American Craft Beer Tug-O-War

By scot in Beer, Lounge on Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

american craft beer tug-o-war

An American Craft Beer Tug-O-War has begun. I think it touches just about every facet of the industry: brewers, distributors, retailers, and, of course, consumers. I don’t know if I will ever touch every aspect of this topic but I want to look at it from the consumer side with retailers and maybe distributors coming another time.

The number of consumers of American craft beer is growing exponentially. It is the “official” thing to do as wine was a while back. All the hipsters have to be hip, so they need to ride on the coat tales.

I was recently talking to the beer buyer at a local store, Eric. He mentioned that he has people walk in, stating they are just getting into American craft beer and want to pick up Dark Lord, Bourbon County Brand Stout, Pliny, etc. WTF! Are you kidding me. Obviously they are clueless. This goes beyond the point that you can’t pick up Dark Lord at a retail store, that Bourbon County Brand Stout no longer sits on the shelves (because of the damn hipsters), or that Pliny isn’t even distributed to Illinois.

How do you start your craft beer endeavors with the biggest, boldest beers that are out there? That’s like saying give me Devil Dancer as my first American IPA.

Now here is the bad part, the hipsters aren’t even the bad guys here. It is the jackasses (this is how I will refer to them the rest of the way) that buy the beer for no other reason than trying to pull a profit in the second-hand market (I won’t even mention that devil of a bidding site). Since, it seems, these people just sit on their asses all day trying to figure out how to make a buck and don’t have a job, they make phone calls to any place they feel they can drive to, scouring for tips, lists, and beers that they can turn a profit.

This screws us all, even the hipsters. So even on a beer that is limited to one per person, they might travel around all afternoon, from store to store, picking up a case of bombers. This limits the amount of beer for everyone that actually wants to appreciate the beer for the reason it was made: to be drank. So the tug-o-war begins. American craft beer connoisseurs pulling the rope to get what they believe they deserve, hipsters pulling the rope to get beers that they have no idea of what they are asking, and the jackasses pulling on the rope to make sure they screw everyone to the means of their end: trying to turn a profit.

All this tugging leads us down the path of distributors and retailers restricting beer allotments further, possibly increasing margins by charging higher prices since the Internet seems to afford them quite easily. I long for the days when I could find Bourbon County Brand Stout on the shelf year round so I could get my fix anytime. Instead, now, I haven’t found the damn beer on a shelf in a year or more. Sad times.

For those of you that have played along, yes, I have broken my New Year’s resolution of not swearing in my posts. Some of these topics get me fired up. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: The deer botfly can fly faster than a jet plane. It has been clocked at a speed of 818 miles per hour. It crosses 400 yards in one second and moves 13 miles in a minute. The deer botfly flies so fast that it is almost invisible to the human eye.

Note: No matter how good the above sounds, there is no way it is true. Wikipedia on the deer botfly: "To maintain a velocity of 800 miles per hour, the 0.3-gram fly would have had to consume more than 150% of its body weight in food every second, the fly would have produced an audible sonic boom, the supersonic fly would have been invisible to the naked eye, and the impact trauma of such a fly colliding with a human body would resemble that of a gunshot wound."

Moral of the Story: Don’t believe the shit you read on the Internet.


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