Discussion in 'Southwest' started by Dajtai007, Jan 16, 2013.

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  1. Dajtai007

    Dajtai007 Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2009 Texas

    Every time I travel to any part of the country (Seattle, ca, ny, etc...) I walk into stores and get bombarded with insane beers sitting on the shelves. I know TX is getting better, but sometimes I get slapped in the face by reality. I just got back from Seattle and they had ridiculous shit on the shelves. I could easily blow hundreds and stock my cellar with 4+ rated beers. Has anyone else experience this and where? It's the reason I fly SW Airlines LOL.
  2. Texas_Speed

    Texas_Speed Initiate (0) Aug 22, 2012 Texas

    I have experienced this some also. I took a trip to the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee back in October. I spoke with some Tennessee BAs before my trip and they told me about making the short drive to Ashville NC. Man, am I glad I listened to those guys. I stopped by Bruisin Ales and Appalachian Vintner and was able to get my hands on some really good stuff. I definitely could have blown hundreds also, and I was driving so I didn't have to worry about checked baggage.

    It does suck that TX doesn't get the distribution that other states get, but as you stated TX is getting better. More breweries are beginning to expand and distribute to TX. Hopefully we can get the antiquated beer laws changed to allow and entice more Breweries to distribute here. But, until that happens I'm happy with what we have and will continue to drink all great beers that available.
    BeanBone likes this.
  3. pwsoldier

    pwsoldier Devotee (438) Apr 26, 2007 Texas

    The mid-atlantic region gets some insane distro. I could take a Uhaul to Max's Taphouse in Baltimore and fill it with bottles easily. I've bought beers like Sucaba, 3 Fonteinen Schaersbeekse Kriek, and various Cantillon bottles off the shelf in MD and PA stores.

    The number of exceptional beer bars and brewpubs they have out there compared to here is pretty staggering as well. Even some of their dive bars carry beers like Wookey Jack and Flower Power. I discover new places to drink every time I go out there.

    I definitely agree that TX is making tremendous progress. I've been a craft drinker since '07 and remember how small and boring the beer aisles used to be compared to now. Other markets have our selection beat considerably, but watching the growth here has been an awesome experience. Here's to progress!
  4. kmello69

    kmello69 Defender (618) Nov 27, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    TX distribution is getting better, and hopefully we'll get close to those other places some day.

    But like you, I use traveling as an opportunity to hoard from other places. In the last 6 weeks I've been to Portland, Florida and the DC/MD area, and lets just say my stash is about 40 bottles heavier now than it was before that. Love the 2 free bags thing on Southwest! :slight_smile:
  5. wsnich

    wsnich Initiate (0) Apr 26, 2010 Texas

    I only fly southwest due to the 2 free bags rule. I've also had people look the other way when my bag weighs 50+ lbs. When I go on beer vacations, I fly with a 2nd bag full of bubble wrap to use on the way back home.
  6. Phoenix2443

    Phoenix2443 Disciple (333) Jan 20, 2010 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Just got back from Tenn myself during the holidays. For a state with such weird laws they have pretty good distro. Being from NY obviously moving here was a huge leap backwards in terms of selection (not to mention blue laws)

    Having lived here now for close to 4 years I can easily say this place (Austin) has made building size LEAPS in the right direction and I only expect it to continue to improve as the city works to support breweries, local and out of state. Give it time
  7. kmello69

    kmello69 Defender (618) Nov 27, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Glad I'm not the only one. My wife always says "I wonder if they look in your bag and wonder why this guy is flying with rolls of bubble wrap and gallon-size Ziploc bags...." :stuck_out_tongue:
  8. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    Southern Michigan/Northern Indiana/Chicago area are insane.

    For people who thing Texas is getting better, while it is, it's not even close to halfway bad. We get a lot of stuff here, but anything that is remotely pined for flies off the shelf. Up there you'd be amazed at that things that just sit on the shelf on a regular basis.

    Texas is getting good stuff, but in such small quantities that it's a fight to get anything.

