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Surdyk's Liquor infuriates Surly Nation!!!

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Fudist Nov 1, 2011 02:34 PM

My wife and I have always enjoyed shopping at Surdyk's (we bought all of the alcohol for our wedding there) and my brother and I take a trip there when we can to buy some quality scotch. No more. After seeing the price gouging on Surly Darkness, I'll take my business elsewhere. There is nothing special about Surdyk's.

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  1. s
    semanticantics RE: Fudist Nov 1, 2011 04:16 PM

    How much was it and how much is it supposed to be?

    There is plenty special about Surdyk's. It's called "cheese".

    Edit: I found the particulars via Fb. Wow. Glad I don't drink the swill (all beer is gross).

    1. AnneInMpls RE: Fudist Nov 1, 2011 09:42 PM

      My Facebook friends have been posting furious diatribes about Surdyk's gouging - I think they tripled or quadrupled the price. Me, I'm not a big Surly fan, and I don't buy much beer at Surdyk's, but I'm mad at them anyway. I didn't think Surdyk's was this tacky. I'll be shopping elsewhere now.

      P.S. Semanticantics: There are lots of places to get good cheese, including the area co-ops (especially Seward), Cub, and Costco.

      11 Replies
      1. re: AnneInMpls
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        cookkevin RE: AnneInMpls Nov 2, 2011 04:55 AM

        In defense of the Surdyk family, and having grown up in the Bar/Restaurant/Liquor business myself, I’m sure Jim Surdyk was selling a much hyped limited edition beer for what he thinks is a fair retail price and certainly not the 18.00 the brewery was selling it for onsite. Having shopped at Surdyk’s for many years, high prices and price gouging has never crossed my mind, or the millions of customers the Surdyk’s have happily served over a lot of years.

        1. re: cookkevin
          bob s RE: cookkevin Nov 2, 2011 05:44 AM

          I'd be interested in knowing whether or not other places have prices for Darkness that are significantly lower. I've not shopped for Darkness this year, but I think that Surly's limited releases are just a gift from them to their retailers - allowing retailers to bump up prices on the releases for a nice profit. With the exception of the one time I saw a limited release at Four Firkins, it's been my observation that most places take advantage of the froth churned up by each release and have a significantly higher price than the suggested retail.

          -----
          The Four Firkins
          8009 Minnetonka Blvd, Minneapolis, MN

          1. re: bob s
            ibew292 RE: bob s Nov 2, 2011 05:57 AM

            Most of the places I have checked, even MGM who are always higher priced, are selling it between $19.99 and $22.99. They almost all have sold out within hours of getting the shipment. There are rumors of people following the Surly truck on it's rounds doing deliveries. Markets set the price, more power to higher prices. I'm not sure it's not Surlys fault for not making more and creating such a demand. It's on tap at Tooties for $6.50 a pint.

            1. re: ibew292
              mtullius RE: ibew292 Nov 2, 2011 06:16 AM

              Surly quite deliberately doesn't make enough to meet demand-- this is part of what creates hype. It's a brilliant strategy...

              I think the issue with what Surdyk's did is that they jacked up their own price despite not adding any value to the product. They're certainly entitled to do so, but they may not have counted on the blowback they're getting from Surly fans, and indeed from Surly itself (Omar tweeted that he was upset about it; he could well decide not to give them any Darkness next year).

              1. re: mtullius
                ibew292 RE: mtullius Nov 2, 2011 06:35 AM

                Yes I know that Surly does it on purpose...... Who then is to blame for the hype. As I said markets react to demand. Omar would have to react like he did or "Surly Nation" would be upset. I pretty sure Jim Surdyk will still be in business after the Surly craze is a distant memory.

                1. re: ibew292
                  Foureyes137 RE: ibew292 Nov 2, 2011 09:53 AM

                  He will be dead by then.

                  1. re: Foureyes137
                    ibew292 RE: Foureyes137 Nov 2, 2011 10:32 AM

                    Does Jim have some deadly disease? Surly is a flash in the pan. When they open their $20Mill brewery they will have to face reality. Bells thought they were the answer also and see what that thinking did for them.

