The WCAX story comes after BeerPulse’s report this past week detailing the brewery’s animosity toward eBay beer sales.
According to the report, “For fighting back, Hill is getting heat from beer drinkers and bloggers. They say he should just make more or take it as a compliment.” [Note for readers: someone find me two beer blogs that put heat on Hill this past week and no, message board/forum posts do not count as blogs.]
Shortly after the Friday news story, an eBay beer salesman posted up an empty Hill Farmstead growler as a throw-in on one auction. Though no Hill Farmstead beers are up for sale as of publishing, a bottle of Hill Farmstead Mimosa was sold for $200 last week just before the BeerPulse report.
Vermont-based Lawson’s Finest Liquids is also named in the WCAX report as being against eBay sales. That brewery has two beer listings up on the site where the seller has appended, “Heady Hill Dark Topper Farmstead Lord,” to the listing name to increase the likelihood that prospective buyers will see it.
The Alchemist also issued a statement on eBay sales as part of the report. The reporter paraphrased, “The Alchemist says that once it is in consumers’ hands, it is out of their hands so they are ok with their beers being [re-sold].’”
Vermont Brewers Association, Executive Director, Kurt Staudter, mentioned illegality and quality control as his primary reasons against eBay sales. Beer trading, which carries both of those strikes against it as well (though arguably benefits brewers by building buzz and excitement around them) was not mentioned in the report.
In a new twist to the saga, Adam Jackson, the man who famously wrote an essay on his past experience as an eBay beer salesman, published another one on Tuesday night defending the brewery. Jackson, who also recently penned a number of glowing reviews of Hill Farmstead beers and completed a Hill Farmstead cross-stitch, appears to have won over the team at the brewery after an ugly April incident.
That month, Hill Farmstead founder, Shaun Hill, and his father helped Jackson move his car out from the mud only to later find that Jackson had put Hill Farmstead on eBay. In closing a thread about the incident, Beer Advocate founder, Todd Alstrom, said, “He needs help. Seriously.” Another thread on RateBeer regarding the incident was deleted.
Three months since becoming what may be the country’s most prolific beer geek, Jackson is now playing the role of private investigator on eBay beer sales. He writes:
I have a solution for brewers. Send me an email or reach out to Shaun Hill (maybe he’s not okay with that so I’ll ask him and update this). If you’re a brewer that has found people selling bottles on eBay illegally and you want to do something about it, I have a workflow set up with eBay. It’s not some brewer dashboard for getting sales removed and identifying exactly who is selling your beer (beyond just their eBay alias). It’s a single point of contact within eBay who is keeping a list of breweries and their contacts. If that person sees an auction go up for that brewery and knows the brewer doesn’t allow these sales / makes a statement to eBay that, “None of my bottles are rare or collectible”, the auction is taken down. The brewer also has the ability to email one person with an auction link and have that auction removed within minutes. It also puts internal strikes against the beer sellers so, after a few take-downs, that person’s account is gone.
I have been working on this since my last blog post and think it is slowly a way to limit what people can sell on eBay when it comes to “collectible sealed beer bottles.”
Hill and Lawson now have a valuable sidekick in Jackson to work on their behalf.
With this modern day version of Frank Abagnale, Jr. at the helm, perhaps no eBay beer salesman is safe going forward.