Saturday, December 10, 2011

How Much Is Too Much?

My interest in craft beer started around 8 years ago upon being lucky enough to live within 20 minutes of Triumph of New Hope and River Horse in Lambertville. Back then, six packs were selling for around $7-$9. And $9 was For the high ABV beers like River Horse's Triple Horse. But with the emergence of interest in craft beer by more people, inflation, and other factors like crop shortages (which we'll be seeing more and more of in the near future) prices seem to be going up and up faster and faster.

For some of us, beer is like gasoline. It's almost necessary in order to get through a tough week comfortably. Sure, we can all go through the week without a beer or driving our car to work, but do we really want to have to ride our bike to work and then not enjoy a pint when we come home? No. That's why we're all beer heads and married to oil. But when does the cost of a bottle of beer become outrageous? I'm starting to find my limit.

My weekly trip to the liquor stores along my commute have seen bottles pop up on the shelf asking $11, then $15, then $17, $20, and just this past Friday $49! Seems like quite a jump. Bombers, the attractive 750ml bottles we're all now accustomed to seeing are where the largest price jumps have been taking place in my eyes. Is there really that much of a difference between a $6.99 bottle and a $49.99 bottle? And then how much better can it really get jumping all the way to $200 for Sam Adams Utopias? Then there is the switch from standard 6 packs to the equally priced or even more expensive 4 packs. Seems like we are all paying more and more for the same amount or even less beer! What's going on here?

My opinion, the increase is due to 25% inflation and growing conditions on farms, another 25% prices of transportation and energy required to produce the beer (oil/fossil fuels), 30% supply and demand(see Dogfish Head), 15% time spent on aging some of these more expensive beers, and 5% greed. I think brewers and brewery employees are good people but greed is a basic human instinct so we are all capable of it. Can we make it stop? Probably not. But there is a way to possibly control it. Start brewing your own beer.

So, how much is too much for you? So far for me it's $23.01.

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