                    1. re: ibew292
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                      Fudist RE: ibew292 Nov 2, 2011 10:53 AM

                      Surly a flash in the pan? One of the most ill informed and naive statements I have read here in a very long time. Surly is changing the culture in the Upper Midwest. They are breaking down walls for beer enthusiasts and have only just started.

                      1. re: Fudist
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                        foreverhungry RE: Fudist Nov 2, 2011 11:12 AM

                        I wouldn't say they're a flash in the pan - Furious is easily one of the best beers brewed in the Midwest. But I also (personally) don't think their products all live up the they hype. They have some hits (Furious and Darkness), and some misses - for the price and hype. Some folks like Wet, but I didn't think it was worth the $4 a can I paid for it. Darkness is good, but I wouldn't drive around town looking for it, or try to beat folks in getting the last bottle.

                        I have to admit, I'm getting a little tired of Surly's antics. The whole secrecy with what the product is, how much of it they are making, who's getting how much, when it going to run out, etc. I don't think many folks are going to stand for that much longer. Right now, they are filling a niche, but they can tick folks off pretty quick too if prices start going up, and if availability goes down. In the end, as much as I like it, it's beer, and there's plenty of good beer to be had at lots of different bars and stores. Surly doesn't have the patent on great beer, and there's lots of good up-and-coming makers in the area.

                2. re: mtullius
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                  galewskj RE: mtullius Nov 2, 2011 11:25 AM

                  I think the issue is that Surly created this whole situation with their limited distribution. It is in their best interest to see stuff like this, as it adds hype and brand awareness. While Omar publicly was upset, he probably is pleased to see all this commotion about his beer.

                  Furthermore, Surly makes some decent beers but plenty of duds as well. People act like Surly is the best thing since sliced bread when in fact they are a solid contender in a very crowded field. There are a lot of great breweries in America now.

                  1. re: galewskj
                    ibew292 RE: galewskj Nov 2, 2011 02:56 PM

                    So true galewskj. Steel Toe is starting to make beer that is wonderful. I drink Surly but I think people will tire of their beer. Beer ,food,politics all about the hype.

        2. f
          foreverhungry RE: Fudist Nov 2, 2011 06:31 AM

          Off the bat, I'll say I'm a big fan of Furious and a few other of their beers, but certainly not all Surly products. And yes, they definitely play on the extreme end of marketing - creating a limited production with a lot of hype.

          I was shocked at the price of Wet a few weeks ago, when I actually managed to find it. Expecting it to be the best tasting beer I had ever had, I was, to be honest, very disappointed, given the hunting around and price I paid.

          I had some Darkness at Buster's on 28th the other day, and I liked it a lot - but not so much that I'd pay $20 for it at the liquor store. I was told that Surly doesn't tell bars how much of a product they'll be getting, or when they're getting it. Someone at a local liquor store alluded to the same - they don't know exactly how much of a particular product they'll be getting. And they don't know how much overall has been made, how many deliveries they can get, and who else has what.

          That makes pricing for these limited runs very challenging. I don't know what Surdyk's was charging for Darkness. But some places, like a previous poster said, sold out within hours. Surdyk's strategy is to jack up the price, but they have a supply for those that want it. If they sold it cheap, they'd run out just other stores did. I'm not defending their strategy, but it's just one of many. In the end, the market decides. If they priced it too high, they'll be left holding the bag after the hype goes away.

          I like Surly, mostly Furious. But I have to admit, they're hype over limited productions is getting old, and they're in part responsible for whatever price-gouging is going on for creating such a high demand with a small production. They know what they're doing, and the outrage over Surdyk's pricing just gives Surly more buzz. Tweets or no tweets, Omar knows exactly what he's doing.

          -----
          Buster's on 28th
          4204 28th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55406

          1. s
            semanticantics RE: Fudist Nov 2, 2011 06:40 AM

            Darkness is apparently MSRP'd at $18, Surdyk's is asking $36. While I ultimately don't care, it is pretty lousy and their Facebook page has been bombarded with angry posts.

