I like to think of my blog as a source of light-hearted observations and reviews but this time out I have a bit of a bone to pick so consider this fair warning what follows is my mini diatribe on the downside of purchasing craft beer.
I am an adventure seeking beer geek; I love to try new beers, new breweries and new styles so needless to say this makes my investment in my hobby somewhat measured. Now and then I do make repeat purchases but left to my own devices I will always opt for the next new thing instead of falling back on the beer I know. Part of this is motivated by my desire to keep my blog current and part is motivated by my desire to satisfy my personal curiosity.
Generally this poses no real problem for me as seasonal creations often come in 650ml bottles so you can purchase singles but when it comes to regular production beers far too often the six pack is your only option, at least here in Canada, so in order to try out a new beer you either seek it out on tap or get saddled with 5 spare beers you may not want. Couple this with my legendary low tolerance for alcohol and alarmingly quickly I end up with surplus beer sadly sitting on the shelf.
When I am beer shopping south of the border I can walk into a grocery store or beer store and pick and choose bottles out of the six packs to my heart’s content. In fact, spare six pack carriers are left in the beer section to assist this buffet style of shopping. Prices are per bottle so it makes no difference how you shop; you want only one apple melon wheat beer out of the sixer? No problem. If you love it simply come back and gather up more and, most importantly, if you hate it you are only out the price of one beer.
Apparently this same style of beer shopping is a no-no in British Columbia but why dammit? For answers I spoke with a provincial liquor store and a private liquor store to see what the heck is going on.
Turns out the BC Liquor Stores used to allow people to pick and choose from cases but decided to change this policy and sell their beer either by the case or in the single serve section. In the private stores, licensing requirements stipulate beer must be sold in the same format it is purchased –you buy a six pack you sell a six pack; however, apparently a few places take this requirement more as a guideline than a law and will sell singles from packaged beer.
Is it just me of does this notion seem a little dated? It is not mandatory to purchase six bottles when you try a new wine and I rarely purchase a twelve of single malt scotch just to try out a new distiller. I am sure it is beneficial to the breweries to sell in larger quantities but at the same time a sale is a sale so if beer geeks quaff at shelling out for a six pack but they would have purchased a single bottle then what’s the harm?
*Thanks to Nashville Scene for the Whole Foods mix-and-match six pack photo. http://www.nashvillescene.com/bites/archives/2009/02/05/beer-factor-building-the-perfect-six-pack