Friday, November 13, 2015

American Beer (Distribution/Inflation/Supply and Demand) Rant


I was in Rochester, NY for work yesterday so I stopped at Beers of the World. They have the best selection of beers from (as the name implies) all over the world. 

I was looking for Kloster Andechs Dopplebock Dunkel so I would have one to compare my clone recipe along side. Unfortunately they don't seem to stock it any longer. This is a shame because it's such a great beer.


So naturally I started browsing the entire store. Several west coast breweries caught my eye and a couple east coast. The 750ml bottles were quite expensive, anywhere from $15-$25 depending on the brewery and the style. I was specifically looking for sour beers and these were $19-XX. 

I can't justify paying that much money for such a small amount of beer (or wine or mead) that I'll have gone in an hour. I wouldn't sit at the bar and pay $15 for two pints of beer and I won't buy it off the shelf that way either. In fact if I'm at a brewery and the pints cost more than $5 each, I'm finding another brewery. I will make small exceptions for sour beers because I realize the extra time and effort and space are worth something but with kettle sours my resolve holds. Maybe part of my attitude comes from being a homebrewer and knowing I can come close to reproducing the beers I want. Maybe I'm just being frugal.

What's really burning my ass here is that I found a fantastic beer that came all the way from Belgium and only cost me $11 for a 750ml and it's a sour! A Flander's Red from Petrus called OUD BRUIN to be precise. This beer was subtly sour, a little sweet and a great beer. 



So lets see. Belgian breweries can produce a truly amazing aged sour beer, ship it across the ocean, pay import taxes and still have it be more cost effective than our home craft breweries, really?!  Does anyone else have an issue with this? 

We are constantly paying a premium for American craft beer because it's become so popular that the breweries are either in a endless state of expansion (which we're paying for in every pint) or so small they are paying a premium for ingredients etc... When does this level off and become more realistic. At some point the market will become flooded and a microbreweries will begin to fail. The remaining breweries will start fighting for market share with prices rather than styles produced because the market will be over saturated and we will finally benefit. 

End of Rant.