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Hill Farmstead getting rid of growler fills for Ephrahim

Discussion in 'Beer Trading Talk & Help' started by standardcherry, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. This was just posted on their FB page:

    "We will brew Ephraim again in the Fall. However, there will be no growler fills. We are 90% certain that this will be Draft only. Just like Pliny the Younger. Just like Pat and the good folks at Alpine. Yes local folks, eBay and beer trading has forever ruined your opportunity to take home a growler of our Imperial IPA..."

    Thoughts? I think it's sad, without beer trading many people wouldn't have been able to try their delicious brews. They seem to take this stuff pretty seriously.
    stxSS07 likes this.
  2. Crawfordesquire

    Crawfordesquire Savant (355) California Dec 20, 2011 Verified

    Taking their ball and going home.
  3. There is a comment war going on in their FB page right now and I've come to agree with their decision. People buy tons of growlers for trading and get them shipped out when the beer isn't at its best anymore. They have no problem with trading their bottled stuff, just trading the stuff that is supposed to be consumed really fresh.
    silentjay and grassrootsVT like this.
  4. NJOssie

    NJOssie Savant (275) New Jersey Feb 28, 2012

    more reason why the "I don't care what people do with their beer" attitude backfires. The ebayers can really put a dent in trading for all of us who just want to taste good beer and share with others.

    the trading hasn't been what has fired them up though. It's been the Ebay sales.
    Pahn likes this.
  5. landhoney

    landhoney Savant (345) Florida Apr 19, 2007 Verified

    My question is are the local folks really getting short-changed by the people trading/ebaying the beer? I realize that many/most of them are not on here, and just drink the beer, but are the locals really upset at not being able to get beer they want because of people trading HF stuff?

    I realize that they'd all possibly want two Ann's for instance (or any other limited beer) instead of one, say if it was on premises only and no one could trade it, but as things stand now everyone that wants one locally should be able to get one correct (this is just how I have heard the releases going down)?

    This is really just intended to see what locals think of the situation as far as being able to get the HF beer they want, just curious. :)
  6. Rymar9

    Rymar9 Savant (350) South Carolina Jan 24, 2011 Verified

    Beer trading has ruined it? How? Why just ephraim and not the other DIPA's like Abner, citra, galaxy? Hill farmstead is one of my absolute favorite breweries, but if anything has ruined beer trading it's their bottle releases of things like Ann, where only 160 bottles are released and people have to trade an arm an a leg for 1 bottle of beer
    Lordkrystic, Kotie, kaips1 and 4 others like this.
  7. RochesterAaron

    RochesterAaron Savant (370) New York May 24, 2007 Verified

    Shaun is very, very particular about his IPAs. When I was there he made one of his assistant brewers cover a glass of beer with his shirt while he walked around the outside of the building so it wouldn't get sunstruck. I've traded 2 growlers of HF IPAs (double citra & nor) and I ended up sending to the closest offer rather than the best offer. When you make an amazing product like he does you get to set the rules that everyone plays by.
  8. hopsbreath

    hopsbreath Savant (485) Oregon Aug 28, 2009

    I have no problem with this. The local's who live near to HF now have easier access to the beer without lines of people waiting for growler fills. The beer is consumed fresh as the brewer wants it to be and poor reviews from improperly stored/handled Ephraim should be less prevalent. Shaun still sells his beer and still makes money without as big of a headache. Sounds to me like a guy trying to make life easier on himself and I can't blame him.
    grassrootsVT likes this.
  9. Crawfordesquire

    Crawfordesquire Savant (355) California Dec 20, 2011 Verified

    In all serousness, I agree, their business, their rules. However, I find this to be arbitrary in a way, and somewhat confusing- is the issue beer trading in it of itself, or the lack of freshness that results from extended, late trading resulting in drinking past the freshness point?
    I assume it is the latter. So then why offer any d/ipa as a growler fill if that is the issue?
  10. Here's what they responded:
    "Why Ephraim? Because it needs to be enjoyed fresh. It's a fresh filled growler. People are still hoarding and sampling growlers from October 2011. And, frankly, beer traders are as much to blame for this as ebay. They purchase dozens of growlers - sit on them for weeks until the most attractive offer comes along - and then send them onward to someone who, likewise, will sit on the growler until their six friends have time in their schedule to join them for a tasting."
    black13, Duff27 and claaark13 like this.
  11. NJOssie

    NJOssie Savant (275) New Jersey Feb 28, 2012

    from their past tweets and posts it's almost evident the big issue has been Ebay sellers in my humble opinion.
  12. Beerness

    Beerness Savant (285) North Carolina Mar 3, 2010 Verified

    This seriously makes me wanna cry. Ephraim is one of my very favorite DIPAs. (especially the earlier batch). Can't hate on Shaun for this though....his decision makes sense. I noted that he attached 'cellaring/hoarding' to what he didn't like about trading fresh growlers. Perhaps this will just fast track my plans to make a Vermont roadtrip.

