American Craft Beer: Best by Date

By scot in Beer, Lounge on Saturday, June 1st, 2019

Why does the American craft beer makers insist on giving me a best by date? That is an industry just not understanding the consumers of their product.

There are a plethora of reasons why American craft beer makers shouldn’t partake in this practice. Let’s take a look at my rant!

  • Best by date my vary by American craft brewery. How long is that from the canning date? 2, 4, 6 or more months? Depending on the style, for example a NEIPA, that best by date should be 2-4 weeks and 4 weeks is push it. I may have a fresh beer in the American craft brewer’s sense but my sense and opinion is what matters. Don’t try to trick me.
  • Until American craft breweries come to a standard, then I will not be able to calculate the approximate can/bottle date.
  • If an American craft brewery has the ability to do this labeling, then make sure that it easy to read. Do some type of R&D to determine if you machine is calibrated correctly. If the ink is smudge or readable. If they ink runs or rubs off easily once the can has condensation. These are easy things to manage in order to make sure your consumer is not being tricked.
  • If you have the technology to place a best by date you have the technology to do a canned date. I feel it is trickery.
  • Don’t play games with stupid/crazy codes that I have to go to the website to lookup. Are you kidding me? I have to pull out a computer, laptop, or phone, go to their site and hopefully be able to find the page for a specific beer that has the codes?

American craft beer is all about the consumer. If brewers have the consumer’s best interest at heart, then a canned date is a must as is throwing about the best by date. I feel the best by date is a why to fool and trick the consumer into purchasing a beer long after peek consumption period. It also seems that is used by bigger American craft breweries as well as those that have been gobbled up by macro breweries/corporations. This practice will begin to erode the trust that important to American craft beer sustaining growth and loyalty. The days of brotherhood among the American craft breweries is waning due to overcrowded shelves.

I will only purchase American craft beer that has a canned date that is easy to read. Next, if it is a normal IPA, it can’t be more than 2 months old. If it is a NEIPA, it has to be within in a week. Other styles I am a bit more loose on dating. But, the fact has to be that the date is there. The above purchasing practices are scrutinized even more by me when I am at a beer store that I do not normally visit.

I hate to say this but this could be one that Budweiser had right a long time ago. I don’t know if they still carry out the practice but they not only had a born on date but they also had that the beer was best within 110 days of said date.

You cannot ask for more transparency than that. Let the consumer make up his/her mind what they determine to be fresh. This is what I want and what the American craft beer drinking public needs! Stop feeding us a line of crap. Enjoy!

Useless fact: Kids ask 300 questions a day.

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