Monthly Beer Club – Beer 52.com
One of the perks from being at the European Beer Bloggers conference recently was that attendees were able to claim a free box of beer from www.beer52.com
Now, Beer52 is a company based in the UK and the premise is rather simple. In exchange for a subscription of £24 they will ship you 8 beers, along with a colour guide for each beer, this months subscribers also got some tortillas but that doesn’t happen all the time. They use only small brewers, which makes the offerings quite unique.
I was wondering if they offered shipping direct to ROI, which at this time, they currently don’t, however there is a way to do it. It worked for me perfectly, but I think one or two people were getting their orders cancelled. Basically to get them shipped to you here you will need to use www.parcelmotel.com as the shipping address. Yes it will add €4 to your costs, but you’re more than likely going to get beers that will not be available here.
I’ve checked with Siobhan in Beer52 and they are happy for Irish customers to use Parcel Motel for shipping until they get sorted out.
Naturally too my UK based readers can join up and not fuss around with Parcel Motel or the like, the code is good for you too.
As an added bonus, readers of my blog will also get £10 off their first order, to avail of this just use the code BEERSNOB10 when placing your order.
Now as to the package itself, there are 7 beers in the 8 there i’ve not had before and I look forward to trying them each individually. There is a great booklet which gives info on the beers and breweries. I was very impressed with it. The package was well packaged with no breakages to worry about.
European Beer Bloggers Conference – Day One
Now in it’s fourth year the European Beer Bloggers Conference came to Dublin last weekend for the first time. Following on from a successful event last year in Edinburgh, Dublin had big shoes to follow.
Dublin is undergoing a craft beer revolution at the moment and it was going to be interesting to see what foreign visitors from the UK, Europe and the USA thought of it.
The Thursday evening pub crawl was arranged by Reuben Gray who had a major part in getting the conference to Dublin this year, and this highlighted the best craft beer bars Dublin has to offer. Ian (11pm Somewhere Podcast) and I arranged to meet early to film a pre conference hangout, the videos are below. We were joined by Carol Dekkers from Tampa Florida, Eric & Flo of Brewsweplate and Brian of Irish Craft Beer Show.
So along comes Friday and conference proper. The advice was to eat before we arrived as there was a trade show displaying the best of Irish brewing before events kicked off at 2pm. I could think of no better place than the Ugly Duckling Cafe in the Epicurean Food Hall. I went with the McWurly, which is a battered beef burger in a bun with cheese and salad. Accompanied with a side of chips. This set me up for the day.
Price of Craft Beer – Are craft beer drinkers being taken advantage of?
Something has been troubling me for a while now. It is undoubtedly a great time in the Irish Craft Beer scene, many new entrants, and more to come. Obviously there are a lot of passionate people out there making great beers, but there is something that has been gnawing at me for a while. The price of the actual beer in the pubs we frequent.
In these austere times people are looking for value, and craft beer has benefited from this change in consumer trends, where people will happily buy an artisan product for a little bit more for an undoubted step up in flavour from a macro beer. There is also an element of the green flag in supporting the Irish producers. However there seem to be more and more examples of pricing that can only be described as eye watering.
While it is a positive to see on the one hand publicans traditionally in neck deep with the Heineageo duopoly taking on Irish Craft Beer, and international craft beer. It is going to be more damaging in the long term in my opinion if a large premium above a macro beer on a craft beer. It seems to be a token effort.
@irishbeersnob @11pmSomewhere @BeerPadawan @beinmysolo Exhibit A – price for Galway Hooker pic.twitter.com/PxIo9arxoo
— Aidan Sweeney (@sweeney_aidan) April 13, 2014
Galway Hooker is a fine beer – but, €6.70 for a bottle? Granted a 500ml bottle but even so.
Now in an ideal world we’d all be holding hands singing kumbaya, drinking loads of craft beer, but that is a bit much considering a pint of heineken in the same establishment is a good euro less.
But let’s face it brewers don’t start brewing just for the hell of it. They are setting up a business where their aim is to make money. They sell their beer at a set price to the publican direct or through a distributor. They hold no control over the price it is sold at in the off license or pub. Who also need a margin to make their profit and cover their costs. That is how capitalism works.
However, in this fledgling industry, the common joe soap is not going to be swayed by a story of two people who gave up careers in x and y to brew beer. Oh btw its an extra €1.50 a go. The story alone is not enough to justify to these consumers to take the plunge and buy a proper Irish beer. The problem itself isn’t unique to Ireland, or even consumers here’s a tweet I came across the other day.
It frustrates me a lot that a beer that leaves here at £2.60 a (750ml) bottle is in a bar about 20 miles away being sold at £15 #greedy
— The Wild Beer Co (@WildBeerCo) April 17, 2014
The facts remain, less than 3% of the Irish beverage market is craft beer, it is growing at a great rate, but the long term viability on the industry is contingent on more craft beer being sold, and it would be naive of any new entrants to solely aim at this 3% there is 97% of the market to aim at. Higher prices will not grow this industry. It could however potentially harm it.
Yes I know American craft brewers have a much lower cost per unit than the cost per unit than in an Irish set up. The Excise rebate helps with that – and I doubt there are a huge amount of brewers charging publicans a large amount more on a keg than macro producers.
There is one example i’ve been made aware of recently that highlights this. The brewer in question distributes through a distributor, they have a nationwide set price per unit. Every pub gets the same cost per case. The variance on the price of a bottle was from €4.70 to €8.50. I can imagine the feelings of this brewer when they heard that top end price – who is going to pay that? I also understand publicans in major urban centres have large over heads but when this particular beer was also available on draft for between €5.40 – €5.70 a pint within 10 minutes of the €8.50 price in the same large urban area – as a consumer you have to ask, is that value for money? I would argue that price for a pint versus 8 quid for a bottle is supremely better value for money. Maybe Mary Harney had a point when she said “to shop around”
To quote Sarah Roarty
“It’s really important to keep beer in the hands of the people, not to gentrify it and make it so expensive that only high earners can afford the exclusive beverage”
I think that sums it all up for me.
I’d be interested to hear / read your thoughts, you can contact me on the twitter, or by email or comment below.
The 2nd Alltech Craft Beers & Brews Festival #alltechbrews Dublin February 2014
Alltech International Craft Brews & Food Fair – Convention Centre Dublin February 6th – 8th
Now in its second year following on from the first festival which was during the summer 2013. This mix of trade fair, and beer festival is hopefully going to become on ongoing fixture in the calendar for years to come.
There is going to be plenty for the trade, both publicans, and producers. There is also going to be plenty for the going public.
This year there is a large number of brewers here, with a majority from Ireland, there is a fleck of European and US brewers here too. A full list of these is here. Then there is a range of food producers here also; Good beer and Good food go hand in hand.
The two public sessions are the Friday evening from 5pm, and the Saturday from 12pm. Tickets are €15 per day which include your admission, a souvenir glass and 4 free drinks. Great value if you ask me. On the Friday there is live music from Paddy Casey, and Saturday we have Hector presiding over the Grand Slam of Beer considering the 6 nations is on that weekend. Yes, the game is also being televised for all the Irish Rugby Fans out there. There are also some Sensory Lounges too.
There is a conference aspect to this and i’m fortunate to have been invited to the Pub Series where there will be many speakers from various areas of the industry. For any publicans who are still undecided about whether to go or not there is plenty of time to still register by following this link
All in all this promises to be a lot of fun, and I hope to meet some of my readers there. See you at the Convention Centre, go on, you know you want to. More info available from www.alltechbrewsandfood.com and @alltechbrews on twitter. Tickets can be purchased here via Entertainment.ie