Upland Secret Barrel Society

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by bertram, Oct 16, 2013.

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  1. kiwifuz

    kiwifuz Devotee (364) Oct 27, 2005 Indiana

    How illegal can free beer be if a certain DLD hosting brewery that maybe burnt down last night (but didnt because they actually have all but 1 handle full of their own beer last night) give their investors a free pint for every visit, and free beer at their events both bottle and tap? I'd think that if it was actually illegal they would have been stopped years ago?
  2. Dontcounttoday

    Dontcounttoday Initiate (0) Apr 23, 2010 Illinois

    The investors you're talking about own stock in the company correct? I'm no lawyer but I'd guess that drinking some of what you own without paying is legal.
  3. kiwifuz

    kiwifuz Devotee (364) Oct 27, 2005 Indiana

    Very true. I guess if you want money to build your brewery make it an investor thing like it is instead of a faux society.... They could make it useful. I'd pay for something similar to what Floyds did if it was called that & had similar benefits.
  4. DaSolomon

    DaSolomon Initiate (0) Oct 12, 2011 New York

    The reason the membership doesn't include any beer is that it is illegal in Indiana to pre-sell beer or to sell discounted beer direct from the brewery.
  5. TallPaul07

    TallPaul07 Initiate (0) Sep 4, 2010 Indiana

    I didn't get so much as a fucking confirmation email. Initially it sounded great despite the fact that I wasn't getting any beer....but no confirmation email upon signing up? Just a "fuck you very much thanks for your money"...that's what really pissed me off.
  6. TheodorHerzl

    TheodorHerzl Initiate (0) Mar 30, 2007 Indiana

    Perhaps, but they shouldn't hide behind that. If that is the case they should have dropped the price significantly. This is a BS way to raise 125k.
    atoulouk, myersk27 and tinypyramids like this.
  7. DaSolomon

    DaSolomon Initiate (0) Oct 12, 2011 New York

    Not perhaps, haps! That is the reason they aren't offering any beer along with the membership; it is against the law which, I'm sure one can easily deduce, would cost the brewery a lot of money and would be counter productive to their ultimate goals. If you don't want the membership don't buy it. As someone pointed out, you vote with your dollars.
  8. jisom123

    jisom123 Initiate (0) Aug 21, 2008 Indiana

    I'm going to sign up. I know its a bad ROI. On a positive note, the email was well written, had some fun prose and had the best intentions. Its a gamble, and I hope it works. I'm an Upland fan.

    Excluding the event tickets and placard value; the price per bottle = ($250/8)+retail($25?+tax) = ~$58, right?
    If the minimum yearly bottle volume for "reserve only" is (8 bottles * 500 memberships) = >4000 bottles.

    Scenario #1 (Best case): Upland sells all 500 memberships and every single member takes their full allotment.
    Pro's: Profiteering is slightly reduced. Hording is slightly reduced. Good beer touches more lips. Upland expands production.
    Cons: Poor people aren't going to get any. "Do I pay for cable this month, or buy a bottle of beer."

    Scenario #2 (Worse case): Underwhelming membership interest and "No discount/Pre-sale law" leads to a Non-linear bottle allocation/distribution.
    Lets say that Upland Sells 94 memberships.
    70 of them take their base allotment of 8 bottles due to financial restrictions (that's only 580 of 4000+ bottles).
    15 members purchase 2x allotment (16*15=240 bottles)
    and lastly, 5 wealthy people (Beer futures commodities dealers) can purchase the remaining 3180 bottles between each other.
    Thats 632 bottles per profiteer @ $27.14 each.
    There's no way Upland will let someone buy 600 bottles. No way. To combat this Upland would need to withhold most of the beer and sell it at their shops.
    But, If "Secret beer" is sold at shops 3 weeks later for $26.75, no one will buy memberships next year.

    I don't want this to turn into a "Reserve Only (or wait 3 weeks and get it for half price) Society".
    Find a loop-hole for the pre-sale laws?
    kengetty likes this.
  9. macrosmatic

    macrosmatic Pooh-Bah (2,534) Mar 9, 2006 Florida
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Do you have any references to back this up other than Upland's own email? As a resident of Indiana for eight years, I had never heard of such a thing. And a quick read of the statutes didn't yield me anything on point that I could find.
  10. pest

    pest Savant (1,005) Sep 2, 2007 Ohio

    Dead to me. This is literally offensive/insulting, shame they make some good sours too. If law prevents them from doing otherwise, then why the lofty $250... Clearly it's a f you pay me money grab, not even a vague X number of society events....
  11. DaSolomon

