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

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

  1. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,554) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    That's odd... I don't have a subscription, and I read it completely just fine.
     
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  2. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,554) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    In these cases, TW is just a consumer advocate (according to their PR)... It is just an unforeseen side effect that their consumer advocacy also puts their competitors out of business.

    I was born at night, but not last night.
     
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  3. Milktoast75

    Milktoast75 Devotee (463) Oct 27, 2012 Wisconsin
    Society

    No. Not by definition.
    But I see TW as the Walmart of liquor stores. They have the resources (money) to influence and tilt the laws and ordinances in favor their business model.
    They have a business model that no other store can compete with.
    They are by definition in some markets not even considered a liquor store. But are considered a restaurant requiring a restaurant liquor license.

    http://www.jsonline.com/story/money...tal-wine-more-faces-license-dilemma/92064526/
     
  4. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,308) Sep 24, 2007 Vatican City
    Trader

    How's thast working so far?
     
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  5. jesskidden

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

    Read a few more articles and you'll get this:
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. RobH

    RobH Defender (635) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland
    Society

    Seems to be a stretch. Still looking for the "predatory" pricing part.

    From the article linked:
    "In Massachusetts, Total Wine has sued to invalidate a state regulation that prevents retailers from selling alcohol below cost, a common practice in other industries (my emphasis). The company is also about to launch a public relations campaign here challenging a state rule prohibiting alcohol retailers from issuing discount coupons and loyalty cards."

    If TW would like to run specials/sales and actually sell products below the cost the company paid for the products at wholesale, why shouldn't they be allowed to do that? Retailers in any other industry can do that, and many do. Is that predatory? And offering customers coupons and a loyalty program in MA, like many other states allow, is that predatory?

    In the alcohol industry, doing business in the 50 U.S. states is the equivalent of doing business in 50 different countries from a legal standpoint. Nothing wrong with trying to make the laws a little more uniform across the country, and favorable to the consumer in the process.

    At the end of the day the vast majority of laws TW fights to get changed are laws that don't favor the consumer.

    Example: In North and South Carolina there used to be a law enforcing an ABV cap (maximum) on beer. TW lobbied in each state to get the ABV cap raised (cap at the time was <6% ABV I believe). This legal effort was at a cost to TW, which at the time was a much smaller company than it is today, and was, (as it still is) a privately owned company. This effort succeeded and it frankly opened up the doors to modern day craft beers to be available for sale in these two states. Prior to that law change, the beer scene in these states was in the dark ages. There wouldn't be a beer scene in either of these states if the old laws were still in effect. This law change, while certainly benefiting TW by being able to carry and sell more beers, also benefited other entrepreneurs who then were able to open up craft beer stores. And it allowed breweries to open and sell their beers in their own state.

    NC went from being a beer wasteland to being a craft beer destination state. Couldn't have happened prior to the law change. State legislators weren't changing these laws until TW lobbied them on the issue. That's how it usually works (unfortunately).
     
  7. SudsDoctor

    SudsDoctor Zealot (561) Nov 23, 2008 New York
    Society

    Same here. I just clicked the big blue button that said 'Read Full Article'.
     
  8. Ranbot

    Ranbot Champion (875) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania
    Society

    What is the incentive for retailers to have bloated, aging inventory rather than a lean system that sells through quickly, returning more $/sq ft of retail space? That incentive should be independent of customer knowledge of freshness.

    If you're thinking of waving me off as not understanding how the industry works, mind you that the companies that are thriving are figuring out how to be lean, reduce product or raw materials they have to on hand, do more with less space... Amazon, Uber, AB-InBev, Starbucks, Trader Joe's, McDonalds, etc. Your market could be ripe for disruption.
     
    #88 Ranbot, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  9. ypsifly

    ypsifly Meyvn (1,064) Sep 22, 2004 Michigan

    Two of the more popular stores in the Detroit area were all but shut out of BC because they didn't sell a lot of GI. The local beer community put them on blast for it. "you guys are slipping" was a common reaction. One place even went so far as to buy bottles from another store and pretty much lose money just to save face. Sometimes FOMO isn't just on the customer side of the counter and the distributors know that, so yeah they try to leverage retailers.
     
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  10. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,554) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    I didn't say predatory pricing.

    As to the rest of your points, see my post, above:
     
  11. ypsifly

    ypsifly Meyvn (1,064) Sep 22, 2004 Michigan

    While I aim at the latter, a lot of retailers are in the race to be THE store that has everything and gets more allocations than the other guys. I'm constantly explaining to customers why I don't stack cases to the ceiling. I get one or two trucks from the distributor every week, I don't need three months worth of something stacked on the floor just because "whoah!...so much beer". When I explain beer is basically food...."would you buy meat that was placed in the cooler 3 months ago?"....etc, a light comes on and they start to get it.
     
