Will Stone's "Enjoy By' Series influence other brewers re: freshness dating?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by yemenmocha, Jan 30, 2013.


How will Stone's ENJOY BY affect freshness dating in the craft beer market?

  1. Big positive - more breweries will be pressured to use dating

    31 vote(s)
  2. Some positive impact, but not much

    119 vote(s)
  3. No positive impact

    40 vote(s)
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  1. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,305) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    It's notched on the label - "Best before" the notched month, based on a 3 month shelf life period. But then, I only buy it (and Nugget Nectar, for that matter) by the case. NN bottles are stamped on the glass, as well.
  2. bleakies

    bleakies Disciple (380) Apr 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    I prefer "bottled on" dates to "best by" dates as well, but we've spent enough time drinking and thinking and reading and talking about beer to know how to make good use of a bottled-on date.

    For the far more numerous consumers who aren't as engaged with beer generally, a best-by date is more informative (leaving aside your apt point re: whether or not the brewer's claim about the beer's shelf-life is accurate).
    CelticAleMan likes this.
  3. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Devotee (400) Nov 21, 2008 Texas
    Beer Trader

    The 12.21.12 was not hard for us to get our hands on.
    My understanding is that there have been 4:
  4. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,305) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Right. And I wrote "There's only been one other "vintage" (edition?) of Enjoy By since then.. " meaning since Texas' receipt of the 12/21/12.:wink:

    And isn't Texas ahead in the "score" on the Stone website, by nearly 2-to-1 over the next state? (Whatever that means - but it's got to be good, I guess.)

    But, I agree, it's kinda gimmick-y and it'd be nice and more impressive if ALL beer was so distributed, rather than just this one. But it's a "gimmick for a good cause", at least.
    WickedSluggy likes this.
  5. jklinck

    jklinck Initiate (192) Jul 23, 2007 Washington

    It has a code, you just had to know how to read it. Now they've changed from the the code to an actual bottling date.
  6. TheJollyHop

    TheJollyHop Initiate (0) Sep 2, 2009 California

    I don't think any brewer wants their beer to be purchased after the variable period of peak freshness. It's akin to a first impression: do you shower and shave or just bum it? However if that brewery isn't established, they might never move product if people see that their bottles have been on the shelf for too long. I am in the camp that is more forgiving for new breweries bottling their beers without dates, however I feel there is no excuse for an established brewery to not bottle date!
    nategibbon likes this.
  7. Levitation

    Levitation Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2009 California

    i know a handful of brewers that want to sell everything they make and then argue with anyone who criticizes flawed product. don't underestimate derp just because they make something you find tasty.
  8. stupac2

    stupac2 Zealot (518) Feb 22, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    No, this is still a gimmick. I mean, "Devastatingly Fresh"? Only sending it to certain parts of the country? 800 press releases over the past few months? They're just hyping the shit out of it to generate buzz. It's a marketing ploy, nothing more.

    Does Stone also take freshness very seriously? Yes. That doesn't stop Enjoy By from being a gimmick.
    ehammond1 likes this.
  9. jpvenezia

    jpvenezia Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2010 Pennsylvania

    FP puts, I believe they call it an "enjoy by" date on the side of their label on each bottle as well as on the case.
  10. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,229) Mar 18, 2010 California

    There is probably an impact, but I doubt we will see any major overhauls with other brewers.
  11. TheJollyHop

    TheJollyHop Initiate (0) Sep 2, 2009 California

    Don't hate on Tomme Arthur :wink:
    Levitation likes this.
  12. Levitation

    Levitation Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2009 California

    well played.
  13. nategibbon

    nategibbon Initiate (117) Sep 6, 2008 Illinois

    Most of the bigger craft breweries that have resources comparable to Stone already take fresh beer very seriously. They just don't have the accompanying marketing campaign.
  14. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (790) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Stone is jut preaching(selling) to the choir, non BA's could not care less.
  15. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    Consumers do not give breweries enough incentive to date their bottles. It does not matter hope popular or well received Enjoy By is, consumers keep buying undated bottles. If breweries have not started dating bottles by now I personally do not hold much hope for them. Until consumers provide the necessary incentive, stop buying undated bottles, nothing is going to change.
  16. Siggy125