            3 Replies
            1. re: semanticantics
              k
              KTFoley RE: semanticantics Nov 2, 2011 09:55 AM

              "Darkness is apparently MSRP'd at $18"

              Where did that come from? Darkness was priced at $18 ... at the brewery ... for one day ... for 4 bottles per buyer ... for a limited number of buyers. That's an event price. It may or may not be Surly's wholesale price. What reason is there to think that the retail price would be the same? Unlike cars that DO have an MSRP, what reason is there to think that Surly/Omar has a say in the retail price after a distributor buys it?

              Surly's facebook page has posts about SEVERAL places across the Twin Cities that are selling for well over $18.

              The reasonable questions might be:

              1. Is there a standard markup over wholesale for retail bottled beer at Surdyks?

              2. What was the wholesale price charged to Surdyks?

              3. Did Surdyks apply their standard markup or something different?
              4. Will the market bear it? (Yes -- Surdyks sold out.)

              1. re: KTFoley
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                semanticantics RE: KTFoley Nov 2, 2011 10:25 AM

                "Apparently" from all the posts / math indicating a 100% markup. Again, I don't drink beer and ultimately don't care about this. But it does look like it could seriously harm Surdyk's. So a few cases sold out, what about the 100 or more people that vow never to shop there again?

                1. re: semanticantics
                  k
                  kevin47 RE: semanticantics Nov 2, 2011 06:06 PM

                  Those 100 people are cutting their noses off to spite their face, and Surdyk's will do fine without them. People who get hissy about this stuff don't spend on big ticket items and aren't loyal customers.

                  The Darkness is overpriced. Why is nobody commenting on the fact they are charging 300% of the "MSRP" of even the best imperial stouts? Why is nobody commenting on this business of forcing customers to wait in line for the "opportunity" to overpay for same?

            2. b
              Brad Ballinger RE: Fudist Nov 2, 2011 07:20 AM

              Price setting has always been and will always be "what the market will bear." Surdyk's seems to be finding out. Economically, though, I bet they sell out at $36.

              1. k
                keithinmpls RE: Fudist Nov 2, 2011 08:08 AM

                I can't fault Surdyk's here. I also sampled Darkness at Buster's - very nice beer, but if I was interested in a bottle I simply wouldn't buy it at Surdyk's. Apparently other people will.

                Surdyk's pricing is one of their biggest draws for me. A bottle of Cristalino brut for $6.99!? I drink that stuff like its soda! Everywhere else in town is at least 2 bucks more per bottle. So if they want (and are able) to make that profit up somewhere else, I say go for it.

                All the morons posting crap on their Facebook had better be doing the exact same thing to Stubhub's.

                11 Replies
                1. re: keithinmpls
                  ibew292 RE: keithinmpls Nov 2, 2011 08:18 AM

                  +1

                  1. re: keithinmpls
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                    brlattim RE: keithinmpls Nov 2, 2011 09:00 AM

                    Surly Fans are almost too patriotic sometimes...which causes this. They will just buy whatever Surly churns out....Basically the newly introduced to craft beers....Surly is hands down the best brewer in the midwest but I think Abrasive and Wet are way better than Darkness. I think the popularity has kind of created a "hipster" following to things like Surly. Its great to like it, but I think people should try some Belgian beers like Westy 12 before they tout Surly. It might be one of the best in the US (along with the likes of Bells) but I dont get the craze sometimes. With that I just bought a flat of Wet (6 4pks). And yes my hypocrasy is tasty...sweet hoppy flavor.

                    Surdyks is a joke in my book. I can get wine regular priced (after getting 15% off case deal that most liquor stores offer) for CHEAPER than their advertised "wine sales". Their prices are high, and their selection isnt that much better than any well run liquor store. I go to Liquor Barrel and they beat Surdyk's for ease, selection, and price on craft beer with no question.