    It's going to get ugly when Firestone Barrel Beers or BCBS and it's variations come to Texas.
  9. kunstdrache

    kunstdrache Initiate (0) Sep 22, 2006 Texas

    Happens to me all the time. Since I don't really trade, I get most of my beers through traveling/vacations. I think the tough part is making that decision of what beers you are going to buy and what beers to leave on the shelves. Kills me every time.
  10. jesterkingbeer

    jesterkingbeer Aspirant (258) Jun 28, 2010 Texas

    Our selection is massively hurt by TABC licensing fees. Our fee structure requires a brewery to pay about $7K every 24 months to sell both "beer" and "ale" in Texas. The message is that if you're a big craft brewery poised to sell thousands of barrels in Texas, you're welcome here. But if you're a small craft brewery that would only sell a few dozen cases a year in Texas, it's best you sell in another state. Until the licensing fee structure changes, you're not going to see much beer from small, artisanal, out of state beer makers. We wrote more extensively on this topic here:

    Jeff Stuffings
    Jester King
  11. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    It's sad that BMC obviously has worked very hard with TABC to make sure that smaller craft beer can't make it's way to TX. I wonder how much bribe money that cost...
  12. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (3,732) Sep 3, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I think that is just part of the growing pains for a market that is finally getting out of the dark. I think eventually this get to Specs mentality first will die down. Not because people will have stopped buying good new beers. Though because people will eventually realize that whatever the latest new release is, will not be the be all end all or the last good beer to come into the market. Which is what a lot of these other places have right now.
    pwsoldier likes this.
  13. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    There is still a problem when there isn't enough beer that Specs feels like they can share with the other stores. If one store in a huge chain sells all of a beer, there is a problem. HEB and WFM share the wealth the best they can, why can't Specs?
  14. pwsoldier

    pwsoldier Devotee (438) Apr 26, 2007 Texas

    As the market adjusts, so will Spec's. It's going to take a while, but I think champ103 is right. The mad dash mentality will die down after this surge of new products begins to plateau. Right now we're like little kids on Christmas morning. We have tons of new toys and we want to play with them all at once. Some of the markets mentioned above are more like kids who have everything and have grown bored of it all. I think Texas will reach a similar state eventually, though probably not anytime soon.

    And to be fair, I think the problem you're mentioning is somewhat unique to Houston.
  15. Texas_Speed

    Texas_Speed Initiate (0) Aug 22, 2012 Texas

    Thanks for posting this Jeff. It was a good read and that festival looked amazing. Luckily, I am already a member of the open the taps movement and have signed the petitions to get the beer laws changed. I had no idea the cost of the fees breweries are asked to pay, as DanzBorin has already stated it definitely appears BMC has had a hand in it.
  16. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    Sadly I think this is true and am not quite sure why... lol
  17. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    Honestly, I'd hope everyone on this site (from Texas) was a member of Open the Taps.

    If not, I encourage folks to sign up!
    Walden97 and champ103 like this.
  18. Texas_Speed

    Texas_Speed Initiate (0) Aug 22, 2012 Texas

    I couldn't agree more. I too strongly recommend everyone sign up!
  19. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (3,732) Sep 3, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    For one, midtown Specs sells more alcohol than just about any other liquor store in the state, and it has been that way since the 60's. There is a reason most the beer goes there. It is not a Specs problem that breweries can't make enough beer at the moment.
    BeanBone likes this.
  20. fragilehearted

    fragilehearted Initiate (0) Dec 13, 2009 Texas

    Haha, I know. Once my bag flew to the wrong city when I changed my flight, & I had to file a lost bag claim. "What are the contents of the bag?" "Uh, bubble wrap, plastic bags, a blanket." "That's it?" "Yeah, for....souvenirs."

    Clonies720 and BeanBone like this.
  21. BeanBone

    BeanBone Initiate (0) Oct 12, 2006 Texas

    If you were able to sell all of your limited inventory items there easily with your best beer people on hand and everyone in the city knows that's the central location for the best beers and it's always been like that, what motivation would you have for changing that system that works nicely and instead spreading everything more thinly across the city?

    Hell, even today a lot of good stuff goes out to BFE stores and then comes back to Spec's midtown to sell months later. I know it's inconvenient for some (before I worked in town, I'd drive to Spec's midtown 1-2 times per week from the Woodlands for limited releases, so I get it), but spreading it out to the boonies would be inconvenient for the majority that live/work close.
  22. Lutter

    Lutter Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2010 Texas

    Is Open the Taps supporting any new bills this Legislative session (2013) or will it be until at least 2015 till they do anything on that front? I've heard jack about new Legislation.
  23. bentwookie

    bentwookie Initiate (0) Jan 13, 2008 Texas

  24. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    So then beer is a game that only should target those who work/live near downtown?

