Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mark your calendars: Bottled beer list revisions complete at long last.

The task of updating the bottled beer menu at NABC/Rich O's/Sportstime began about the same time as Gravity Head (i.e., February 29), and proceeded through so many false starts, revisions and reboots that it seemed as though I'd passed into another dimension, one that led me not back to the familiar confines of the pub, but onto the set of "Heaven's Gate" -- or an episode of "The Twilight Zone."

Here it is, finally, as updated on July 27, 2008: NABC's bottled beer menu .pdf

It should come as no surprise that the prices therein are higher, in some cases substantially so. The new world record holder is Jadwiga Mead from Poland, which doubled in retail price, primarily because the new wholesale price is almost identical to what we used to charge on premise.

That's right: The wholesale price doubled. Jadwiga is one of the best meads I've ever tasted, but 60-odd dollars is a lot of money.

To be perfectly frank, even an eternal optimist like me is beginning to question whether the beer market will support hikes like these. In devising a new and streamlined system of mark-ups (another rreason why this took so long), our percentage actually has been lowered in roughly 40% of the offerings. At the same time, the portfolios of B. United International and Shelton Brothers, suppliers of the majority of worthwhile imports, probably increased in cost at least 30% across the board.

Whether these increases come from importer or wholesaler is irrelevant. Will consumers still pay? We'll find out.

Another factor that has muddled my thought process is that with the arrival of American 1/6 barrel draft import kegs, the price of draft beer per ounce now occasionally exceeds that of the same beer in the bottle. That's unprecedented, and it skews everything. Would I pay more for ten ounces of Chimay Tripel on draft than for the bottled version, which I personally regard as good or better than the ale in kegs?

Stay tuned. Surreal is just beginning. Thanks to Colleen, Phil and John for their assistance in this effort.

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