The estimable Washington Post has shone its investigative light on the sordid secondary market for spooge beer. Read the whole thing here. Woodward and Bernstein would be proud.
Of course, readers of my own estimable (?) e-organ would have picked up on this dark and unseemly activity in posts past. The Post's article is interesting in including views from such tickerific brewers as Lost Abbey, The Bruery and Stone. Greg Koch offers an interesting view, which I tend to agree with, that it isn't necessarily drinkability that drives this market, it's rarity. Hence RRBC's Framboise For The Cure going at $400 a bottle, and not a penny of that profit finding its way to the charity intended to benefit from its sale. Yet, if RRBC had offered it at double its original $12 price, they'd have been slaughtered by the same tickers for hyping the price.
I've been monstered for criticising the beer fanboy websites which offer trading forums driving some of this secondary market. Many of their members believe that it would all stop if these brewers bucked their ideas up and geared up to meet all demand. It doesn't seem to occur to them that not all brewers are in it for reasons other than global market domination. They simply can't accept they might miss a beer, and move on. I've been there and, trust me, it's not a happy place.
It will be interesting to see how ebay responds to this. Will they stop sales of 'collectible containers' (wink wink)? Police the listings looking for newly-released beers? I imagine their present ambivalence is partly driven by the easy money they rake off from this spooge. I expect the traders will find other ways to knock their spooge out - I believe Craigslist is used for this market, including to recruit mules for people who can't get to launch events. I'll be watching the reaction to this with interest...
(By the way, anybody interested in a 2005 Dark Lord?)