Total Wine doesn't get it (yet another freshness rant)

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by tzieser, May 6, 2019.

  1. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,065) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    I spotted a stack of 12 packs (probably two dozen) of FW Union Jack this past weekend, canned late May 2018. What is the mentality behind this? Do they really think there is a market for year old IPAs? Such a waste of space and once-good beer. I pointed it out to the beer guy on the floor and he said "Oh, I'll have to talk to someone about that". (I'm sure he will:rolling_eyes:)

    No wonder companies like FW are eating the shit right now: you can't even find their packaged flagship beers fresh if you try. I honestly can't remember the last time I've seen Pivo pils that wasn't 11 months old.

    Meanwhile, I stupidly grabbed a 12 pack of Narragansett Fresh Catch, sitting right next to the new summer arrivals that just came in. Opened the pack and it was brewed June 2018. What a dumbass I am for shopping there. Fuck Total Wine and their elephant graveyard of a beer aisle. That is all.:beers:
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,147) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I recognize this 'rant' is focused at Total Wine & More (and justifiably so) but....

    The issue of too much old beer on beer retailers shelves is not just a Total Wine & More issue. The beer industry (i.e., Brewery -> Wholesale Distributor -> Beer Retailer) is seriously screwed up and with the increasing competition of new small. local breweries opening up at rates of 1,000+ per year they would be best served to fix this problem. Or else more and more beer consumers will just purchase fresh beer from their small, local breweries instead.

  3. hoagzzz

    hoagzzz Initiate (189) Feb 28, 2014 Pennsylvania

    This topic bothers me for some reason. Go to any wegmans or beer distributor and theee is a shit ton of shelf ipa that no one will ever buy!! Where does it end?? Maybe with 30% of these brewers failing in the next 2-3 years?? Or maybe a 50% drop in supply at any given spot? Otherwise it will only get worse.
  4. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,307) Sep 24, 2007 Vatican City

    Uh, you left customer out of your equation. Beer that doesn't sell fresh, is gonna stick around until it's old. Then, we get the weekly freshness bitch session.
  5. YamBag

    YamBag Initiate (169) Feb 2, 2007 Pennsylvania

    I miss the days of less skus. Now we have a ton of breweries that are constrained with capacity issues or just suck, plus a lot of classic breweries can't come close to meeting their capacity and their beer gets old on the shelf. I am also not a of the new craft world that reminds me of the wine industry. I don't want to drive all over the place to get 4 packs of beer and pay top dollar for it. I'm very disappointed to what the craft scene has turned into and I'm just glad I can brew what I enjoy for a lot less than these new boutique breweries are charging.
  6. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (720) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    No date I don’t buy it. Too much old beer I stop going.

    TW is hit/miss as are pretty much all places.

    I told a TW employee once that the SN Torpedo was over a year old and asked if they had anything fresher. In a snarky reply I was told no, there is nothing wrong with the beer we sell, beer does not go bad. I just walked away chuckling.

  7. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (973) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    There is nothing new about the concern for beer at Total. It's a great place to buy major brands, but the broad selection of singles, many on bottom shelves, is a recipe for bad beer sliding through full retail.. I applaud Total for working to bring as much as possible in a big way. I really believe that the old-fashioned grocery type shelving and presentation lends itself to product getting lost, and are not easy to shop..
  8. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,792) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    My TW is good but you have to be very diligent about checking. They excel at getting a ton of the seasonal items in that are usually fresh, key is knowing when they drop so you can get the fresh cans/bottles. The dark side of TW for me starts with singles. Most of the time its all old trash, they annoyingly will put a few fresh items in to confuse, so you pretty much have to check each bottle. You can find some good stuff but you need to work for it.
    I typically use total wine if I know some common items dropped, they typically are fresh and cheaper. But when it comes to local I go direct to brewery or my local small guys who I know and its always fresh.
    Sadly if your not the beer police you get burned. Check check and check again is my rule.

  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,147) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Because ideally the beer industry would remove this old product from the shelves just like old milk, old eggs, old bread, etc. are removed with absolutely no customer involvement here.

  10. beeragent

    beeragent Meyvn (1,312) Aug 16, 2005 Texas

    I placed an order online, for a family member to pick up in another state, at a Total Wine. My order was all IPAs. When I finally got the order, I found every one of the IPAs to be old and way past their freshness date. Unless it’s a fresh seasonal, I won’t buy beer from Total Wine anymore (and Gabriel’s for the same reason).
    jrnyc and JackHorzempa like this.
  11. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (973) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    There are laws that will not allow wholesalers to pick up old beer. In my estimation a good retailer has a good notion of what they may sell through. But to buy everything available and then build up a cache of beers for credit due to dating is a disaster. It really is not a good model.
  12. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,004) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Exactly, ideally. But old bread, eggs and milk present a health hazard if consumed beyond a certain age and so the brand can be sued, etc. This is not the case for beer.