    I hear about more than one Specs in Austin area getting limited releases. Not just the ones downtown.
  25. BeanBone

    BeanBone Initiate (0) Oct 12, 2006 Texas

    Of course it should be for everyone, but we only get so much product and it has to be allocated. Inevitably, that means some people aren't able to get certain things from certain stores. But, it's always going to be that way given the supply and demand, and this system seems the most fair. Justin usually tries to spread it out as much as is reasonable. Look at the Spec's beer Twitter account and you'll see him hitting up other stores when it's reasonable. I've found gold at the Woodlands Spec's plenty of times.

    Plus, with so many great beer stores now and so many cool people that work at them that can help you out, there's usually a few ways to get each release. That's not even counting the helpful people here on BA. I've bought beers for people that are out of town/stuck at work/off-shore plenty of times.

    Anyway, we've had this discussion like ten times now. I think I've said all I can :wink:
    champ103 likes this.
  26. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    I try to make as many connections at Specs around me as I can.

    Sadly it hardly helps.

    HEB might as well not exist unless you happen to luck into something. If you go and try to ask, you would often wait forever. The beer section isn't a section they really care about too much. Even when you find someone, they have no interest in being helpful and often tell you they don't have something they do in fact have.
  27. reifsnid

    reifsnid Initiate (0) Jun 1, 2006 Texas

    True for most HEBs, but I have found one where the beer guy is very passionate about his beer section. He's held things for me and always posts on social sites about new releases that he's obtained.

    Wish it was the same at all HEBs, but I imagine that'd be hard to do given their size.
  28. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    Bunker Hill used to be great about this. Unfortunately they have stopped doing twitter/facebook and the email list hardly sends anything out. The last 2 times I've been (as I mentioned in another thread), they lied to me when I asked them about something.

    I'm close to the Westheimer/Kirkwood HEB. They were really trying to get a good beer selection and expand. Then their manager left. The new one has never been anywhere around no matter when I go and I see that they are getting less and less good stuff. They used to have a decent Jester King selection, now nothing. Most every line they have seems to be contracting and little to nothing interesting coming in. It's about on par with an average Randall's with a "craft beer" section.
  29. aschwab

    aschwab Zealot (575) Mar 3, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I spent Tuesday night in Baltimore before my flight out. I drove to town, checked into my hotel, wandered down to Max's and did not leave the bar stool until 1:30. I drank way too many damn 5oz "tasters" of beer just to try a shitload of things I had not seen before. Great selection.

    I spent the last 10 days in the DC/Va area and hit up a lot of breweries and beer pubs. To say the least, I had a 50 pound limit on my bag when I checked back in. It weighed 63. After maneuvering things around to my carry on (pint glasses from breweries), I eventually got it down to 55. rid of some undershirts (who really needs those anyways) and still had to shed another 2 pounds. I ended up throwing away all of my toothpaste, deodorant, and contact solution. There was no way I was getting rid of even a can of beer.
  30. Lutter

    Lutter Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2010 Texas

    Dedication, folks.
  31. jbeezification

    jbeezification Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2012 Texas

    This is a very touching story.
  32. starkmarvelo

    starkmarvelo Disciple (370) Jan 20, 2010 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I'm having a hard time coming up with a gripe about how Texas doesn't get amazing beers when I just picked up Deschutes Abyss (ranked #20) and Ballast Point Skulpin (ranked #87). I'm content...fuck it, I'm very happy. Plus bottle shares are so much better when there's stuff I've never seen. But I can't wait to have that look on my face when I get to a bottle shop out of state that has awesome distro. You know, the look Nixon had when Dick Winters showed him Hermann Goering's cellar in Band of Brothers. No?
    Top left. That look.
  33. tigrstylz

    tigrstylz Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2012 Texas

    It makes me feel good to know that I'm not the only person that packs bubble wrap and tape...
  34. tigrstylz

    tigrstylz Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2012 Texas

    And all he drank was Vat 69! Dick did say they drank till they didn't remember though... It tasted like "fruit juice."
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