IPAs in Ontario

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Lyle
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Postby Lyle » Mon Jul 30, 2001 3:32 pm

...thought all you hop-fiends might want to know...

I just got word from Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head that he will be bringing his 60-Minute IPA to the Buffalo Brewfest. For those of you who aren't familiar with this brew, he rigged one of those old-fashioned vibrating tin football games to continuously add hops throughout the entire 60-minute boil.
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Postby Josh Oakes » Mon Jul 30, 2001 11:17 pm

I've got a bottle of that 60Minute IPA with my name on it just waiting for me already. My source says it is one huge hop monster with a nose even bigger than Weyerbacher Hops Infusion. Suffice to say I'm looking forward to it.
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Postby Cass » Tue Jul 31, 2001 9:26 am

Hi Lyle - welcome to the forum! The 60-minute IPA sounds great - anxiously anticipating it and many many others.

Esprit - welcome as well! Thanks for the update regarding Pike and the heads up on the Pale Ale release. It's such a shame that we have to wait until next summer for Brutal Bitter and the others. Looks like there will be more Buffalo trips (or at least to Smokeless Joe if/when he gets it) over the next 10 months or so...

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Cass on 2001-07-31 10:47 ]</font>
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Postby esprit » Tue Jul 31, 2001 10:30 am

Do the math guys...shipping from Seattle to Vancouver costs just a tad less than shipping from Seattle to Toronto so you can expect much lower prices in B.C.. In addition to substantial freight charges, the LCBO and Ontario governments then tax and mark-up those freight charges just as they do the beer so we're looking at something in the range of $75.00 per case for any Pike product, that is if we can convince Pike to ship us some. Let me know if anyone's interested and the quantities you'd be interested in and if there's sufficient interest, we'll explore it....Peter
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Postby Cass » Tue Jul 31, 2001 12:58 pm

I've spent $75 on a case of beer before - in Buffalo. If anyone is willing to spend this amount on beer, I would suggest doing the same. In Buffalo you'll be able to get the beer quicker, and you can get a selection instead of a single brew.
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Postby Jon Walker » Tue Jul 31, 2001 3:11 pm

While I appreciate Peter at Esprit even considering the possibility of doing this and in taking part in this thread, $75 a case is simply out of reach.

I don't work in the field of alcohol importing so I can't dispute the taxes and shipping charges justification Peter has presented for the $75 price tag. I do however find it odd that, while it is undoubtedly cheaper to ship beer from Seattle to Vancouver as opposed to Toronto, other beers from the U.S. west coast are finding their way into the LCBO at a much more reasonable price point. Further, they are finding their way here at a price point similar to that of the BC Liquor Store prices despite the difference in shipping distance. Anchor Steam prices here in Toronto at $11.25 a six pack, or $1.88 a bottle, which is considerably less than the $3.13 a bottle price Peter suggested for Pike IPA. That same Anchor 6 pack, although no longer offered in BC, used to be sold at around the same price point of $12 per 6 at the BC Liquor Store.

I'm sure there may be other factors I'm unaware of but the bottom line is that if $75 a case is the best price possible then I doubt that, despite the quality of the beer, many people will be interested in lining up an order. It also makes me ponder why Esprit would want to be the local importer of a beer that runs such a steep unit cost. I can't see any pubs, or the LCBO for that matter, wanting to touch a beer that with their "for profit" markup would push the price to $4.00-$6.00 per 355ml bottle.

Thanks again Peter for even offering to devote time to this endevour. I LOVE Pike IPA, as Cass can attest, but at that cost I think I'll spend my money at Premier Gourmet in Buffalo instead.

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Jon Walker on 2001-07-31 16:20 ]</font>
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Postby Josh Oakes » Tue Jul 31, 2001 5:55 pm

Some of the factors in beer pricing between here and BC: one is that beer taxes and levies are higher in BC. You can notice this when you bring it across the border in Ontario vs. in BC. Here there is a duopoly, so you do not pay an LCBO markup whereas in BC you must pay the BCLDB markup (the beer & wines do this as well, hence their outrageous cost).

