Shelton Brothers clear air over Westvleteren retail criticism, read dissenting emails on air

westvleteren xii gift pack

After BeerPulse broke the news late last month that Westvleteren XII would be exclusively sold at Total Wine in a handful of states, rumors were circulated, tempers flared, official announcements had to be released and a number of ‘mom & pop’ liquor stores felt left out in the cold. Emails and phone calls flooded Shelton Brothers’ office (hell, even an angry fax or two was sent).

The day of the big Westvleteren XII sale came and went and shopkeeps survived whether or not they had the privilege to sell the bricks.

But still, emails and calls have come in with some shops questioning their relationship with the beleaguered importer.

Nowhere has the dissent been louder than in the south, especially in Georgia and North Carolina.

In Georgia, a mini-mutiny led to complaints being made with state liquor agents. Though Shelton Brothers claimed no wrongdoing, Total Wine stores had to hold an impromptu sale of Westvleteren XII boxes ahead of the official 12/12/12 date in order to avoid issues (and what some close to the situation described as harassment).

In North Carolina, where there has been some controversy around Shelton Brothers this year (another story in itself), stores and bars were especially vocal on social media. NPR even captured one on those tweets in its article following the XII sale:

Full conversation/context here.

On the other side of that tweet is Heather Blissard who runs the beer department at that particular Piggly Wiggly location in Alabama.

Shelton Brothers ran with it and made much of the most recent ‘High and Mighty Beer Show’ podcast episode about retail complaints from those who didn’t get Westvleteren XII. They even opened the show with the Piggly Wiggly jingle and brought Blissard on the air to chat about the situation. She said that she and Bruisin’ Ales have buried the hatchet.

There is a lot more to the story (which will probably surface over the next month) but the gist of Shelton Brothers’ side is that it was an incredible logistical challenge to pull off (selling 15,000 bricks on the same day across the U.S.) and they did the best that they could, knowing that they couldn’t please everyone due to supply of the bricks being drastically lower than the sky-high demand.

Also appearing on this fun-filled episode in the form of their complaints being read on the air is Tyler of Tyler’s Taproom and ‘Minx Staff.’

Download the full 30-minute episode.

8 thoughts on “Shelton Brothers clear air over Westvleteren retail criticism, read dissenting emails on air

  1. That’s what happens when deep pocket lawyers take the place of the enthusiast. This is by no means the first time they have played this game.

  2. A fax.. that takes some dedication. I’ve heard the sheltons can be tough to deal with but when they import some good beer just have to go with it. and they are enthusiasts of beer… they just know how to make a few bucks off of it.

  3. Just more of the Same ridiculous entitlement but instead of beer geeks it is shops. Guess what? There are plenty of beers out there. You want to be assured of getting yourself some Westy. Go to Belgium you idiots. I understand being miffed if you feel you are a loyal shelton bros client but people were going to be left out. What is the alternative? A bottle shop lottery? People would have been pissed about that too. There is no win here.

  4. Only idiots bought that overpriced beer from Total Wine. You can get the same tasting beer when you buy a St. Bernardus 12 that is available all the time. Selling to one chain exclusively is illegal in certain states. I hope the state liquor boards crack down on these clowns. I wonder how much Total Wine bribed Shelton Brothers with to become the exclusive place. They should both be closed down or fined a lot.

  5. don’t understand the hype on this brew. I get exclusivity and all but as far as bragging rights to “the worlds best beer..etc” I don’t buy it! I sure as hell won’t shell out $89 to find out either. $89 will buy some nice 22 oz bombers of great artisanal craft beer! I’m not knocking the brew by the way… it’s probably great but I disagree with all the hype surrounding it is all!

  6. At least part of the cause of retailer anger was the Shelton’s not saying who was getting the ‘bricks’ until they posted a list on the 3rd. My local craft beer store was inundated with calls and had no reason to think they weren’t getting any as they are a very large store. Had they had information, they could have told their customers they were not getting any. Also, maybe the Sheltons don’t understand that something special like this gets customers into your store and they just might buy other products while there.

  7. The duplicity of the Shelton Brothers and passing of the buck never ends. This is the same duo of which one bemoaned the “fad” of big imperial beers just a handful of years ago only to then contract to have garbage parody beers made for them to import. Bad Elf, Seriously Bad Elf, Insanely Bad Elf, crap.

    I stopped buying any product they had their hands on after the unseemly incident with Brooklyn Brewery earlier this year. Just a number in a long line of under handed and abhorring behaviors by two men and their company which professes falsely their motto.

    This takes away a lot of fine imported ales and some very great domestic ones as well, but that is the price of loyalty. There are plenty of equally good or better ales they do not have any control over.

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