One of the most-interesting beer pieces this year: A Shady Black Market Has Emerged For Hard-To-Find Craft Beers.
The gist? A combination of shipping costs and oppressive alcohol restrictions make high-quality beer unavailable, so people are buying prized beer through black-market channels, like eBay.
It’s understandable and the practice–black marketing–has a revered history, especially in America.
But here’s something from the article I can’t understand, unless it’s just an example of another American tradition: self-righteous busy-body-ness.
Yet at least hundreds of posts daily last year on eBay offered hard-to-get beers at astronomical prices, said Natalie Cilurzo, co-owner and president of Russian River Brewing, in Santa Rosa, Calif. She spotted the brewery’s flagship Pliny the Elder, which sells for $5 a bottle, going for between $15 and $50, and its discontinued Toronado anniversary beer, which sold for about $25 at the brewery, being auctioned for about $700 last year.
“It was out of control,” she said. “People were running liquor stores on eBay without any accountability.”
She cited the steps that her company took that black market sellers are skipping: acquiring liquor and business licenses, paying sales, property and other taxes and selling responsibly. She pointed out the dangers of selling to minors online or the questions of who would be responsible if a drunk driver who’d bought beer sold illegally online killed someone.
She decided she had to stand up for the breweries.
“Stand up for the breweries”? People are buying their beer, then selling it without incurring the overhead expenses that ordinary outlets charge, but assessing such an obscene black-market surcharge that only a moron would pay the black market price and wait three days for it to arrive, when he could just walk down to the corner party store and buy it for half the price.
And it’s the breweries that are getting screwed?
I might be missing something, but the woman’s position strikes me as ludicrous and simply an example of someone who sees conduct he doesn’t like and decides to do something about it, even though it doesn’t adversely affect him.
It’s good old American Puritanism. As old as Sam Adams and smuggling. It’s just ironic to see it rearing its head this way.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList