(Minneapolis, MN) – The Goose Island rep for Minnesota announced the gameplan this past weekend for the release of Bramble Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout in the state.
A very limited amount of Bramble Rye BCBS will ship into MN later this week. It will likely not go out for delivery until the week after Christmas. Due to the extremely low quantities of this product that we will be receiving in MN, I have made the decision to bring this beer EXCLUSIVELY to on premise accounts. That means we will not see any of this beer in area liquor stores. I have selected 18 bars/restaurants that will each see 1 case of this rare brew. I am also holding 2 cases for beer dinners or special events throughout the next year.
I am sure that this decision will not be popular with many of you. I apologize. This decision was made due to the small quantity of this beer being shipped to MN. There was just no way to fairly divide the amount of beer we are getting between all of my good liquor store accounts. I just could not pick one account over another (and surely upset the accounts not selected).
As soon as I have finalized the list of bars/restaurants that will receive Bramble Rye, I will add them to this post.
Feel free to BM me if you have any questions. Also, if any of you have a better idea in regards to how I should handle limited release brew in the future, please let me know. I am open to any suggestions.
MN Brewery Representative
Goose Island Beer Co.
Goose Island’s intentions aside, it is an interesting move for how to handle the release like this in Minnesota. Brewers don’t like that those in the black market are making more profit than they are with some beers. They know if they charge those same prices that beer drinkers will cry foul. Beer drinkers don’t want to see wine-like prices at retail.
Breweries have at least three weapons to employ against this “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario.
1) They are charging upfront membership fees for exclusive (or better) access to these beers. The prices for the bottles as they become available may not seem like much but are beer drinkers calculating how much they are paying for each bottle they get from these memberships? Still below the black market most likely but probably above what they would be willing to pay for the bottle on a shelf next to other limited beers.
2) Charge for tickets for access to buy beers. Breweries have tread carefully on this issue so far. For the most part, they are donating the proceeds of the ticket sales to charities. Could breweries get away with partial proceed donations in future releases?
3) Keep very limited beers in the on-premise channel. Distributors are the ones that have the last say when it comes to where beer goes. Breweries can still advise on where those beers go and control what product they send to distributors who act against their wishes. On-premise establishments, for the most part, charge a much higher cost for a bottle than a retailer would. A brewery can justify a higher price to the wholesaler if the beer is being limited to the on-premise channel.
The Lost Abbey has dabbled with both so far. Cable Car was recently limited to three locations (on-premise only) due to a very limited bottling run (a few dozen cases, if that?). Obviously understandable with whatever level of production there was for that beer but who thinks that a brewery with several states of distribution (or national distribution) couldn’t pull this off with a run of 500-1,000 cases?