If you follow our Facebook feed as religiously as I do you might have caught a little poll question thrown out there yesterday:
"How much is TOO much for a 12/16 oz bottle of craft beer?"
I'm not self promoting my own musings as this question was posted by a colleague. But it drove a lot of people to comment and a cursory glance at our Facebook page would show that this question had led to the greatest response.
Not entirely sure if this is a sign of our economic times or our own rebellion to a craft beer movement that is increasingly growing into what resembles a corporate monster. Maybe I am exaggerating here, but the outcry against high beer prices seems to run counter to our support for local breweries.
Read me out here. I have no formal research to back me up, but I'm pretty sure we all outlay more cash for craft beer as opposed to that beautifully golden lager that comes from Milwaukee or St. Louis. Supporting local craft beer is a love and passion not for just quality ale (and sometimes lager) but for sense of community and togetherness. In order for these businesses to strive, we gladly open our wallets to make sure the doors to these breweries never close.
However, we know a good deal when we see one. We are still the blue collar shlubs that don't want to overpay for crap. "If I'm going to shell out $25 for a beer, it better be the best beer I've ever had!" But how will we ever know? We can only assess value of a beer only after we've tasted it. People who have never had Dark Lord may flippantly bark, "I would never go through that much trouble for a beer!" But that could be because they have no concept of what a beer has the ability to taste like!
I fell in love with craft beer by overpaying for it. I dropped $28 for a bottle of Hoppin' Frog B.O.R.I.S. I was too damn curious. I had to know what a $28 bottle of beer tasted like. Why could any beer fetch that asking price? I bought it from a bar, so I paid the markup.
I know we can easily introduce friends to craft beer for far less. But had I not taken that leap I would not have been introduced to the wonder that I now love, the imperial stout. I'm going to take it a step further. I paid $75 for a bottle of CBS from eBay. Oh yeah, it was ridiculous but once again I had to see what all the hype was about. C'mon, it's just beer! But that's the mindset of a drone spending nights in college binge drinking Natty Light and subsequently thinking Miller Lite is a great everyday beer. CBS is a great beer. I would do it all over again (only if I'm re-living it). If people pay that much for wine, maybe beer has crossed over into elitism.
I paid $35 for Baller Stout and I paid $50 for Dark Lord de Muerte. I am still fascinated by the fetching prices of beer. But Three Floyd's is a proven commodity and as much as I rail against them as an entity I find their beer phenomenal. Then again, I still have a limited sample size.
My purchases have all been 22oz bombers, so the question may fall short of applying, but the fundamental reasoning remains, "How much is TOO much?" My answer, no such thing. A willing participant dictates the value. In this game, it appears that past performance dictates future value. I don't see Four Horsemen releasing a $35 bomber anytime soon. But if Sun King wants to release a $25 bottle, I'm curious.