    Siggy125 Devotee (457) Nov 10, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    I havent read all posts in this thread, so if I repeat someone, apologies. I truly believe the "Enjoy by" theme was started as a marketing gimic to ride the Pliny popularity tidal wave. Pliny has a huge following with the belief that the fresher, the better. This has us all scrambling for fresh Pliny and checking bottling dates with the Hubble telescope vision. I think Stone has observed the hype, (sorry stupac), and sales success over time and decided to join the great fresh IPA chase with a bigger than life consumption guideline. Of course the beer has to be awesome to fit the plan. And it is.... Call me crazy
  17. jrnyc

    jrnyc Savant (943) Mar 21, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    I love Stone, but aside from Enjoy By bottles, the bottle dating on their regular bottles is not easy to read and easily missed by someone who doesn't know it is there.
  18. GFG

    GFG Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2012 North Dakota

    There's actually quite a few breweries that have a freshness date notched on their labels or printed on their bottles. It doesn't matter according to many on BA though, because EVERY IPA goes bad after a week, or 2 at the most. *eye roll* :grinning:
    searsclone likes this.
  19. searsclone

    searsclone Disciple (344) Sep 7, 2006 Arizona

    I think the best thing about Enjoy By is that it helped those of us, who aren't usually IPA drinkers, become aware that the fresher they are, the better they taste. Stone has a date on the bottles, but I've never checked them before. Now, I will always check. This won't change the other brewers, but it does change the way that I will buy my beers.
    jrnyc likes this.
  20. RockAZ

    RockAZ Disciple (371) Jan 6, 2009 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    I do not wish this trend in Enjoy by bottle dates to continue, it puts the retailers at considerable risk in their investments. Fresh beer is what going to your local brewery is all about, and we should be most aware of that. You have beer made within 200 miles of you that is awesome, almost no matter where you are in the US or Europe, patronize them in person when you can, and encourage your state law makers and retailers to offer growlers or inexpensive disposable kegs. Local beer is real. Save the bottles for the aging. I mean, if everyone had a dozen breweries within 20 miles like I do, you might get this point of view like I have. It can happen, that was the history of beer before BMC, it was all local.
    searsclone likes this.
  21. TheTinDoor

    TheTinDoor Aspirant (277) Aug 12, 2012 Maryland

    I made a mistake - the Stone 12/12/12 on the shelf I keep seeing is their Vertical Epic. Have not seen Enjoy By recently
  22. GFG

    GFG Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2012 North Dakota

    I don't :slight_frown:
  23. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,305) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Distributors are responsible for maintaining fresh beer on the retailers' shelves, and pulling the old stock. It's they that typically have to eat that cost, sometimes split with the brewery depending on contract. (I imagine any Stone wholesaler and, in turn, retailer that didn't want to take that risk with "Enjoy By" was free to refuse the beer.) Retailers should also be paying attention to their own stock and ordering beer accordingly - "considerable risk" seems a bit overblown when the alternative is selling old, stale beer.

    "Inexpensive, disposable kegs"? Wouldn't that be going backwards? Keg are reusable, the ultimate "green" beer container and consumers pay nothing for them, only put down a refundable deposit. A much better deal than "throw-away" bottles costs of which are built into the price of the beer or the outrageous prices some brewers/bars charge for empty growlers.

    Not sure what "before BMC" means exactly in this case, but Anheuser Busch, Miller and Coors only became the Top 3 breweries in the US in 1990. Certainly national and regional breweries, not local breweries, have dominated the US beer market since Repeal. And even in the pre-Pro era, many "shipping brewers" had large regional or national markets for their bottled beers, even exporting them.
  24. foles

    foles Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2007 Australia

    Beer freshness is my biggest gripe about beer in general. Stone are visionaries (visionaries of what probably should be the obvious)
  25. arfenhouse

    arfenhouse Initiate (0) Oct 29, 2012 California

    Ideally: Yes.
    Realistically: Nope.
  26. nc41

    nc41 Meyvn (1,492) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    No impacts IMO. I want a canned date, right now I can grab a Deviant Dales and it's canned date is 6/12, it's 7 months old, so I quickly pass. A best by date is too arbitrary to be helpful for hoppy brews, it made me happy to open up my Super Bowl stash and the Abrasive was canned on 1/8/13, the Pliny on 1/13/13, Blind Pig on 1/10/13. I understand the potential business impact putting canned dates on bottles, but it should be done.
  27. Nectar

    Nectar Initiate (0) Jan 17, 2013 New Jersey

    Thats 100% a reflectionon the shop and clientele. Either people in the area just don't buy it, which I doubt, or the shop let it sit in the back for too long.
  28. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,431) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I think it's such a minor release in the scheme of things that it's not likely to be more than a blip on most people's radar. Stone is "preaching to the choir" with Enjoy By, as the people most likely to seek out and buy it already know that hoppy beers and IPAs are best enjoyed fresh.

