Thursday, August 4, 2011

How Does It Feel, To Be An Aging Stone

How Does It Feel, To Be An Aging Stone

Yesterday Stone announced yet another collaboration beer release and this time it's pretty damn special in their limited edition series. The series line of beers will be part of the Quingenti Millilitre edition. What's that word even mean? Well, it's Latin for 500ml - which is what this series will be the size of the bottles this series is in. They will be barrel aged versions of their brews and collaborations in a much larger bottle size.

The first one is a homebrew collaboration: Ken Schmidt / Maui / Stone Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter aged in Bourbon Barrels. Yes, that's a lot of words to describe a beer but that's all in the name. This is a 2 year barrel aged beer that at the time of its release was pretty pricey to find on the shelf. So it comes as no surprise that this bottle will cost you a good amount to get. There is a catch to it though.

You can only buy it if you win a raffle, which you also need to buy a ticket for. Then after you go through those loop holes, you need to actually pick it up yourself from the Stone Brewery in Escondido. The expected number of bottles produced by this will be around 500 bottles and the cost will be $1 for each raffle ticket and $25 + tax for the 500ml bottle.

The drawing is laid out like this:
  • For every $1 ticket you buy, you will be entered once into the drawing.
  • Buying multiple tickets will increase your statistical odds of winning in the drawing, however you can only win once. Maximum.
So really, it's not very cost efficient to buy more than.. say $5 worth of tickets because it's not really the amount you buy, but the amount of people who buy into it. Say there's 1,000 people buy 10 tickets each. Your odds aren't 1 in 10,000 You're still only going up against the odds of the number of people who purchased a ticket 1,000. Of those only half will get the chance to buy it. So you still have a 50% chance of buying one.

You can purchase a raffle ticket HERE from now till August 16th and all proceeds do go to a good charity. So it seems like such little effort to toss some bucks there way. At worse, you help a good cause with a buck. At best you win the option to purchase a bottle that will be a very hot item to get come the raffle August 18th.

Besides that, I like this ticket system a whole lot more than I do the Alesmith special bottle release method of "Line up at 4am" and pray that people don't save spots for friends in front of you.

I imagine it's also less hassle for the brewery and the customer involved to deal with a raffle system that is basically a donation system. And if you can afford a 500ml bottle for $25, then you can shell out a couple of bucks for a donation system.

The only people that lose out on this is the ones who can't afford to buy the lottery tickets or the pricey beer and aren't within driving distance or plan to vacation between late August and September with a visit to Stone.

Another factor in play is that they are really focusing on making sure it's the beer drinking Stone brewery fans that get their hands on this. Looking over the rules and regulations you'll find this nugget.
19. It is forbidden to sell or auction beer online. If you purchase a Quingenti Millilitre bottle of "Ken Schmidt / Maui / Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter Aged in Bourbon Barrels" and attempt to resell it, we will have the listing removed, and you will be banned from future drawings of Quingenti Millilitre beers.
When they say it's forbidden, that's not Stone being some sort of big brother gestapo door kicking action. It's literally forbidden per ebay rules to sell it online. That doesn't stop people from selling beer and wine on ebay, they just list it as the auction being for the bottle and not for the contents that are inside.

To clarify all this Greg Koch had the following to say:
Perhaps we should have been a little more clear with the above statement. It is reflecting on the fact that it is forbidden by the auction sites themselves. We at Stone simply "strongly disapprove" and will block those that do it from having future access to future releases to the best of our ability.

I do not expect that we can "forbid" anyone from doing what they want. If I thought I could forbid stuff, I'd forbid folks from being jerks. Heh, more power to me on that one!
Which makes sense. I love Stone and I really hate the ebay method of picking up all the bottles of rare stuff you can find from places like The Bruery or Surly's Darkness and then profiteering off it online. And while it is not Stone's place to patrol the after market once you plopped your hard earned $25 + tax and raffle tickets, it's nice to know that they'll do what they can to discourage that sort of action.

On the flip side, this is brewing a lot of heat because of the lack of proxies that could pick up the bottle for you. That is when someone from out of state buys a ticket and is able to send someone local to pick it up for them. In this case, the person who bought the ticket needs to be on the ID that picks it up.

Is it a big problem? Not really. Again, they're shooting for locals to get these. I've seen situations where Barrel Aged Stone Beers have made it in other states and never were anywhere near Escondido or Southern California.

If all that sounds like something you're willing to go through, there's also others in this series to look forward getting.
  • Dogfish Head / Victory / Stone Saison du BUFF Aged in Red Wine Barrels
  • 2010 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Aged in Bourbon Barrels, the release of which will be tied to the forthcoming book, The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance (Ten Speed Press, 10/2011)
  • Green Flash / Pizza Port Carlsbad / Stone Highway 78 Scotch Ale Aged in Scotch Barrels
  • 21st Amendment / Firestone Walker / Stone El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale Aged in American Oak Barrels
Oh man, I really want to try that Highway 78.

1 comment:

Frances said...

I'm totally with you on this one. I only bought $5 worth of tickets yesterday because $5 is a reasonable purchase. I like that they're all about making sure Stone fans get their hands on it-- it sucks to see a bottle going for $100 on ebay when it only costs $20 or so... I'm assuming bottle trades are fair game though. I was bummed about the Speedway release. I wasn't able to make it down early, and even if I had, there were already soooo many people there much earlier. I'm a fan of the lottery for sure.