  12. AZBeerDude72

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

    You sound just like my local guys. They have a similar practice and its awesome. They stock enough but not piles, it moves fast, they get more, etc. Always loads of choices but not so much it sits and gets dusty. They have a strong following of locals that is for sure. I wish more folks operated like you do and my locals, its the way to go. Also having a open relationship with folks, I feel I can openly talk to my store guys and say just about anything. They listen, they take notes when needed and that is the key to being the best in the area. They get most of my business that is for sure.
    Cheers
     
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  13. JackHorzempa

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

    On that topic we are in agreement!

    Cheers!
     
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  14. JackHorzempa

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

    I purchase waaaaay more beer from non-TW retailers since the beers at TW tend to me too old. From my personal perspective the practices of TW as regards beer retailing in non-predatory since they incentivize me to buy my beer elsewhere.

    Cheers!
     
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  15. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (121) Mar 15, 2014 California
    Trader

    And I make sure to run my store the same way, lean and clean. Hopefully more wholesalers and retailers will follow suit and stop playing these arbitrary allocation games that cause buyers to bloat/burn cases of beer just so they can be the "it" store on instagram. So many people don't see the cases upon cases of beer that gets purchased by stores JUST to get one case of a rare item only to return the product when it inevitably goes past it peak freshness date. It's a waste and some of these stores are worse than the customers when it comes to FOMO beers. A lot of what goes on in this industry goes unseen by the average consumer who too often doesn't care how the beer gets on the shelf so long as they can buy it.
     
  16. BayAreaJoe

    BayAreaJoe Savant (926) Nov 23, 2017 California
    Society Trader

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  17. AZBeerDude72

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

    Well I commend you and others like you. Your leading the way and its appreciated!
    :beers::beers:
     
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  18. RobH

    RobH Defender (635) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland
    Society

    OK. That's odd in my view, though, to assert in one fell swoop that "TW's consumer advocacy puts its competitors out of business," because there is still a LOT of retail beer competition out there in existence. And there's more new competition on the way that none of us even knows about yet let alone in what form it will be. Could it possibly be that any retailers that went out of business when TW came to town weren't serving the interests of enough consumers (to sustain their business) at the end of the day, when put up against the "new mousetrap" that TW brought to market?

    Consider some of the municipalities there in your state of MN with the municipal government-run wine/beer/liquor stores that have a limited product selection and a monopoly on prices (AKA high prices). Would that be your preference? It's not for most consumers. Yeah, Total Wine came to nearby towns and rattled these municipal stores' cages, because many of their customers (not all, mind you) fled to the other choice (more selection and lower prices overall).

    Competition never ceases. Sears certainly must have put some smaller local shops "out of business" back in the day with their new, large department store model and ubiquitous and very popular catalog from which you could buy just about anything. But look at Sears today. They, too, didn't keep up with the times. Retailers have to keep up with the times and either compete successfully (consumer advocacy) or go out of business. The founders/owners of TW don't want to become a Sears.
     
  19. Celtics76

    Celtics76 Crusader (701) Sep 5, 2011 Rhode Island

    I went to TW once a few years ago. Noticed the way out of date IPAs and huge markups on everything. Never went back.

    My go to store, Yankee Spirits in Attleboro, MA posts all major releases on Twitter, so it's easy to track down the fresh stuff. In terms of IPAs, I drink Finback/Singlecut etc. all with 3-4 weeks of canning. They have plenty of out of date stuff but I just ignore it.
     
  20. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (327) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia
    Trader

    I'm not saying you're a dumbass, because you're not, just frustrated...

    but yeah. I once was at Wegmans and they were "literally" building a big endcap of Sucks, I want to say around Thanksgiving, but it was when it was supposed to be new, it was in season. Herpaderp me, walks up, actually picks up a bottle, fiddles around with it, and Laguintas goddamn dating, I can't see anything, and go herpaderp it must be fresh, they just got it, right?

    Took it home. They might have just gotten it, but it was intended to be sold 12 months before. ...and that, was the last time I bought Lagunitas (used to love Sucks, but I'm not wasting my time and their insistence on not helping the customer check dates, is a deal breaker).


    in case anyone was wondering, the 14 month old Sucks, was terrible.
     
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  21. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (973) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    The definition of "lobbying" does not fit all types of financial persuasion that are camped under the "lobbying" tent. The more money the more persuasive, always. I've seen this legal corruption that's built into our political debates up close. The hardest asses can get their socks charmed straight off
     
  22. tzieser

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

    I had to throw a little edge in at the end. It's only beer after all; it's really not all that big of a deal. Hoping it'd get a chuckle, I suppose. In retrospect my little rant came off as a whiner. I really don't care that much just a little surprised that they haven't done anything about the issue in the ~8 years I've bought beer there at various locations across the US.

    Thanks for the anecdote. Been there too; those Lagunitas Sucks 32oz bombers were notorious for shelf turding. This latest occasion was definitely not my first time spotting and/or buying old beer and certainly not my last I suppose.
     