    And anyone that hoards/cellars growlers of fresh IPAs should be shot.....in the groin.....3 times.
    sisuspeed, grassrootsVT and jrnyc like this.
  13. joshrosborne

    joshrosborne Savant (300) Michigan Jun 14, 2010

    Good. More power to them. It's their beer and they should put those restrictions on them if they feel like it.

    What I gathered from the Facebook comments out there is that there are a lot of folks out there who feel entitled to certain beers.
  14. mrbubbler

    mrbubbler Savant (395) California Jun 16, 2008

    I wonder if this will hurt the sales of ephraim. I would bet a lot of customers make the long trek only because they can leave with growlers for trade and for personal consumption.
  15. I doubt it. I think the logical thing to do would be to serve it at other locations instead of just at the brewery. Then locals would be able to enjoy more of it (and the drive for me to try it would be 1.5 hours instead of 3+ :D).
  16. Rymar9

    Rymar9 Savant (350) South Carolina Jan 24, 2011 Verified

    Maybe Shaun should try bottling Ephraim? I mean Sean Lawson bottles Double Sunshine and it seems to work out just fine for him, one of my favorite beers period.
  17. NJOssie

    NJOssie Savant (275) New Jersey Feb 28, 2012

    this is likely the case... they may send to the accounts they sell to and make sure they don't sell growlers.

    They specifically said like PTY and we know those sales aren't hurting.
  18. I agree, only DIPA that I've liked better than Heady so far. I doubt Shaun would bottle any of the IPAs, from what I've heard he's really fussy about the way people handle his beer.
    HopsHopenstein likes this.
  19. FosterJM

    FosterJM Champion (870) California Nov 16, 2009 Verified

    Boy do I feel slighted. I just emailed HF yesterday and this was the reply I got.

    Hi James

    No concrete plans for Ephraim, Abner will be on tap again in 2 or 3 weeks...

    Oh well, win some/lose some.

  20. NJOssie

    NJOssie Savant (275) New Jersey Feb 28, 2012

    still supply and demand... he could easily send to his NYC and Philly accounts and it will be all sold. I just don't think the growler policy will prevent such great beer from selling.
  21. Mag00n

    Mag00n Savant (475) New York Nov 21, 2008

    His constant complaining about ebaying comes off as whiney to me. Its not like a special circumstance, any popular and limited release from any brewery ends up there in some quantity.
    Lordkrystic and maximum12 like this.
  22. Good choice. I am in favor of all beers, especially IPA's, that wind up getting valued way beyond their retail price, going to a draft only, no growler system.
  23. Well to be fair, I don't think the plans are concrete haha, it just says "in the fall".
  24. Auror

    Auror Advocate (695) Massachusetts Jan 1, 2010 Verified

    I know this has been brought up ad nauseum before, but I can't wrap my head around how Ebay hurts his business. In any way. The beer has been bought, so he's not losing any money. So what is being affected? His brand? The odds of someone buying the beer on Ebay who could conceivably get to the brewery to buy other beers from Hill Farmstead approaches 0. So let's say someone buys a growler off Ebay for a ransom price, say $80. And it's not fresh. It tastes bad. Let's assume the fictional buyer is an idiot, and he blames Hill Farmstead for the problem and thinks the beer sucks. He still can't buy the beer legitimately! Shaun still doesn't lose any potential money! Let's say the buyer goes online and badmouths the beer and the brewery and the brand (again, he is an idiot). There are two types of people who will read it: people who can't get the beer anyways, and people who can. Those who can will undoubtedly have tried it fresh and can judge for themselves, those who can't get it will have no way to buy it and it won't matter what they believe. Again, Shaun does not lose any money. The only thing I can think of is that he can't brew that much of it and wants the surrounding area to get more. That's all fine and dandy, but limiting to 1 growler fill per person probably accomplishes the same thing without removing the possibility of someone making a day trip up there and taking some home with them. I still haven't been up there to get a growler, so I don't feel any entitlement. I'm just perplexed.
    thome50 likes this.
  25. NJOssie

    NJOssie Savant (275) New Jersey Feb 28, 2012

    his real customers lose out... he works hard for what he produces and has pride in it and others buying it simply to profit from it is not what he wants or intends with his product.

    is it so bad to have that type of pride in your product? it's what makes his fresh beers so amazing to begin with.
  26. Auror

    Auror Advocate (695) Massachusetts Jan 1, 2010 Verified

    What if smoeone likes drinking old IPA's?
  27. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) California Jan 27, 2012

    arniepnminne and Levitation like this.
  28. Russian River sure is a trend setter.

    Hundreds of dipa's made in Pliny's mold. Now people are jumping on the draft only train.

    Like they say, lead, follow or get out of the way.
  29. NJOssie

    NJOssie Savant (275) New Jersey Feb 28, 2012

    I saw that... but it all has sprung from Ebay... if you follow their accounts on Twitter and FB it has been tugging at them for a while now.