                    1. re: brlattim
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                      mull0263 RE: brlattim Nov 2, 2011 12:30 PM

                      Agreed with the previous two assessments regarding Surly. They make some very good beer (and some very mediocre beer), but most of their appeal is based off of novelty (first brewery to open in the Cities in almost 20 years) and marketing/culture.

                      I don't fault Surdyk's for setting their price where they felt it was appropriate; they still sold out in a matter of hours. If Surly wants to mandate a price that's something they need to work out with their retail accounts, not passive aggressive tweets to calm the irrational fans making a shit storm out of this.

                      I still like Surdyk's for their selection and pricing, though I've never been under the impression they weren't profiting in the 70+ years they have been in business...

                      1. re: mull0263
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                        Fudist RE: mull0263 Nov 2, 2011 02:31 PM

                        My neighbor says Surly charges the liquor stores $10.00 per bottle for Darkness and the allotment each store gets is determined by how much Surly they sell. If this is true then Surdyk's deserves all the backlash they are getting and more. Argue supply and demand all you want, you can even throw in off topic rubbish like Stubhub, but the fact remains Surdyk's is portrayed as this diamond in the rough of a store that sells discount wine, cheese and beer and they put one over on the idiots who shelled out almost $40.00 for a bottle of beer where most other stores were selling it for half of that.
                        Still waiting for old Jim to address the situation, but maybe he is waiting for Surly to become a distant memory.

                        1. re: Fudist
                          s
                          Seige RE: Fudist Nov 2, 2011 09:49 PM

                          Wait - what? Surdyk's is portrayed as selling dicount wine, cheese and beer? Since when? I've never thought of it as a "discount" place. It's not like the Aldi of alcohol and cheese. I think that portrayal is going a little beyond reality.

                          That said, while I'm not a beer drinker, I do think this Surly is overpriced and for all the complaints, I think it would behoove the Surdyk's owner(s) to answer why this happened, apologize, etc.

                          1. re: Fudist
                            k
                            keithinmpls RE: Fudist Nov 2, 2011 09:51 PM

                            I wouldn't say that people who chose to pay Surdyk's asking price for Darkness are idiots. They just wanted to drink some Darkness. Let's face it - there was a lot of hype and the stuff went fast. There are plenty of folks who paid that much or more for Darkness on EBay. Are they idiots?

                            I would say that the real idiot is the individual that decides that he/she should be the one to determine how Surdyk's determines their profit margins. And that if Jim Surdyk doesn't make the same business decision as this hypothetical idiot, then said idiot should take it upon himself/herself to boycott Surdyk's in the name of moral indignation.

                            1. re: keithinmpls
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                              shadowfax RE: keithinmpls Nov 3, 2011 09:58 AM

                              Do we know for certain how much profit Surdyk's was making on this? Remember that, unlike sales at the Surly brewery itself, sales from retail stores involve the beer passing through the hands of the MN Beer Wholesaler's Association's distributors, who tack on additional money so that they, too, can make a profit off of it. Even beer sold at-cost by a retail store is going to be more expensive than beer sold directly at the brewery, unless the brewery itself is jacking prices on brewery sales.

                              1. re: shadowfax
                                mtullius RE: shadowfax Nov 3, 2011 12:54 PM

                                First of all, Surly is its own distributor in the Twin Cities, so the beer is sold directly from Surly to retailers.

                                Second, the sales of Darkness at the brewery are actually done by a retailer from Brooklyn Center-- Surly got too big to be allowed to sell retail on site.

                                Just a couple of clarifications....

                                -----
                                Brooklyn Center Restaurant
                                5637 Brooklyn Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55429

                                1. re: mtullius
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                                  getgot211 RE: mtullius Nov 3, 2011 03:30 PM

                                  AFAIK the 'retailer' in Brooklyn Center is Brooklyn Center. the only liquor store(or 2?) in BC is owned by the city, they didn't like Surly selling directly.