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  23. tzieser

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

    Also, let me just say I didn't think my beaten dead horse of a post would somehow get 3+ pages of replies in 24 hours. I was thinking "I had a couple beers and I feel like typing but don't feel like writing a review. Let me vent on how shitty TW still is." and somehow the dead horse has life again. I am Dr. Frankenstein. Sorry guys.
     
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  24. nc41

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

    Fwiw, they’re the cheapest retailer around, not by a lot, but still the cheapest. The local mom and pop canning dates are about equal to TW, surprisingly. I’ve seen beers past dates at a Bestway, bought one, Jever. I’d think the problem here might also be the distributors, they’re the evil empire.
     
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  25. tzieser

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

    Totally agree about TW's pricing. Summer 2015 in Tucson, AZ you used to get SN Pale Ale, SN Torpedo, SA Boston Lager for $11.99 a 12 pack. Can't beat that.

    (I also obviously agree that the infamous/antiquated "tiered distribution system" bears a lot of the responsibility in the matter)
     
  26. drtth

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

    Especially when more than once at TW I've found in a chat that the person stocking shelves was actually a distributor's Rep. rather than a TW employee.
     
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  27. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (327) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia
    Trader

    I guess I left that out- that kinda was my last time getting burned.

    If in doubt, I'm out. 12pk of SNPA cans I can't see the date on - pass. Variety 12 pack of CCB/ Troegs/ etc, nope. Unmarked Evil Twin 16oz IPA cans $8 single with a code on the bottom but no 'canned on', such an easy pass (coulda done it, and didn't want to, and I used to like that brewery).

    There's so much great beer, that you can trace the lifetime of, there's simply no reason to roll the dice on something that's potentially really old. I have absolutely zero qualms about not buying anything after looking at beer for a while, and I really don't go into TW because it's like looking for a needle in a haystack, finding fresh beer is.
     
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  28. AZBeerDude72

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

    Same at my store, numerous times I get into a chat with a person I assumed was TW person, and its a dist. Rep. They are at my store a lot now that I pay attention.

    On a side note at my local grocery store I also got into a chat about beer with rep, he was actually cool as hell about new items, what was not selling, etc. One of the few times they were very open about things with me rather than I cannot talk or not with store.
     
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  29. nc41

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

    Here as well, it’s easy to put older beers to market, I’d be willing to bet the distributors reps probably haven’t a clue on the beers age.
     
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  30. drtth

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

    Yes. And I think they do the same thing the potato chip and bread sales reps do. Put the newer stuff to the back and put the older stuff in front.
     
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  31. oldbean

    oldbean Disciple (342) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    I supposed that a race towards consolidation and monopolistic practices is a “competition” in a sense...
     
  32. jesskidden

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

    Well, wait - that's what they're supposed to do, as long as the "older" stuff is still in code. First In - First Out. Rotate stock, etc.
    [​IMG]
    As long as you know to check the back sixpacks (bonus - furthest from the light, too) - what's the problem?
     
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  33. drtth

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

    No problem for me. :sunglasses:

    But there are people who don't know that is happening on the shelves. :astonished:
     
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  34. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (527) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    YES.
     
  35. JackHorzempa

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

    Absolutely!

    Do you think the Wholesale Distributors who are 'coerced' to use their employees to provide the labor to stock beer at Total Wine & More are providing their freshest stock to Total Wine & More? Nope! They send their old stock there since there are no store employees checking deliveries and they 'reserve' their fresher beers for the other retailers who stock the beers that are delivered to them.

    Cheers!
     
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  36. JackHorzempa

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

    Then you must have issues all over the place because every corporate business utilizes lobbying efforts.

    Must suck for you?:confused:

    Cheers!
     
  37. drtth

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

    Meanwhile the customers continue to buy those beers, thereby rewarding the distributor meanwhile the store is none the wiser or is ignoring what is happening.
     
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  38. JackHorzempa

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

    I have no insight into the sales data but I truly think things are changing here. Anecdotally I hear more and more folks stating they are purchasing their beers from their small, local breweries (i.e., neighborhood breweries).

    Two things I can state as fact:
    • Just a year or two ago there was more brewing capacity then demand for beer
    • Over a thousand more breweries opened in 2018 and over a thousand more will open in 2019
    Folks who think the status quo will serve them are sadly mistaken.

    Cheers!
     
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  39. drtth

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

    Agreed. Customers buy what they will/want. When they stop buying old beer off the shelves the distributors/retailers will notice.
     
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  40. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Zealot (598) Mar 28, 2009 California

    What drives me crazy is the TW by me which has a sizable cooler section is filled mostly with beers that don’t need the cold storage. Only a small portion of hoppy beers are in the cold box. Yes, I get you need cold beers for immediate consumption but when new releases and or core brewery products that are stouts, Belgian or whatever shouldn’t be in the fridge when there is limited space. Especially when I find a fairly new release hoppy beer sitting on the warm shelf.
     
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