    I agree that traders who are irresponsible w/ the beer or are hoarding is bad for the beer as well though.

    Again, I don't blame HF at all.
    grassrootsVT likes this.
  30. phingdong

    phingdong Advocate (525) New Hampshire Aug 24, 2010 Verified

    I'm not sure I want to live in that world. Besides, there's plenty of old ones all over store shelves to satisfy such a craving...
    youbrewidrink likes this.
  31. I agree...a bad review from from some knucklehead isn't going to sway the legions of HF fans making trips to buy Shaun out. It seems to me, however, like it's less of an issue of business and more of an issue of his sensibilities as a craftsman. Sort of like a chef at an incredible steakhouse cringing when a patron asks for ketchup...he's made his money, but it still stings a bit. A buddy of mine who likes good beer but is not geeky by any means was over at the house hanging out recently. I was pouring him a bottle of my homebrew...he promptly popped a grape jolly rancher in his mouth before taking the glass. Again, cringe. The beer was for him and it did me no harm for him to not experience my beer as I intended it, so I didn't say anything, but it wasn't a nice feeling to see something I'd labored over and put a great deal of thought and effort into partaken of in such a way.

    Edit: Great avatar, by the way. "It's Troy and Abed in the mooorning..."
    litheum94, grassrootsVT and OsNJCB like this.
  32. franklinn

    franklinn Savant (440) Vermont May 29, 2012

    Fwiw, when I was up there yesterday we were talking about a guy down in Boston who sold his whole allotment of James(i think?) and mimosa on ebay for ~200 a bottle. Unlikely that the guy even drank any.

    Say what you want about the HF crew, Shaun isn't always the most popular character, but they put in work and are quality freaks. That hard work pays off.
    rondufresne, yamar68 and OsNJCB like this.
  33. FishPondManager

    FishPondManager Advocate (520) Colorado Feb 28, 2012 Verified

    I agree with this. From what minuscule knowledge I have, it would be the profiteering aspect of eBay or trading that irks him. Its readily apparent from their website and communications that they take a lot of pride in the product and they want their product enjoyed locally and/or as fresh as possible. Nothing wrong with that. Their growler fills are done very well, but sitting on one is idiotic. I don't even know how any craft beer enthusiast could sit on a HF growler that long. The nectar that pours forth from those beautiful growlers is second to none, IMO. I stood around my sink filled with an ice bath, dancing giddily back and forth like a 5 year old who has to pee, the few times I was able to receive a 750mL growler.

    Sounds like a few bad apples ruining it for those who take almost as much pride sending fesh HF to their trading partners as HF does making and filling the growlers.
    DrinkingIPA, grassrootsVT and OsNJCB like this.
  34. immobilisme

    immobilisme Savant (410) Illinois Nov 8, 2005

    I am guessing that Shaun hopes to have his tap room up and running by the time Ephraim is released. This way, people can order glasses of their beer on tap instead of just the samples they are allowed at this point.

    Like people said, Hill Farmstead will never bottle their pales. Every brewer has the right to do what they do. I will always respect a brewer who goes too far in protecting the quality of their beer than a brewer who does not go far enough.

    Anyone who sits on a growler of DIPA or any hoppy beer should have their hoppy beer growler rights revoked.
    grassrootsVT and franklinn like this.
  35. Auror

    Auror Advocate (695) Massachusetts Jan 1, 2010 Verified

    I guess I just don't like that he's changing a policy that genuinely upsets some customers because of something that doesn't affect his business at all. He's entitled to it, but it rubs me the wrong way.
  36. NJOssie

    NJOssie Savant (275) New Jersey Feb 28, 2012

    you're thinking "business"... he's thinking his beer... I can respect that he values that more than just the "bottom line"
    bwmichaud, grassrootsVT, Pahn and 2 others like this.
  37. Auror

    Auror Advocate (695) Massachusetts Jan 1, 2010 Verified

    I'm passionate about beer, but I don't know what this means. He wants his beer to be consumed under ideal conditions? For what end? So that people will like it more than they might under less than ideal conditions?

    I understand creating circumstances for a consumer to be pleased by a product, but more often than not I think someone who travels to the farmstead and gets a growler to take home with them (which will start out utterly fresh) can do a better job of that than a local bar can.
  38. NJOssie

    NJOssie Savant (275) New Jersey Feb 28, 2012

    again... you are talking customers and product... he's thinking his beer and his craft and what he intends of it... he asks things of bars he sells to, such as a date at which it has to be tapped...

    think of it as his art not his "product"...
    grassrootsVT and franklinn like this.
  39. KevSal

    KevSal Advocate (700) California Oct 17, 2010 Verified

    i can understand ebay, but why beer trading?
  40. Mag00n

    Mag00n Savant (475) New York Nov 21, 2008

    Hes basically stomping his feet and walking in circles.