Also, the LCBO buys in enormous quantity that the BCLDB cannot match. This lowers the cost. Example - you will not find a bottle of Rochefort in the US for less than $8US. Here the LCBO sells it for $2.80. I had to buy a case for some Americans who couldn't believe it.

So the LCBO bulk buying discount will apply for a purchase of Anchor Steam, but not for a couple of cases of Pike IPA. Shipping will cost more for a Seattle brew anyway, as stated. The point is, there are a lot of differences, and the comparison ends up being apples & oranges.

Regardless, any IPA that people wanted to bring in, I would look at Middle Ages or Victory or something a little closer to T.O. Or better yet, Chaudron Cobra from Quebec, to avoid paying US$.
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Postby esprit » Tue Jul 31, 2001 9:05 pm

Are all of you guys unemployed or something? How anyone can think that a $3.00 bottle of beer is out of reach financially is beyond me. Many of the products we import come in around this price and higher. If $3.00 is too rich for your blood then I must assume that most of you have never tasted a Trappist or a Duvel or a Rogue in Ontario. And as to going to Buffalo, Cass, your section on Premier Gourmet shows the kind of pricing you end up with buying in Buffalo. A 750ml bottle of New Glarus which I could offer at about $8.00 comes in at $17.87 plus the cost of gas to drive to Buffalo not to mention the time to get there and back....what a deal!!!!
Josh, you mention "other beers from the west coast" but in fact only Anchor from the U.S. west coast is available in Ontario so there is very little basis for comparison. I am very familiar with Anchor and know Fritz Maytag and also have a passing knowledge of their pricing. They are doing something quite funny in Canada and I can only assume that it is for marketing reasons. There is no way Anchor should be selling at these low prices here so you should all be happy that Anchor is a bargain here but that has no bearing on real pricing out there. The LCBO did carry the PIKE PALE ALE several years ago and the price then was $3.95 for a 650ml and today would be around $4.95. If I were bringing the Pike IPA to the LCBO today and they were going to buy several hundred cases we could probably get the price down to about $2.50 for a 355ml bottle but you must understand that with some volume and retail distribution I can afford to make only $2.00 a case in commission (that's the truth!!!)but if anyone wants me to bring in 5 or 10 cases I'm not going to do it for $10 or $20 dollars as the paperwork and effort is simply not worth it. For such orders I have to charge a reasonable amount for my time and effort which results in price in the range quoted.
Jon, you also wonder why I would want to represent a beer that is so expensive and why the LCBO would buy it and you mention pushing the price up to $4-6 per bottle. The price I am quoting includes the LCBO markup and all taxes so I think you misunderstand. I sell products like Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, Rogue, Mort Subite,Samuel Smith and many othersand they rrtail for comparable prices so I can only assume that you either don't shop at the LCBO or that you only buy domestic micros because these prices are not out of line. As for spending your money at Premier, good luck bringing back a Pike IPA for less than $3.00...it ain't gonna happen!
In any case, there is no money in this for me and I was only offering to do a service for interested parties. I get calls every week from people in Quebec who would gladly pay $100 per case for some of our products. In fact, this past weekend I had several cases of beer in my car which were picked up by Quebecers who had ordered from me and met me at the Capital City Beer Fest.
Josh, in regards to your comments about Rochefort, we sell it to the LCBO and we have recently sold it to the BCLDB. The base price to both liquor boards is the same. The LCBO is not buying "enormous" quantities so they are not getting any price break. The fact is that the LCBO system is efficient to the extent that we have few costs associated with doing business in small quantities and there are not as many layers of distribution as there are in the U.S. so the prices are very reasonable. B.C. prices will be quite a bit higher because we must pay the additional freight from Belgium (and it's substantial) and we must also warehouse the product in Vancouver, someting which the LCBO does free of charge. I don't understand your comment about their not being an LCBO markup because of a duopoly. Every bottle of beer sold in the LCBO or the Beer Store contains and LCBO markup.
The bottom line is that we are able to offer some great products at what are great prices to anyone who is interested and prepared to pay a reasonable amount of money for those products.
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Postby Cass » Wed Aug 01, 2001 9:01 am

Peter,

Thank you for your generous offer to investigate the possibility of bringing in Pike IPA. I'm sure we all appreciate it.

