To Buy (and Mark-Up) Craft Beer

by Nick on April 19, 2011

As I previously wrote about, the Portsmouth Brewery (Portsmouth, N.H.) recently held their annual “Kate Day” where they unveiled their 2011 offering of Kate the Great Russian Imperial Stout. In addition to pouring this once a year brew in their brew house, the Portsmouth Brewery also sold 10,000 scratch tickets for $2 each. Nine hundred tickets were deemed “winners” and gave the bearer the opportunity to purchase a bottle for $15 on Kate Day, or within a few weeks after (bottles were held for winning ticket holders). Benefiting from the $20,000 raised by the tickets were Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire and the Center for Wildlife in Maine. Each charity received an even split of the proceeds.

It’s important to note that you couldn’t just go to your local craft beer store and buy this beer. It was not made available for distribution (unlike other hard to find, rare offerings such as Samuel Adams Utopias where a bottle, maybe two, are available to some stores across the country).

Image courtesy of beergeekandfoodie.blog-city.com

So far, so good. But then Monday, Portsmouth Brewery sent out this quick  post on their facebook page:

$150??? Seriously?

Somebody had placed an eBay bid on this elusive bottle with a starting bid of $150.00 with $15 for shipping. Really? Really. Somebody would honestly want to go through all the trouble to obtain a bottle of this great tasting brew just to mark it up 10-fold (and maybe more after auction) for an obvious profit?

A few (personal) notes on this:

* I understand it’s not my bottle of Kate the Great and folks are allowed to do with their property as they will. With that said, I live by the code that “beer people are good people.” I would rather see the owner look to trade for another hard to find brew with another craft beer fan.

* When you look to auction something, you usually start at something a little lower and let the market dictate the price. Again, not my call so I’ll let the seller set a price as they see fit (like they really care what I think anyways).

The Portsmouth Brewery is located in Portsmouth, N.H.

* I’ve sampled Kate the Great in the past, so I’m not bitter that the only way I’ll ever get it is by paying $150-plus (unless I get lucky with a winning ticket). But again I go back to the code of “beer people are good people” and I’d like to think that my friends outside of the Portsmouth area could get a chance to taste this award winning brew outside of paying an elaborate amount.

So what’s your take on buying rare craft beer to turn it around and sell for a profit? Does it go against the unspoken bond between craft beer lovers, or is it simply selling a rare commodity similar to baseball cards and other collectibles? Please leave your comments below!

UPDATE: Some feedback I recieved via Twitter on Tuesday, April 19th

@Hoptopia: I can’t lie, I have done before.

@DrinkCraftBeer: (Jeff): Fair game. Don’t like it & won’t buy, but you want to spend your $ & time to get bottles, do w/ them as you want. Free market. (Jeff)

I wouldn’t spend $150 on any bottle of beer, but don’t begrudge those willing to. #Craftbeer = luxury, so it’s supply&demand (Jeff)

@DrinkCraftBeer: (Devon) I’m pro free market, people can do as they wish. That said I wouldn’t pay that nor would I sell for profit #badbeerkarma (Devon)

@commercetigers: ok 2 profit on hard 2 get item like concert tix 4 instance. The market will say if it is ok or not. Just my thoughts. 150 steep tho

Nick is a fun-loving beer enthusiast from all around New England. Connect with him on Twitter and Untappd.

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