    DaSolomon Initiate (0) Oct 12, 2011 New York

    I didn't even know Upland sent out an email, I am not signed up for them nor did I reserve a membership....yet?
  12. tinypyramids

    tinypyramids Initiate (0) Jul 19, 2012 Illinois

    Grohnke likes this.
  13. 4DAloveofSTOUT

    4DAloveofSTOUT Grand Pooh-Bah (3,598) Nov 28, 2008 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I hope they dont...but it sounds like they can keep the lottery honest.
  14. myersk27

    myersk27 Initiate (0) Oct 21, 2011 Indiana

    please pass along the specific statute that says this....i really want to see it.
    i did the same thing and couldn't find anything either. until I actually see it, I'm just gonna believe they are hiding behind a made up law.....and I really don't want to believe that. If it's truly illegal, fine, but then charge people $1 for their bottles....or charge $50 for the membership.....
    TheodorHerzl likes this.
  15. jampics2

    jampics2 Pooh-Bah (2,268) Dec 19, 2008 Ohio
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    They could have made the Secret Barrel Society Certificate worth $.01 in preferred stock, then everyone would technically own penny stock in the company.
  16. robboyd

    robboyd Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2011 Indiana

    Honestly guys, I've got another offer I'd like you to consider before buying Upland's Society membership. You give me $250 and then I kick you in the crotch.

    At least the pain of this purchase will dissipate faster than your barrel society membership.
    fredmugs and myersk27 like this.
  17. ChiefColdBeer

    ChiefColdBeer Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2011 Florida

    If they get the funds and expand their sour program then it makes sense they will produce more sour beers for sale. If the society is limited at 500 people and they produce more than 500 bottles of each sour then that dilutes the value of the society. Not only are you giving them $250 bucks to expand their program but then you get the chance to buy eight more bottles, let say at $20 bucks apiece. So they raise 125K with the society and another 80K with the future purchases that nets them $205K for 4000 bottles of beer that $51.25 per bottle. That's what your going to end up paying. If they are that good then go for it. Since the whole concept is to make more sours then there should be more availability, even to those not in the society.
    Sorry but this was ill conceived and poorly executed. If you wanted money to expand then just ask for it. Plain and simple. Offer those initial folks a lifetime exclusivity as they are your investors and should get something in return for it beyond the right to give you more money in the future. Maybe you didn't want to give kickstarter their cut. That's fine, but give it to your investors cause that's whats your asking for. Investors without having to pay loan interest. You cant get that deal from a bank, kickstarter or other legitimate investors so conceive a way to short change the folks who support you the most. Poor way to treat your fan base. P.T. Barnum fundraising at its finest.
    BorisKarloff and 1up like this.
  18. Lansman

    Lansman Initiate (0) Mar 19, 2011 Missouri

    This is the response I received from Caleb upon asking that same question:

    ...when we checked out establishing the program, we saw enough gray area in the books that the practice of pre-selling beer could be against Indiana code. To set something up in a way that could be potentially illegal, or even misinterpreted as illegal, could place our entire business in jeopardy. I even remember some jawing about sales tax issues and point of purchase.

    We truly feel there is value in being able to have guaranteed access to purchase our sour ales, as well as be a part of helping fund a small business with organic grassroots consumer directed efforts. We are entirely sincere and genuine in our efforts to create a group that gets as much out of the membership fee as much as it gets back in beneficial value.

    We appreciate your comments, and are happy to answer any other questions you may have.

  19. ballardbrewer

    ballardbrewer Initiate (0) Feb 21, 2009 Indiana

    I don't get how now their will now be some new beers that will only be available to members only. So they either are going to cut one or more of their public releases and make it members only. Or throw together some non sour beer and maybe barrel age it and hope it is ready by the end of 2014 then release it to members. Or who knows they could have some non fruited lambic ready that they could put together some small batches for members, and once again hope it is ready by end of year.
  20. yeahnatenelson

    yeahnatenelson Initiate (0) Feb 8, 2010 Illinois

    If that were an option you'd think they would be able to make a new batch of Persimmon in the year-and-a-half since the last batch was supposed to be ready.
    Shagtastic likes this.
  21. ballardbrewer

    ballardbrewer Initiate (0) Feb 21, 2009 Indiana

    Upland Persimmon is the bigfoot of Indiana. Often talked about that it exists but seldom seen.
    zrab11 likes this.
  22. mikennat

    mikennat Initiate (0) Dec 30, 2010 Missouri

    If it is illegal to pre sell the beer, how can they include tickets to events that include beer? Isnt that pre selling there beer?
    Rempo and stfun37 like this.
  23. JohnfromPurdue

    JohnfromPurdue Initiate (0) Apr 27, 2009 Indiana

    If your lawyer can't figure out if what you want to do is against the law, you should probably find a new one. But then again, I don't think they ever had the intention of offering bottles with this society. I think they are using the law as protection from the fallout of their terrible idea.
  24. mdomask

    mdomask Initiate (0) May 27, 2012 Illinois

    Isn't the job of a lawyer to tell you that what you're doing is against the law, but here's how to do it anyway?
    danimalarkey likes this.
  25. robboyd

    robboyd Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2011 Indiana

    This wasn't lost on me either.