Personally I do not believe $3 per bottle of beer is unreasonable (as you have noted Peter, I willingly pay $17+ for NG Belgian Red).

I believe this might be a case of "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence". I enjoy trying different beers for their own sake. For this, the LCBO/Beer Store does not satisfy. I've run out of new things to try here. That's why I go to Buffalo and have to pay a premium to try new things (US$, high prices and Ontario taxes).

However, I also see that in Ontario beer is VERY competitively priced, especially when compared to New York state. The beer here is cheap. Especially foreign (non-US & Canada beers - Boon $5 CDN here or $5 US in Buffalo). Even American beers cost about the same here (Rogue Irish: $5.85 per bottle in Ontario; $3.95 US in Buffalo)

And our Belgian Trappist stock is the envy of many in Quebec, where it is not sold. To bring a case of Westmalle to Montreal would make me many friends amongst the beer community.

Peter, I think we all realize that you contribute a great deal to the Ontario beer scene. Imagine the selection here without your effort? I shudder to think. As for Pike, I'm just not interested in a full case. However, if Rogue becomes available for private order, you can count on me to make it worth your time!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Cass on 2001-08-01 10:43 ]</font>
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Postby Cass » Wed Aug 01, 2001 9:03 am

Josh, can you clarify your point of Ontario being a duopoly? Alcohol in this province is governed by one body: the government (AGCO). There are however, two main distribution and retail channels for alcohol. With both the LCBO or Beer Store, the goverment sets the most of the rules and monetarily benefits.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Cass on 2001-08-01 10:05 ]</font>
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Postby A » Wed Aug 01, 2001 10:00 am

Peter, just to make sure I'm not dreaming - You can bring in New Glarius Belgium Red's for us?

I think that would be a fantastic offer at any price, and *greatly* appreciated around these parts!
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Postby esprit » Wed Aug 01, 2001 11:58 am

A, "could" is the operative word in regards New Glarus but demand is probably insufficient to justify doing so. We will possibly be bringing in some assorted Rogues for some licensees but our problem is the LCBO lab fee of $130 per product for orders over 5 cases. We may be limited to 5 cases which the licensees will probably take and leave nothing for consumers. If we go over 5 cases you can imagine what the $130 charge does to prices. We then need to go to 30 or 40 cases to keep the price reasonable. We will try to keep members informed of what might be available. Just a reminder that we do have Corsendonk Pater, Floreffe Double, Gouden Carolus and La Choulette Ambree available, none of which are available at the LCBO. To my knowledge, no one in the forum has ever purchased from us.
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Postby A » Wed Aug 01, 2001 12:31 pm

Hi Peter,

Believe me, demand is here :smile: I think at the price of a case of that beer (if a case is 24 bottles), the $130 lab fee is pretty easily absorbed even for less than 10 cases.

I wonder, though: Does that imply a lengthy delay at the LCBO 'lab'?
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Postby Josh Oakes » Wed Aug 01, 2001 1:07 pm

The point about the price of beer in BC & here is simple. When you are coming back from the US, you pay duties and taxes of some sort on your beer. In BC, you also pay the BCLDB markup as well. Here, you do not pay any markup. Thus, if I bring back a dozen beers into Ontario, what I pay at the border is roughly half what I would pay if I were to do the same thing in BC.

Also, I said nothing about other West Coast beers here in Ontario. That was Jon.

The duopoly? Well, there are two places to buy beer. In BC, there is one. The off-sales outlets in BC buy "wholesale" at the same price that the average Joe pays at retail. What I mean is, it isn't like the Beer Store has to buy their supply from the LCBO first, then mark it up and re-sell it.
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Postby Cass » Wed Aug 01, 2001 4:12 pm

Actually, if I understand the LCBO's information correctly, there is in fact a provincial markup of $0.676 per litre for beer. This is listed as the "Border Levy" on my Premier page on the site. The rates differ for wine and spirits.

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