                                  1. re: getgot211
                                    mtullius RE: getgot211 Nov 3, 2011 04:45 PM

                                    It's not that they "didn't like" Surly selling directly; it's that state law didn't allow it anymore. At that point, the Brooklyn Center liquor store graciously agreed to take over selling Darkness at the brewery in order to allow the "Darkness Day" festivities to still take place.

                                    -----
                                    Brooklyn Center Restaurant
                                    5637 Brooklyn Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55429

                            2. re: Fudist
                              k
                              kevin47 RE: Fudist Nov 3, 2011 07:47 AM

                              Diamond in the rough? Discount wine and cheese? That isn't the Surdyk's brand at all. They are know for being a one-stop shop, with outstanding service to boot. Their tag is The Midwest's LARGEST liquor store since 1934. When they fail on those grounds, they will have earned their criticism.

                      2. w
                        wineglas1 RE: Fudist Nov 2, 2011 05:19 PM

                        What I find interesting about this is since people know the prices of beer this is an uproar. There are plenty of wines in this town $40 more than the places I shop locally and online but no one ever complains about that.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: wineglas1
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                          cookkevin RE: wineglas1 Nov 3, 2011 03:53 AM

                          In an earlier post Fudist says they charge 10.00 per bottle to stores so ok, business logic says Surly must be making money at 10.00 per, if in fact its true? Ok let’s just go with that number, why is no one asking people were charged 18.00 per onsite at Surly?

                        2. Latinpig RE: Fudist Nov 3, 2011 05:13 AM

                          Surdyks is one of the best wine, cheese and liquor stores in the cities. If you are a serious wino, you shop at Surdyks. Their pricing is outstanding for the area. They get the entire Terry Thiese portfolio and sell it below msrp. I am not a beer drinker so I cannot comment on the Surly issue other than to say I am certain Surdyks will survive it. Knowing Jim, he probably will not respond either. If you want to see high prices, check out France 44 or Haskells.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Latinpig
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                            wineglas1 RE: Latinpig Nov 3, 2011 02:15 PM

                            Latinpig,

                            You say serious wino's shop at Surdyk's. I don't shop there much expect for the Thiese Rieslings. All the serious wine drinkers I hang out with either buy at Winestreets or online.

                            1. re: wineglas1
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                              galewskj RE: wineglas1 Nov 3, 2011 02:54 PM

                              That's right wineglas1. Surdyk's is probably for the "weekend warriors" of wines - too advanced for the corner liquor store but not into wine enough to seek out real sources. I've bought over 100 bottles this year, and none of them from Surdyks. But I have bought some cheeses there, and I overall respect the shop for what it is.

                          2. j
                            JimGrinsfelder RE: Fudist Nov 3, 2011 05:43 AM

                            $18 for a bottle (or can) of beer is fine, but $36 is gouging? I think Surly has managed to market their brand, on a small scale, as brilliantly as Apple Computer.

                            $9 for six bottles and $10 for 4 cants of beer is the top of my price range for beer.

                            Someone said Surly is the best in the Midwest. They're good, maybe the best in Minnesota, maybe not. Summit Unchained series has produced some very very good beers.

                            As for the midwest, Two Brothers from the Chicago suburbs make at least one very good beer, on par with Surly IMO, the Domaine Dupage.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: JimGrinsfelder
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                              brlattim RE: JimGrinsfelder Nov 3, 2011 06:42 AM

                              Try Brau Bros Hundred Yard Dash. Its possible better than Wet. And local. Support Local!!!!

                              Why I love Surly and go on tours more than I want to admit...and buy hundreds of dollars of their beer. The reputation and almost obsession I think is a little bit more than they deserve. I think it proves a mass shortage of brewers in the area. I hope they are just the first of many. Competition is good and if another guy came in that was more craft than Summit and less elitist than Surly they might win a good share of the market.

                              1. re: brlattim
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                                mull0263 RE: brlattim Nov 3, 2011 07:18 AM

                                I have been very impressed with a number of Brau Brothers beers, especially the Moo Joos and Scotch Ale (though I have yet to try it since they changed the recipe). Assuming the Hundred Yard Dash is also wet hopped?