    Exactly. If you're going to sell me a turd, at least own that sh*t. These excuses are all just that, excuses for a money grab. With that said, I'm sure they'll be laughing all the way to the bank and to be honest, I hope they sell all of them. If they want to build their sour program on the backs of their customers that's fine, I just won't be one of those customers.

    It seems to me that they're also building it on the backs of other breweries. They're giving away 500 tickets to Sour Fest. I wonder how much of someone else's sour beer those 500 people will drink that day. Clearly they understand how expensive and difficult it is to make these beers. You'd think they wouldn't be so willing to give away others efforts in the form of free tickets that they are benefiting from.
    bertram likes this.
  26. Lansman

    Lansman Initiate (0) Mar 19, 2011 Missouri

    A call or request to the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (or other authority) on the issue might clear up any ambiguity in the form of asking for an advisory opinion or official interpretation of existing law and how it relates to any action Upland wishes to take. Not engaging in some form of due diligence for something such as this is a bit curious, if their concern is as stated above.
    tinypyramids likes this.
  27. bertram

    bertram Initiate (0) Dec 18, 2010 Illinois

    This is a great point.
  28. nickMB

    nickMB Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2009 Illinois

    How is it perfectly legal to hold a lottery for the right to buy bottles but not for a membership with future bottles or discounted bottles? Your telling me you couldn't sell 8 sour beer gift certificates, I mean they do sell gift certificates, right? Seems like a lame excuse, I mean I personally know that beer laws are f*cked (at least in FIB country) but I dont think they're that f*cked.
  29. mdomask

    mdomask Initiate (0) May 27, 2012 Illinois

    Hence the comment about lawyers telling you how to legally do the illegal.

    I'm guessing that including gift certificates redeemable for sours as part of the membership would skirt any legal restrictions, since they're not pre-selling a specific instance of a specific beer but rather providing the opportunity to redeem the certificate (which you paid for) for a beer of your choice at a later date, similar to how the (currently unredeemable) persimmon sour certificates would work.
  30. TallPaul07

    TallPaul07 Initiate (0) Sep 4, 2010 Indiana

    Said bottle of Persimmon that you got f*cked out of has been mentioned on every single Upland thread for the past year or two, and sometimes multiple times on the same thread. This bottle is never going to live up to your expectations given all of the heartache you have had over it.
  31. Anonymous1

    Anonymous1 Initiate (0) Mar 19, 2012 Illinois

    The Persimmon '12 batch going south, along with the 18 month delay between the Upland Sours from early 2012 to this upcoming Fall '13 release really brings into question (at least for me) whether Upland can really even get 8 different sours out the door in 2014. Something else to consider for those on the fence. It's quite likely several of their beers won't be ready or may be scrapped if they're having QC issues.

    Also regarding Persimmon '12, the new batch for those that had reservations was supposed to be ready in August '13, then I was told Sept/October '13....so there's a chance that the '13 batch isn't coming along as they expected either.
    Naptown25rs likes this.
  32. JohnfromPurdue

    JohnfromPurdue Initiate (0) Apr 27, 2009 Indiana

    The Persimmon itself isn't the point. Upland promised something 18 months ago and have yet to make good on it. The beer should have been released already and they have given 0 updates. In the meantime, they have released 5 other sours (maybe more if my memory isn't exactly correct). They could have easily offered any of the other sours as an option to replace the Persimmon but they didn't.
  33. Grohnke

    Grohnke Initiate (0) Sep 15, 2009 Illinois

    well done, sir.
  34. aasher

    aasher Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2010 Indiana

    And FWIW tickets didn't sell out either. The first year they sold out quickly so they doubled the amount of tickets. While the event was bigger and better than the 2011 SWFF it still didn't sell out. Because of this, tickets being a part of the package doesn't really increase sex appeal.
  35. bertram

    bertram Initiate (0) Dec 18, 2010 Illinois

    And I'll say again - not even VIP tickets included in this society. Makes no sense.
    aasher likes this.
  36. statonca

    statonca Initiate (0) Jun 17, 2005 Indiana

    Hi folks,

    Took a minute to internalize some of the feedback we are getting in regards to the Secret Barrel Society Memberships. Hopefully, I can address our perspective on how we structured the benefits, as well as touch on most of bigger concerns out there.

    First and foremost, we are not trying to offer anything we did not feel would have value for our customers. We have the honest desire to make this membership as valuable for you as what it will help us create. I believe one main point was lost, and one we could have done a better job communicating, is this membership is different than other currently offered program by any other brewery, is because it is exactly that, different.

    In this day and age, and in the spirit of crowd funded endeavors, which sincerely desire to return to their donators the ability to be a bigger part of something, we utilized this model when drafting the membership details. It is giving our small Sour Program the potential means to grow, which will in kind provide a more direct value to the customer than what was previously offered. This concept should not be entirely foreign or negatively perceived, unless the person buying in and the business itself does not mutually benefit. We never set out, rubbing greedy hands together, to cheat or take advantage of anyone in this endeavor. I will not attempt to sell you anything in this response, only clean up the air the best I can.

    To address some of the main concerns out there:
    • · Even though we have been brewing sour ales since 2006, the program is still very small and relatively in its infancy. 2013 is the first year we have focused 100% on brewing sours in downtown Bloomington since the inaugural batches touched oak. We positively have enough beer selected from 2008 to 2010 to make the 4000 bottle commitment if the SBS fills up for 2014, as well as newly developing beer well on its way to appropriate flavor profile.

    • · We have already bottled one collaboration beer that is slated for exclusive pickup by members, as well as another in the works utilizing locally harvested grapes that we expect to be ready next summer.

    • · Everyone ultimately gains. SBS members will get first in line access to every release next year, the quicker the program grows the faster we can create better and less expensive future benefits and more exclusive releases. Upland will be able to build a 1350 sq. ft. cellar to double sour fermentation and cellar capacity, because every dollar generated by the program goes directly into the brewery. And non-members will eventually gain access to more widely available and distributed releases in years to come. Actually maybe I lose out, because I’ll be working a ton more to make more beer, but I digress.

    • · We never claimed to be Clarence Darrow on legal issues, but there was enough concern with Indiana Code to not pre-sell or discount beer as part of our initial discussions in designing the program. This isn’t a reactionary excuse; it was posted proudly on the SBS membership details, but we should have left the issue absent to begin with. However, this is entirely unrelated to the fact we are asking for folks to help us build our brewery, with returned privileges of value in exchange.

    • · We openly admit we are not perfect, but strive every day to deliver to customers the best quality beer possible at all times. Since the Sour Program began, we have destroyed one bottling run of Persimmon, one bottling run of Dantalion failed to carbonate, and the 2013 Persimmon run is also of unacceptable carbonation levels to release. This really is not that much beer, and I’m glad we never sold it. For every person waiting on a Persimmon redemption, they will be honored in our next release for any style of choice, or redemptions can be held for our expected Persimmon release next spring. We will email everyone awaiting redemption this update, and apologize for not providing an explanation sooner. We also have gained a greater understanding of why these quality fails occurred this year, and have not replicated them since implementing new practices.
    On a final note, I know I didn’t see in the mirror this morning a faceless, greedy, shark jumping, potential kidnap victim. Brewing sour ales means a lot to me personally, and my commitment to do what I find to be an honest, traditional and local way to make beer is only rivaled by my passion to make sure our supporters get the best sour beer and customer service we can provide. I personally invite anyone who has questions about the Sour Program to drop by the brewery in downtown Bloomington and I’ll show you around. I think most folks would get the impression Upland is not a soulless corporate entity, within the confines of a modest brewing environment with happy, honest and dedicated fellow employees to boot (and in boots).

    We are looking forward to your feedback, and highly appreciate your past and future support in our endeavors. I’m all ears on how we can make this membership work better for all of our customers, and I thank you for patiently reading our side of the story. I hope I have encapsulated better what we are attempting to achieve with the SBS and the Sour Program in general.

    nate8767, Keffa and denimdemon like this.
  37. Vav

    Vav Savant (1,013) Jul 27, 2008 Illinois

    I've...seen things you people wouldn't believe...Attack ships on fire off the belt of Beer Advocate. I watched bad ideas glitter in the dark near the the Great Lakes thread . All those moments...will be lost in time, like...beers in rain.
  38. DividedAvery

    DividedAvery Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Colorado

    You seem to have written a lot. It was pretty long and there were a lot of words so I just skimmed it. It appears you may have done the same to the litany of comments on your fbook page.
    coreymcafee likes this.
  39. abecall98

    abecall98 Initiate (0) Aug 11, 2007 California



    Please take time to look at how Uplands is doing their society. Do the exact opposite, and you are guaranteed success.

    You're Welcome.
    nickd717, Shagtastic, Lukafer and 9 others like this.
  40. kkipple

    kkipple Initiate (0) Jul 30, 2005 South Carolina

    I have nothing against Upland, but it seems to me the "main concern" is that you're asking people to pay $250 for a piece of paper, a party, and two glasses. Many people are upset that a brewery they respect is offering so little for such a high asking price. If the club were $25, there would be ZERO 'concern'.
    mpayne5 likes this.
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