cratez wrote:Grabbed some cans of Stone Go To IPA last night, as it is now showing stock at multiple stores in T.O. Happy to report that, despite being exactly two months old (canning date of Sep. 23), it is drinking phenomenal right now. Probably the most tangerine forward Session IPA I've ever had, with a massive hop bouquet that puts many regular-strength IPAs to shame. Well worth buying, at least for now.
I also picked up a pair of Go To cans earlier this week and was very happy with the purchase. Not stale at all, despite the fairly old canning date; I think I liked it more than their regular IPA.
CoolB wrote:Is this the beginning of market saturation? Too many choices, brewers selling less as more and other options become available. Mix that with rising hop costs and it sounds like saturation is beginning.
It's definitely getting there. You can only have so many pale ales, ISAs and "craft lagered ales" on the shelves before consumers eventually start to recognise the difference between the top tier products and the middling stuff - or stop trying new stuff entirely and stick with known brands that they already like. This is especially true when the price difference between the "good" and "middling" tiers is basically negligible. I'm really not very picky about IPAs, e.g. I still enjoy established brands such as Smashbomb and Mad Tom and will get them occasionally... but if they're sitting next to near-identically priced cans of Karma Citra or Headstock then I'm always going to purchase the latter two, because they are objectively superior products IMO.
Not everyone's beer is worth three (or six) dollars a tallboy - and even though I understand that it may very well need
to be priced there in order for any real profit to be earned, that doesn't change the fact that lots of people just aren't willing to pay that much for middle-of-the-pack beer on a regular basis. There are plenty of mediocre-to-OK ON-brewed products out there that I wouldn't pay $3.25/473 mL for (at least, repeatedly - I'm a ticker so I'm guaranteed to pick up at least 1). For $5-6 a can, it better be at least
as good as the stuff that I can get in the States, if not better. I am willing to pay for top quality beer, but only if it's actually
top quality, not just "pretty good by local standards".
If your break-even point is forcing you to price your mediocre product as if it were a premium one, and your premium products as if they're super-premium, well then I wish you luck. It's not impossible to be successful with this strategy (see: Beau's and their $26 four-packs), but as the marketplace becomes more crowded and ingredient prices rise, more and more breweries are going to be forced into using this business model just to stay afloat. Everyone's individual slice of that profit pie is going to get thinner and thinner; it's inevitable that some are going to get squeezed out.