(Belchertown, MA) – BeerPulse spoke with Shelton Brothers’ co-founder, Dan Shelton, by phone on Tuesday regarding next Wednesday’s release of Westvleteren XII.
More than anything else, Shelton wants to re-iterate that, regardless of supply chain/distribution costs, the Westvleteren XII boxes (a.k.a. bricks) containing six bottles of the beer and two logo-etched glasses is supposed to retail for exactly $84.99 wherever sold. That was the wish of Abbaye Sint Sixtus, who will use proceeds to restore parts of its deteriorating abbey.
BeerPulse reported a couple cases last week where this happened and Shelton confirmed that the company has “rectified” them save for Hawaii
where Shelton was still putting pressure on a distributor to cooperate as of Tuesday afternoon. UPDATE: the new sale price in Hawaii will be $92.50 per box which is a necessity given the additional cost of shipping to get the boxes out there.
Because costs incurred in getting the boxes to their end destinations vary depending on where the boxes were shipped, it has made the goal of a universal price a significant challenge though Shelton said that the company would take a hit where it needed to in order to make it happen for the sake of the abbey.
Shelton says that the abbey is, in part, hoping to make a statement with the standardized price that this should not be viewed as a capitalistic endeavor by any parties involved but rather a way to raise funds for necessary restoration of parts of the abbey. The restoration should be seen as a necessity rather than a luxury. Part of becoming a Trappist monk or nun requires taking a vow of poverty (in addition to strict daily rituals as to when prayer, rest, working by hands and sleep may occur) and not living beyond their means.
The fact that Total Wine & More is the exclusive retailer in Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and South Carolina has been a point of contention with a number of local boutique retailers that have carried Shelton Brothers over the years.
Shelton stresses that there have been logistical challenges involved with orchestrating the sale of these boxes and that it has been impossible to please all trade partners. They feared that if the boxes were spread out to only just a couple per store that there would be some cases where those boxes would get broken up or the owners would not make them available for sale to consumers (in other words, just keep the boxes for themselves). Shelton also wanted to give consumers the opportunity to attend a release at a store and have some expectation that they could go home with a box (which is why some stores are getting dozens of boxes to sell).
Some distributors and stores are looking at the situation as if they missed out on a reward though it wasn’t Shelton Brothers’ intention.
With that, on late Tuesday afternoon, the company put a partial end to speculation and piecemeal reporting with the publication of the official list of locations around the country where Westvleteren XII will be available.
Curiously omitted from the list is Georgia. A few rumors floated out on Twitter over the weekend that the Department of Revenue had begun seizing beer, leading the stores to put the beer out on shelves prior to the official release date of December 12th.
With the list being released after hours of operation, BeerPulse was unable to get comment on the situation from either Shelton Brothers or Total Wine by press time.
UPDATE from Dan Shelton: Per Shelton, there is nothing illegal or wrong about how the sale was being conducted in Georgia but the monks didn’t want the process to turn ugly so Shelton Brothers worked with Total Wine to release the beer early in order to avoid further issues in the state.
It wouldn’t be the biggest one-day beer release event of the year without a few fireworks.