Barbed Words

For all the trouble that rare beer sales cause, it makes you wonder why anyone in their right mind would attempt one. And after failing, trying it again.

I am not implying that perseverance is bad but if you did not “duck” well the first time or “duck” out of the way the second time, then you will be a stuffed “goose”.

Of course I speak of the recent Lost Abbey Duck, Duck fiasco. Their very limited gueuze that only makes the rare appearance in the craft beer world. Websites were crashed. Purchasing was clogged and there were enough angry commenters to fill a Trump rally and probably even scare the Drumpf himself.

I think I will stick with one French newspapers policy of not giving terrorists page space and not include the comments here. There is no fury like a whale hunter denied a bottle. You can find the good, bad and entitled ugly HERE. Suffice it to say, there is an undercurrent of beer fandom that does not feel catered to enough and no apology would be accepted.

Other than not releasing the beer there is no magic bullet for limited release sales. You are guaranteed that someone with access to the Internet will not get exactly the amount of bottles that they want and will vent their so-deserved expletives upon you. I will offer two steps to make life more tolerable though:

The first step is to eliminate the Internet sale. With that move, you get rid of the “refresh rage” of those who cannot get through the jammed Internet (when they should be at work). Make the customers come to you. You get two wins by doing this, one, it is easy to compose an anti-Lost Abbey screed from the anonymity of an avatar but harder to kick up a fuss in person, at the brewery. You also curtail the resale market buyers who cannot easily buy from the comfort of home.

Next, limit the purchase amount to two bottles maximum. Again to make the illegal resellers work harder but also to get more bottles into different ‘fridges. Personally, I would limit to one bottle but I understand that might not feasible for the good customers who you want to keep coming back. In that vein, once the rare bottles are depleted, I would offer a discount on other bottles that day with the discount going to charity. Give people a reason to stay (and feel good) if they end up without the nectar of God’ tears.

As an added show of fun, I would celebrate the person who just missed the bottle cut off with a hat, shirt and a free beer. The NFL spins great PR of the last person (Mr. Irevelant) picked in their draft and the brewery could do the same here to make lemonade out of a sour situation.

Or you can keep doing the same thing over and over. History shows that works well.

Christmas in July at Port / Lost Abbey

As I have mentioned previously, this is not a snarky, mean-spirited blog. I wish to be more at the Huell Howser end of the spectrum as opposed to Bill Maher but, at times, I will have to detour into criticism. This is one of those instances.

Now, I am a fan of Pizza Port beers (and the pizza). I enjoy the hop bombs they make and recently I really liked the Hot Rocks lager. Lost Abbey is hit and miss. Their wit is sub-par but Inferno ale is pretty good. I do appreciate the experimentation though which is why I wanted to check out this party in the first place.

So I was expecting a lot at their Christmas party. Maybe too much. My first problem was that they did not appear to be fully expecting a crowd. There was no signage as to where to line up for what so there was one medium, barely-moving line due to the second noticeable problem, only one person checking ID and only one person taking bottle orders and taking entrance money.

The third miscue was that you placed a bottle order for Duck, Duck, Gooze then you had to go stand in a new line to purchase it. A line with 1. Yes, only 1 credit card machine. Now that would be ok if the beers were $8.00 or $10.00 but if you are charging (and rightfully so) $30.00 you have to have at least two credit card machines because not everyone will have that much cash on hand. And forth, they ran out of some beers after three hours. Amigo lager? Sorry, all out. Shark Bite red? Nope. This is why, myself and others were at Stone enjoying a leisurely beer.

Here are my recommendations for fixing the situation. Separate the bottle sales from the party. This way people can come in, donate to charity, have some beer, get a photo with Santa and not have to navigate a humid room with a big line of cranky bottle buyers in the middle.

To speed the bottle sales, at least two credit card machines. Then hand people order slips as they wait in line. Also have two people as stock pickers to speed up the process. This way, the order is ready quicker from both the buyer and the seller’s sides. And it is only one line which may move faster. There is nothing worse than a line that inches forward then finding out you have to be in another line that inches forward.

The mantra should be to prepare for a big crowd and then scale down if needed. Because it is just too hard to scale up.