    Customers too share in the responsiblity for there being old beer on the shelves.
  13. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,065) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    #14 tzieser, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  14. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,307) Sep 24, 2007 Vatican City

    "old" beer will not make make one ill, it will just not be an optimal experience. Old milk, eggs, meat, etc can make people ill, and worse. How many of us here have, and very much enjoy, beers that are years, if not decades, old? Many of us. A 4-5 month old IPA will not be the end of someone.

    If the freshness freaks are willing to pay the upcharge that is inevitable if every single one of our 7000+ breweries put strict retail age enforcement into effect, fine. If not, say hello to our corporate overlords.
  15. nick_perry

    nick_perry Devotee (402) Mar 11, 2017 North Carolina

    At Total Wine one year when the Oktoberfests came out, I found one that was from the previous year
  16. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,826) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    I found bags of potato chips that were 3 months past their best by date at a supermarket the other day.
    Shroud0fdoom, SammyJaxxxx and drtth like this.
  17. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,065) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    I would be willing to pay the hypothetical upcharge, but I'm by no means a freshness freak. Point in case: I'm still drinking that ~1 year old Golden Ale (narragansett fresh catch)
    beertunes likes this.
  18. BruChef

    BruChef Aspirant (201) Nov 8, 2009 New York

    I wouldn’t buy em...but I’d still eat em.
  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,147) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Or I can just purchase fresh beer from my numerous local, small breweries. There is no 'upcharge' there.

    The distributing breweries can either learn to compete or they can lose money (e.g., folks buying local instead to obtain their fresh beers). Maybe we will be reading about more distributing breweries closing in 2019 & 2020?

  20. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,307) Sep 24, 2007 Vatican City

    Or, perhaps, we read about more decline in overall beer sales. Because folks keep chasing unicorns they can't catch.
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,147) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The breweries that best serve their customers will succeed.

  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,147) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Below is something I posted in a past thread:

    “For a significant period of time (over a year) I was unable to find any Firestone Walker beers in any of the multiple beer stores in my area that were less than 5-6 months old. One of my local beer stores conducted a Firestone Walker beer tasting which was hosted by the Philadelphia area sales rep for Firestone Walker (she was/is a Firestone Walker employee). I reshuffled my schedule to make sure I could attend this event. While I was there I sampled the beers she poured and chit-chatted with her for a while. After about 5 minutes I started asking pointed/detailed questions about Firestone Walker Brewing Co. She pleasantly entertained my questioning for about 5 minutes and then she blurted out in an unpleasant tone "Are you a beer industry person?" I responded with the truthful answer that I was just a beer customer and I was just trying to learn about Firestone Walker and their distribution system (which absolutely sucked in Philly at that time). At this point she would not answer any more questions from me. I then walked her over to the retailer’s shelves to show her several cases of Firestone Walker beers that were over a year old. She looked at me with a dirty look and stated: "They shouldn't be there". I was about to ask her: "Are you personally going to remove those cases?" but at this point I had enough of her attitude and nonsense. I simply stated "It was a pleasure speaking to you" which was a lie and I walked out of the store. It was apparent to me that she had zero interest in truly recognizing and fixing this issue."

    As a follow-up to the above I did revisit my local beer store a couple of weeks afterwards and those old cases of Firestone Walker beer were still there.

  23. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,307) Sep 24, 2007 Vatican City

    Or get lost in the shuffle. We've already had threads about beers being "too fresh", and the endless whining about "too old" is visible daily. How the bloody fuck is an actual, functioning business supposed to make a decision?

    "Well, if we package and ship too early, we'll piss off a small, but vocal number of potential customers. But, if we ship too late, we piss off a small and vocal number of potential customers. Maybe we just keep shipping the product when we think it's ready, and then trust customers to make rational, well-thought choices."
  24. surfcaster

    surfcaster Zealot (543) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina


    This is coming around now like the anti INBEV thread of a year or two ago--a constant "re-whine."

    Don't let it bother you.

    Don't buy it.
    montman, beertunes and Milktoast75 like this.
  25. Milktoast75

    Milktoast75 Devotee (463) Oct 27, 2012 Wisconsin

    Time for some TW gossip I heard while talking with a local beer rep.
    We were discussing an area beer scene and ended up discussing how who gets what and how much in regards to limited release beers.
    He claimed TW would demand a huge amount on the initial order with the hope of limiting the amount the competition could get. This is no news flash. I am sure this is a common practice if you are the or a big dog in town but some real draw backs.
    Like old shit on your shelves on a regular basis.
    lucius10, meefmoff, MNAle and 6 others like this.
  26. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,826) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    You know, to go slightly off topic but still apropos to the thread, checking the dates aside, if I was a casual beer drinker and saw beers completely filling the rails in the cooler, my first thought could be that those beers sure don't sell very well. They must not be very good...
    GuyFawkes and beertunes like this.
  27. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,065) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    I didn’t buy any.