                                Agree on the shortage of craft breweries in the Cities area, though it's changing quickly and it will be interesting to see how each one carves out a niche. I think Flat Earth is seriously underrated, have yet to try Steel Toe but have heard good things, Fulton opens their new brewery/tap room this month, Lift Bridge is consistently above average, Harriet has a few winners, Summit is, well, appreciated for historical purposes (and should definitely keep up the unchained series) and a number of others are expected to be opening soon (e.g., Lucid, Big Wood, Dangerous Man, etc.).

                                1. re: mull0263
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                                  brlattim RE: mull0263 Nov 3, 2011 07:23 AM

                                  Yep. Wet Hopped. I think it was $11.99 a 6 pack so a little less than Wet.

                                  1. re: mull0263
                                    bob s RE: mull0263 Nov 3, 2011 08:46 PM

                                    Totally with you mull0263. I've been drinking Brau Brothers, Flat Earth and Lift Bridge this year. I enjoy a Surly every once in a while, but often find that I'm tired of it about 2/3 the way through a can.

                                  2. re: brlattim
                                    b
                                    Brad Ballinger RE: brlattim Nov 3, 2011 07:32 AM

                                    Not to splinter this off too much into the Beer Forum...

                                    I tried the Brau Bros 100 Yard Dash. It's darker and heavier than Surly Wet. There was also bottle variation in my six pack. I prefer Surly Wet, but BB was a good effort. I think it was priced at $10.99 at my neighborhood corner bottle shop. I was told allocation was limited to two cases per retailer.

                                    Favorite wet hop ale, however, is still Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. And that's priced lower than Wet or 100 Yard Dash.

                                    1. re: Brad Ballinger
                                      b
                                      brlattim RE: Brad Ballinger Nov 3, 2011 08:55 AM

                                      good rec Brad, that is a great beer as well.

                                2. g
                                  GutGrease RE: Fudist Nov 3, 2011 09:57 AM

                                  I'm not a fan of the price gouging, and do consider it as such, but this is a simple supply and demand situation. The demand was there even at $36 so more power to Surdyk's. I personally enjoy Surly but scoff at their prices in the liquor store. I've always wanted to try Darkness but refuse to wait in line or pay even more than their other high-priced beers. I'll buy a pint her or there in a tavern, but I generally won't fuel the demand that allows them to sell the beer for $36. I wish Surly the best of luck.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: GutGrease
                                    m
                                    MrStPaul RE: GutGrease Nov 3, 2011 10:30 AM

                                    Agree with you on both counts.

                                    I can't fault Surdyk's TOO much. I have always considered Surdyk's to be on the higher end of beer prices. When I go there, I go for wine (truth be told, I haven't been there for quite some time...the playing field is much more level than it was 15 years ago).

                                    I like most of Surly's offerings and I will always have a pint of Furious if it is on tap at an establishment. But it's a rare occasion when I will spend +/- $20 on a bottle of beer. And there is no way in hell I'm lining up outside a brewery to get a 'limited edition' brew.

                                    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to get a six-pack of the latest Unchained Black Ale. It's a kickass, fairly priced, excellent (yet again!) brew from Summit. No disrepect to Surly, but my heart (and liver) is pledged to Mark Stutrud!

                                  2. b
                                    Brad Ballinger RE: Fudist Nov 3, 2011 11:04 AM

                                    Heavy Table did a story on this. They also draw the analogy to ticket scalping. 94 comments on their story as of this posting.

                                    http://heavytable.com/darkness-cometh...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Brad Ballinger
                                      w
                                      wineglas1 RE: Brad Ballinger Nov 3, 2011 04:04 PM

                                      Brad,

                                      They must not have Surdyk's advertising dollars. Don't expect any other publication to do such a story. Good for them.

