Westvleteren XII locations revealed and more on challenges of a one-time U.S. release

westvleteren xii gift pack

(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.

14 thoughts on “Westvleteren XII locations revealed and more on challenges of a one-time U.S. release

  1. Pingback: Westvleteren XII hits stores in mid-December, exclusive through TW&M in some states | BeerPulse

  2. Pingback: Westvleteren XII update: New York, Kentucky, Indiana and state-by-state tracking | BeerPulse

  3. Shelton is charging $82.50 for the boxes and mandated that they be sold for $85.00. This means that if someone buys one with a credit card, the store loses money. This is moronic. This whole operation just screams of amateurism, I almost can’t believe that Shelton manages to run a successful business.

  4. Pingback: More from Shelton Brothers on the controversial Westvleteren XII release | BeerPulse

  5. I don’t get you, what’s the % charge for a credit Card payment which the shop needs to absorb?

  6. Good on Shelton. Paying $35 for the box, and marking it up to $82.50. Good business practices by those two winners. They’ll go far with humanity like that.

    I didn’t know that a distributor could mandate an MSRP though. That sounds highly illegal. Fairly sure I heard that it is hands down illegal in Cali. But they are known to stoop. They are stoopers after all. And the monks set the price? Laughable. They already set the price over here in Europe. Wasn’t even close to half that price. Shipping by the other bros isn’t nearing over 100% markup.

    This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so damn sad. Eff the sheltons.

  7. I don’t think this pricing is all on Shelton and seems as if they are making very little on the deal themselves. I used to be skeptical about the price of import beers but after recently going through all the shenanigans with importing a few pallets of product myself (non-alcohol) I can see where the costs get tacked on via customs, freight forwarders, port fees and the like. That being said, this was many containers full of beer and economy of scale comes into play plus 13.2 cent/liter tax isn’t that much. But if you think this made it to the US for anything close to $35 you are dreaming. How to complain about the price when all the money is going to the abbey?

  8. Haha, all the money going to the abbey. That’s rich. And the part I may be dreaming about is probably lower than the retail amount I mentioned above. That would make more sense. I was erring on the generous side. I’m all for people covering their costs, but they reek of being overgreedy. Of course, this is just my opinion.

    You should investigate why the other importer lost the ability to also import. Weird that the shadier company of the two got sole rights. I wasn’t arguing the fact that taxes added on some amount, but the bros (this term bros seem to apply to two groups of people that are a detriment to craft beer – the other pair being of the same dogmatic thought pattern) sure as hell aren’t importing this to help the abbey. If they wanted to do that they could have done so another way.

  9. There are very few reasons for a retailer to carry this and many reasons not to. A store might receive hype & prestige associated with carrying a super rare product that also supports charity. But, contrary to popular belief, most people who hunt down and buy rare beers do not also buy regular beers “while they’re at it.” Greater than 90% or more of customers who buy this item will purchase it alone, or it in combination with other rares the retailer may have on hand.

    However, there are labor costs, risks of loss to breakage/pilferage/chargeback, and loss of goodwill associated with having limited supply of highly saught-after product. There is also an opportunity cost – customers who buy this may have instead spent at least some of that money towards items that would have actually turned a profit.

    Thus, any increase in store revenues are far outweighed by the associated risks.

  10. i pay $10 in NJ for a dogfish 120 that’s made 2 hrs away and fairly readily available. This is way cheaper than the trip to Belgium if you can get an appointment to get beer at the Abby. this is a one time opportunity to get a great beer that has been made the same way for hundreds of years. And to help rebuild the abby so future generations can get this beer too!

  11. i agree it is a very risky proposition for store owners. It does put some of these high end craft beer stores on a global map. i don’t see the advantage to a total wine. The mark up is about the same as a case of bud at most stores. We know money is made in the six packs and singles and not on the cases. it’s a volume play.

  12. I visted the Sint Sixtus Abbey in Oct. and picked up a gift pack @ the Cafe for 24 or 26 Euro’s can’t remember exactly. But this consisted of two bottles of blonde, 1 bottle of 8, 1 bottle of 12 and a glass. So I paid ~$32 for four bottles (only 1 Twelve) and a glass in the Shadow of the place where it is brewed. Highly unlikely that this is being packaged and shipped to the US for only $35. Either buy it or don’t, that’s how a free market works.

  13. Nearly everyone that went to Total Wine left with more than a Westy box. I spent $350 that trip.

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