A Good Beer Blog

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Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


Comments

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Jeff Alworth -

Based on my discussions with brewers, they have to raise prices. I don't know what it's like on the east coast or in Canada, but we have so many breweries and pubs in the NW that prices stay pretty low. Breweries can sell a lot of beer here (good), but because the quality is so good, few try to "signal price" their beer. It's all good.

And, compared to a bottle of decent local Pinot ($20, minimum), eight dollars a sixer remains a good deal.

Alan -

Good point and maybe there is a critical point for real competition to arise that overcomes other forces. I am going to be across mid-week, Jeff, and have a look around NNY but what we get here in the Great White North is $12 to $15 a six as we live in a monopoly retail market.

Jeff Alworth -

Holy crap! I know the exchange rate is unstable, and beer pricing is more stable, but that works out to something well north of $10 a sixer, US. (And I was a bit off. According to Bill, the current average price in Portland for a six-pack is $8.85.

I visited Allagash last year and was pretty surprised at the prices they were commanding. Allagash is a fantastic brewery, but they get $10 a minimum for .75 liters. Here it's very difficult to get more than $11--which seems to be the ceiling. Allagash is great beer, but it's not better than Deschutes Abyss or Widmer cherry-aged doppelbock (etc etc). So the more I think about it, the more I sympathize with your position. Our brewers are probably getting by on a smaller margin--but probably have a safer, more predictable customer base.

Beantown Brews -

Jeff - I am with you on Allagash. Great beer, but way over priced. You end up paying a good deal more than most 6-packs for a 4-pack. I kept telling myself "well it is the extra care they put in to the beer," but I am not so sure about that lately. Great beer - shitty price point.

Stan Hieronymus -

Jeff - It's been more than a year since we looked at Allagash prices, but then the beers above $15 were more like the Cascade offerings - time and funk involved. When we were in Oregon the best price we saw for a 750ml of Cascade was $17.99. Maybe we were looking in the wrong places.

The Widmer Doppelbock is $7.49 in our market right now.

dave -

$12 to $15 a six pack for what? Good Lord. Is that for a local beer or something imported?

Speaking of beer and economics, maybe a possible way of getting the ball rolling is including price in beer reviews? Giving an idea of "It was good for $12 a six pack, but beyond that I would pass". Granted that might get a little confusing with exchange rates, but maybe a possible start? Not really sure though.

Alan -

Here are some prices from the LCBO:

- Delaware's Dogfish 60 Minute is $14.25 a six
- Quebec's Dieu du Ciel Peche Mortel is $22.80 a six
- Ontario's Mill Street Coffee Porter is $12.55 a six
- Ontario's Saint Andre Vienna Lager is $11.45 a six
- Belgium's Het Anker Margriet is $13.80 a six
- Genny Ice is $10.50 a six.

dave -

So that means (with current exchange rate of 1 Canadian dollar = 0.92816 U.S. dollars [care of google]) the 60 Minute six pack costs $13.23 in U.S. I have not picked up a 60 Minute in a while, but I think that is high. Tonight I should be able to get some price comparisons on 60 Minute, and Dieu du Ciel. Not sure about the other beers though.

Alan -

Where is that link to the local beer price index idea that was floated a few weeks ago. The LCBO would be able to provide data to create an Ontario comparison.

dave -

Some numbers for Boston (taken from four stores, though not all beers were represented at all four stores):

Dogfish Head 60 Minute: $11 - $12 per six pack

Quebec's Dieu du Ciel (did not note which ones, but they were only found at one of the stores and the different types ranged from): $5 - $7 per 12oz bottle

Allagash White: $9 - $10 per four pack

Allagash Tripel: $10 - $12 per four pack

Widmer Hefe: $8.50 per six pack

Take these prices and then add on 6.25% sales tax and 5 cent deposit per bottle.

Alan -

My prices include taxes so I am starting to feel happily surprised.

Jeff Alworth -

<i>Jeff - It's been more than a year since we looked at Allagash prices, but then the beers above $15 were more like the Cascade offerings - time and funk involved. When we were in Oregon the best price we saw for a 750ml of Cascade was $17.99. Maybe we were looking in the wrong places.</i>

You're right about the Cascade. You do get a bit of a deal at the brewery--fifteen bucks, I think. But it's not just the funky Allagash that was expensive. As Dave's numbers show, the brewery is charging a premium on all their beers.

That said, I am perhaps using the wrong data point. I was mainly contrasting it with Alan's quote of Canadian prices. Perhaps Allagash is just an outlier. In Oregon, Rogue charges substantially more than competing breweries. Some folks just charge more. In Allagash's case, more power to them. I would gladly pay more across the board for their beers if it subsidized experiments like the spontaneous fermentation.

This is a bit off topic, but I went to New Seasons, a local organic grocery store in town that boasts a massive beer selection and picked up a passel of German beer for super cheap. I got a Monschoff Schwarz in a swing-top for three bucks. Another swing-top doppel (name eludes me in this moment) was four and change. German biers remain the best value of the good-beer world.