Monday, 5 April 2010

My Response to E-Bay Craft Beer Auctions' Complaints

I find the Ebay situation with alcohol rather frustrating. These people buy the small limited amount of beer at a local site then sell these bottles on at astronomical prices for a single unit.

They may use a gimmic such as free shipping but when the crate costs US $400 for this luxury then the gross profit is substantial. For instance Westy auction recently at this price. The crate costs 70Euros and a case to send costs E120 at least. So that's a MASSIVE profit.

If brewers want to make limited beers or different styles to test the market then it's their prerogative to do so. The brewer has to have a sustainable business. They have to sell beer at a certain amount to cover their costs. They have to function for the future and put money away for future investments.

If beer is all $3 yet the cost to make it is $5 then the brewery is making no money and will soon cease to function. It will become bankrupt. People are more concerned with saving some cash then ensuring their favourite brewery is making enough money to self sustain themselves. It is a free-market economy and ebay has its issues.

The prices that these beers go for are also at an extreme which is rediculas. The brewers don't make that money. The greed of the invididuals do. The reason why Struise is doing this auction is to reduce this affect.

The brewers at Struise are trying to ensure that the craft beer people like us are not being ripped off by Ebay sellers. The trick is very good. The Struise people can only release a certain amount of the beer at a certain time. They are doing this as a test.

It is rather sad that the Ebay situation which they are trying to help with has got out of hand. Carlo and Urbain are lovely people. I want to help them sustain their business and if people fail to see that ebay doesn't sustain their business and you can buy from them to help the Vleteren brewers' (plus whomever else) incomes then that is fantastic.

Remember that if a £10 beer has £2 profit margin and tastes amazing would you rather pay that out then pay £3 on a bland tasteless other alternative with a much higher gross profit? This situation will occur if people don't rise to paying a premium for their beer. We can't have brewers going out of business. We have lost too many great lambic brewers over the years. Education for good beer and sustainabily is vital for the craft world.

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