Wednesday, April 24, 2013

POURsuasion: Limited Release vs. Seasonal Beer

Did you know that Dark Lord Day [DLD] tickets vanished less than ten seconds after coming online? They later sold a limited amount of tickets during the week at the brewery.  Unless you have the time to make the pilgrimage, are well connected, have "Fuck You" money, or are just faster on the refresh than everyone else you will not be attending this event anytime soon.

Frustrated that the only way to get this beer is either to shell out some ungodly amount of money to even try it or beg borrow steal or in Joe's case be rewarded through Karma with a VIP ticket...  Yes Joe I am still shaking my fist at you with one hand and yet grudgingly giving you a high five with the other.  Karma is Karma- keep Beering it forward.

I understand that the intent of DLD is to be exclusive.  I have heard from numerous sources that 3Floyds has no intention of making the event bigger than it already is.  Therefore this beer will be regulated to almost as difficult as getting a select Belgian beer from the monks themselves.  Getting to DLD is like winning the beer lotto... or being struck by lightning.


Kentucky Breakfast Stout [KBS] came out.  I think I heard a collective sigh of frustration for all beer distributors when they read this.

Founders Brewery:  "HEY!  WE GOT KBS!"
Distributors:  "F#^% YES!  Liquid money!"
1/2 Store owners:  "What in the hell is this?  I get a case?  No no that cant be right..."
Other half of Store owners: "Uhh seriously?  A 4 pack?  Why give it to us anyeeee... HEY GIVE IT BACK"
Beer guy at the store:  "Oh shit... Donny, get me my list.  No one gets a 4 pack unless I get the secret handshake.  No one gets a bottle unless I know them, they display a satisfactory level of beer knowledge to appreciate the brew, or they are not an asshole.  My discretion and interpretation."

The above is a very abbreviated version of what I think happens every season when KBS or another limited seasonal hits.  Notice I said Seasonal.  Everyone in the territory of the brewery has a shot every year of getting the brew.  It has the potential to reach a much broader audience.  I talked with my Hippy Beer Guy and Bouncer Beer Guy about this.  We came to the same conclusion, we would want more people to get a taste of it rather than horde or be exclusive about it.  When Bouncer finds  scores a case of something limited he finds himself giving it out to friends and acquaintances to help diversify and educate up and coming craft beer geeks.

I am firmly in the "beer it forward" camp.  If by some stroke of luck I score DLD tickets or any other crazy one day a year at the brewery beer release I more than likely will not attempt to go again.  I have friends/acquaintances that beg/borrow/stalk 3Floyds for tickets every year.  I am at odds with myself on if I should congratulate them on their yearly ritual and tenacity in finding/purchasing/going or curse them for not letting other people see the event/beer.  As far as limited seasonal beers...  Let's just say that I had a chance to score more than a 4 pack of KBS and opted not to.  Hopefully my beer karma will reach Joe heights and something serendipitous will happen. If not, I'll just keep hunting for those rare/limited finds.  

1 comment:

  1. I think it comes down to a question of capacity and opportunity cost for the brewery. You have limited resources (ingredients, space, production time and equipment, staff) to produce, store and sell your beer. If you do more of the stuff like KBS or Dark Lord, what are you sacrficing for your mainstay beers, and is there enough profit in the increased quantity of those to make up for what you lose from the mainstays? It's a tough balance to manage. As much as we might want them to do it for love of the beer, they have to make it smart financially. Breweries are businesses after all.