Guilty. I’ve done it. Buying cases of beer, running from store to store, trying to get as much of an allocated beer as I can. Maybe it’s some sort of innate hunter/gatherer mentality ingrained in our subconscious. Maybe it’s because we’ve been thirsty for so long in Knoxville. Many breweries passed us by for so long, going to nearby states instead. This was thanks to our taxes and, up until recently, how we defined “beer.” That’s changed though – at least the beer definition did – and we have an incredible representation of beer in our fine state. Not only that but we have some awesome brewers here in Tennessee now. We’re certainly blessed in beer.
Like many of you, I cellar beer. Stouts, a few porters, barleywine, a sour here or there – big beers. These beers are also great gifts, taking to a party and I’ve used them multiple times for charity beer baskets – that always do very well. It’s also fun to see how they change over time and on occasion, do a vertical of a few years of the same beer. I’ve cut back. There’s just too much out there now – more than I can drink or should drink. Further, I really want to support my local brewers and some of my beer money, and calorie allocation, should go there.
Yesterday Founders released CBS at their brewery. The stars aligned and it was released here as well. I figured it’d be a week or two before we saw it but no, our distributor stood tall and there it was – a fair amount of it too. While some places allocated it, understandable, one place did not – Cedar Bluff Wine and Spirits*. I bought two bottles for myself at CBWS and went back to work. $25/bottle though, not a cheap beer.
The issue is that someone in our beer community went into that store and bought a case plus. It sounds like that person may have bought them out. That kept a fair number of people – who couldn’t just leave work as I did – from being able to get any. That’s wrong. While CBWS admits they should have allocated it and have shared their apologies, this isn’t just on them. It’s on us. We’ve created this and we need to stop it. When we buy a limited beer we need to think about those that come after us as we should hope they’d be thinking about us should they get there first. No one needs a case of CBS sitting in their cellar. Further, if you’re one of those people that buys beer and marks it up to sell it online – you are what’s wrong with craft beer today. No one should be profiting on someone else’s hard work – especially in beer. It’s not only illegal but just morally it’s wrong. Stop it.
While CBS is a great beer and very enjoyable the best part of craft beer is sharing it with others – whether it is splitting a bottle or ensuring that someone gets a bottle of that beer they’ve heard about and always wanted to try. Part of that is moderating our purchases.
The next time a highly sought after beer hits the shelf, whether it’s allocated or not, think about that craft beer fan that couldn’t break away from their desk and share a little.
*This post is in no way meant to call out Cedar Bluff Wine and Spirits. CBWS is a fine establishment and they do an awesome job ensuring we have great beer to choose from. Their draft wall always has a great selection and their team is always knowledgeable and helpful. If these guys aren’t on your radar, I’d suggest you check them out.