    Nobody forced you to click or comment but I agree with what you’re saying; the horse has been dead and beaten. I agree, but I couldn’t resist having another whack. Subject has been discussed to ad nauseam, I would be okay with locking this thread down. Especially when you start getting comments like these (i.e “stfu dude we get it already/stop bitching about it”)
    ElmerLovejoy and beertunes like this.
  28. pro100

    pro100 Disciple (337) Oct 12, 2014 California

    Just don't buy it
    KarlHungus likes this.
  29. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Poo-Bah (2,095) Sep 3, 2008 California
    Society Trader

    So you've actually seen Pivo 'in the wild'... I was beginning to wonder if it actually existed. Have pretty much come to the conclusion that if I'm fortunate enough to grab a ticket to FWIBF, that's my only annual chance of buying fresh Pivo in CA. This year I'm buying 2 cases if they actually have it. Fingers crossed
    Pstone530 and tzieser like this.
  30. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,603) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Too fresh isn't a problem, since it has an easy solution- keep it for a few days. Too old is a problem since there is no way to "fix" it.

    That is why the folks who complain about the imaginary problem of "too fresh" are the whiners you speak of. The folks who complain about the real, actual problem of too old do so completely justifiably, and so that their combined voices will influence breweries to do something about it.
  31. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,004) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    That depends. There are two subsets of people voicing complaints about old beer.

    There are those who simply complain or "whinge" about old beer on the shelves and just make a lot of noise.

    What makes our collective voice heard is those who also, even if only once in a while, take the time to complain directly to a retailer, distributor and/or brewery about the old beer on the shelves or take the time to let a brewer know whose beer they bought instead of their's because of finding some old or undated beer on the shelf.
    #32 drtth, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
    beertunes and ryan1788a5 like this.
  32. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,603) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Of course it should be brought to the attention of everybody. If your point is we shouldn't also talk about it here, I disagree.

    I think we should consider the tastes of everyone as equally important. Person A who likes beer fresher than person B both spend the same greenbacks is my take on your point about "whiners"
    ElmerLovejoy likes this.
  33. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Devotee (498) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    You pretty much have to go to TW weekly AS WELL AS check dates to get optimum freshness there. To know what they get in, etc.

    "Ooh, Mispillion River, glad they made it here"
    (looks at bottom of can)
    "January... pass"
  34. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,004) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    No, my point is that we should not be talking about it only here. My point about "whingers" is that seems to be the only thing some people do. In this case the OP is not just "whinging" since he has chosen both to let a store employee know and to use the brewery contact information. That's what will get some voices heard.

    Personal tastes in beer are not involved in my earlier point.
    JBogan likes this.
  35. JBogan

    JBogan Champion (830) Jul 15, 2007 California

    Yesterday while at a convenience store I came across some Firestone Pale 31 dated Oct 2016. I've notified Firestone in the past when finding their outdated beer before at other locations, and the next time I went into those places the beer was gone. So notifying them does seem to work, at least in those instances.
  36. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,937) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Unless it’s a seasonal or a special release that I know is fresh TW is the last place I’d buy anything hoppy. It’s not the managers fault, he doesn’t order the beer, and as long as it’s in date at delivery I’m sure corporate Total Wine tells them to accept the order. What a wonderful scenario for Distributors to dump older beer that mom and pops won’t take. Firestone Walker beers are a great example of great beers gone bad, and I’d challenge anyone to show me product that’s under 8 months old. I’ve seen beers out of date to, and that you can blame on the manager. That crap needs to go back to the Distributor.
    drtth likes this.
  37. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,849) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    The TTB recently re-stated their policy (obviously, as with all things alcohol, state laws may differ).
    Revised - Freshness Dating and Allowable Returns of Malt Beverage Products under the FAA Act
  38. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (2,195) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Society Trader

    I wrote to Firestone Walker once to let them know about 13-month old IPAs of theirs sitting on the shelves here in Germany. Never got a reply from them, pretty much the only brewery I contacted with a freshness concern that never bothered getting back to me and I've contacted quite a few.
    #39 Snowcrash000, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  39. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,603) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Ahh, I thought you called them whiners to diminish the importance of their complaints when compared to folks with different expectations of freshness. My bad.
    ElmerLovejoy likes this.