    Also, I don't think Enjoy By tasted any fresher than most local hoppy beers purchased within a month of bottling. I enjoy week-old Pliny far more than I enjoyed Enjoy By. But that's just personal taste.
  29. BeerMeInStl

    BeerMeInStl Aspirant (203) Jan 26, 2013 Missouri

    I bought a 12/12/12 in early January and it was still incredible. I wish that I had bought both bottles that they had.

    I'm really hoping that Stone comes back to St Louis with the next batch of Enjoy By.
  30. TheTinDoor

    TheTinDoor Aspirant (277) Aug 12, 2012 Maryland

    I posted a follow up - it was Vertical Epic 12/12/12, not Enjoy By, that was sitting on the shelf.
  31. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,229) Mar 18, 2010 California

    There's a reason 12.12.12 is sitting on the shelf. Hint: it's not very good.
    nanobrew likes this.
  32. MCain04

    MCain04 Zealot (585) Jan 3, 2013 Texas
    Beer Trader

    12/21/12 was one of the best DIPAs I'd ever had. I had a drinking glass fashioned out of the 22oz bomber, I loved it so much. If you are going to brew a DIPA that will be tasted best fresh, what better way to make sure your target market enjoys it fresh than to put it right on the label. Call it a marketing ploy if you must, but I'm a fan of anything that increases freshness awareness.
    jrnyc likes this.
  33. mychalg9

    mychalg9 Champion (849) Apr 8, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I really hope this doesn't turn into a stupid marketing battle between all the breweries.
  34. bennetj17

    bennetj17 Meyvn (1,374) Oct 30, 2005 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    I'm suprised at all the whining and complaining of this being a gimmick. Whatever you want to call it, the Enjoy By IPA was one of the best beers I have had in the past year, and probably the best Stone beer in an even longer time. I think and hope this will influence others to do something similar. Enjoy By might have gone a step further by putting the date in the name of the beer, but Russian River was doing something very similar with Pliny the Elder once they started bottling. They plastered "Drink now, Do not age, Enjoy fresh" all over the label. Limited availablity might make it hard for some to get their hands on beers like this, but it also ensures that we will never have to drink an old one.
    jrnyc, searsclone and jzeilinger like this.
  35. jzeilinger

    jzeilinger Poo-Bah (5,070) Dec 4, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Supporter Beer Trader

    I absolutely agree with you when it comes to bottle on and best by dates and you made a good point in "...ultimately it is up to the consumer to make the choice based on their own preference". I think Stone nailed it with this beer - I love the boldness in labeling and even after some of the hops fade before the "Enjoy By Date" I still find it a very good and satisfying IPA. What I don't like is the price and the limited availability. I've always complained about the difficulty in acquiring this one but have never been disappointed in the flavor, especially compared to a large majority of IPA's out there.
  36. flayedandskinned

    flayedandskinned Initiate (0) Jan 1, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    I certainly hope it forces them to use a bottled on date. And enough with this obfuscated julian calendar code bullshit.
    jrnyc and yemenmocha like this.
  37. joecast

    joecast Meyvn (1,125) Jun 30, 2003 Australia

    I find the ignorance reason hard to believe. I'm a below par home brewer and I know hoppy beer degrades quickly after packaging.
    I can understand the $ argument though. I wonder the difference in cost when purchasing a bottling line and ticking the date stamp option (cause its just like buying a car).
  38. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,286) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Flower Power cases have a clearly stamped bottled on date. I can get FP bottled on 1/28/13 mmmmm. Even Smuttynose now uses bottled on instead of best by. Can't speak to NN.

    That said I doubt Stone's marketing ploy will have much overall impact.
  39. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,305) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Bottles of Nugget Nectar are stamped with "Bottled on" dates and "Batch #'s"- the cases are stamped with a "Freshest Before" date 4 months after bottling.

    So, essentially the reverse of Flower Power's dating methods (and one extra month of recommended shelf life).
    cavedave likes this.
  40. klaybie

    klaybie Initiate (0) Nov 15, 2009 Illinois

    As much as I want it to impact things (positively) I don't think it will. We didn't get Enjoy by until about 20 days before the ''expiration'' date. If we want things to change it will have to come more from the distributors than the breweries, who can only ask the distro's to get the product out sooner but not control it. I think we, as consumers, would have a larger impact than the breweries.
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