I could hug the guy who wrote this:
The limited production of experimental (or seasonal or collaborative) beers is nothing new. That is how brewers innovate. The key difference is that, traditionally, such beers would be sold to local pubs at a normal price, to test the market. This packaging of limited-edition beers as exclusive, must-have products with price-tags to match, is entirely different. True, such beers (made in small batches from relatively scarce ingredients) are costly to produce, but what is also true is that many players in the craft beer industry seem determined to permanently and radically increase what we regard as an acceptable price to pay for good beer. In that context, such limited-edition beers (wholly unnecessary, in and of themselves) are just the latest pernicious skirmish in a much wider battle.
Pernicious? I'd be laughed out of the place for pernicious. The funniest thing of course is how blatant it is. In my pre-Yule rush at noon, I passed up a 12 buck bomber of a supposed special beer from a pretty boring brewery which sat next to a more expensive champagne style bottle from a guy I respect - but whose respect I can pay for at a fifth of that price for another of his beers. See there were 750 ml bottles of Abt 12 for $8.95 to be had next to Rochefort small bottles for about three and a quarter. Who buys the expensive and often disappointing oddly shaped bottle in the oddly labeled box over that? The misled? Could be.
Honest beer for an honest price. We've asked for no more since the days of Piers and maybe for a few centuries before that. It's a good read, the rest of the piece by Tony Naylor at the website for The Guardian. The only argument I might add is that of all the reasons suggested to justify the price none boil down to the making of better beer. This rare ingredient is added at great expense? So? The packaging touts a band's pretendy collaboration? Yawn. All these new barrels have to paid for - and seemingly paid in full over and over each time they are used? What are you, an accountant? Full price for a wonderful beer? No problem. Freakish demands for experiments gone hellishly wrong? No thanks.