepted since there is less of a commitment.
  36. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (878) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    I definitely agree when it comes to the bomber vs 4/6 pack argument

    But even at a 12oz single vs 22oz bomber level, I think people would balk at paying $5 (for example) for the 12oz, yet would be totally happy to pay $9 and change for the bomber - which is totally illogical.
    mikeburd1128, jrnyc and Kanger like this.
  37. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Poo-Bah (1,777) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    The market is so saturated with 10$-20$ bombers that 8$ seems like a deal.

    Used to be 5$ a bomber was a good deal.
  38. Kanger

    Kanger Zealot (521) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    Got to love that Victory's Moving Parts #2 22 oz bombers are only $4.99.
    FatBoyGotSwagger likes this.
  39. mohawk5

    mohawk5 Initiate (0) Jul 24, 2014 New Jersey

    $25 is pretty ridiculous for 6pk. I have no problem paying $8 for a bomber since only $8 is coming out of my pocket. I don't need a 6pk of any beer most times.

    Also, do all of you only drink at home? Why not complain about the prices of pints and 10oz pours at bars ($6-10) while we're at it?
    bluehende likes this.
  40. bluehende

    bluehende Poo-Bah (2,428) Dec 10, 2010 Delaware

    This is why I rarely go out to drink and many times do not have a beer at a restaurant. I am just too cheap to pay through the nose for a mediocre beer. The exception for me is visiting breweries. For some inexplicable reason I have less problem giving a brewer my extra cash as opposed to a retailer.
    FatBoyGotSwagger likes this.
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