                                    2. s
                                      soupkitten RE: Fudist Nov 3, 2011 01:51 PM

                                      lotta surly love and hate-- surprising. c'mon people, a lot of the dastardly "scheming" a lot of folks see wrt surly's limited runs are related to the size of the operation-- literally the size of the kettles and casks, folks. i really do think these boys are cranking out beer as quickly as they can, and they are still hands on, developing and experimenting, and not outsourcing to a macrobrew facility or just running a predictable "greatest hits" menu of big sellers that are easiest/cheapest/fastest to brew...

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: soupkitten
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                                        getgot211 RE: soupkitten Nov 3, 2011 03:32 PM

                                        this has been a pretty odd thread.

                                        1. re: getgot211
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                                          Fudist RE: getgot211 Nov 3, 2011 04:34 PM

                                          Summit's Unchained series for me have failed to live up to the hype. The ONLY Summit beer I will even drink is the EPA and that is only if a Surly isn't available.

                                        2. re: soupkitten
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                                          GutGrease RE: soupkitten Nov 4, 2011 09:15 AM

                                          Agreed. Surly is a small operation and therefore they can't get out all of the beer that everyone likes until they have a bigger facility....which is in the works. I think that was my point though, was that if people want to be upset they should be upset that Surly isn't big enough to satisfy the demand. It's a great problem to have.

                                          1. re: GutGrease
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                                            isfahani RE: GutGrease Nov 4, 2011 12:14 PM

                                            Having sampled a fair amount of the latest and greatest 'small operation brewery with lots of hype attached' offerings in the past year, I have to say... I haven't been impressed with 99.8% of them. Surly has got to be the most overhyped & overpriced of the lot, and if their fans are getting fleeced, well, no one is holding a gun to their head and telling them 'buy it or else'

                                            I'd rather go with the Brau Bros, and I do.

                                        3. d
                                          Danny RE: Fudist Nov 4, 2011 12:18 PM

                                          It is a matter of time before the Surly bubble bursts.

                                          There's a great piece over on the Shefzilla blog about this "uproar:" http://shefzilla.com/?p=14635

                                          It's the second piece criticizing Surly from a source that I trust, that I've really agreed with. (The other was Kopplin's coffee, comparing their attitude about location to Surly's "We'll go to whatever town pays us the most" point of view: http://www.kopplinscoffee.com/blog/go... )

                                          12 Replies
                                          1. re: Danny
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                                            brlattim RE: Danny Nov 4, 2011 12:43 PM

                                            Good link Danny....I have to agree with that article. Abrasive is WAY better in comparison to its competition than darnkess. I think the fancy bottle, limited quanity, and hipster movement has allowed omar to do what he wants when he wants. Can we blame him...I don't really know. Its America so that makes me believe we can say he should be able to do what he wants within the law to be profitable, but we also like to gripe about things as citizens of this used-to-be-great country.

                                            Personally, I think Surly is at its peak locally....so it will be intersting to see how the new brewery and increased production impacts loyalty. You can justify high prices on small batches...but can you when its 2 times its previous batch? Raw materials should get cheaper as vendor relationships improve. Just funny to see people lining up to be volunteers for this place. Have they not heard of food shelves?

                                            1. re: brlattim
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                                              cookkevin RE: brlattim Nov 4, 2011 01:12 PM

                                              Yes yes, this Surly Nation stuff has taken on a new face, not just local beer fans, with all due respect to the Nation, they seem to be over the top out of control rabid beer snobs. Just do not buy it if the price is too high, move on to a different store that is in your price range. And yes, get a real cause in life.

                                              1. re: brlattim
                                                mtullius RE: brlattim Nov 5, 2011 06:28 AM

                                                I'm not a Surly fanboy by any means, but all the hate directed at Surly is really kind of odd. This whole thing is about choices: Surdyk's chose (as they are certainly entitled to do) to price a beer higher than everyone else; their customers can choose (as some have) to be angry about that; Surly can choose (as they may) to limit their relationship with Surdyk's in future. That's it...

                                                Beyond that, we have a lot of people who choose, for various and sundry reasons, not to appreciate Surly's beer. No big deal there. But some of them feel the need to go beyond that and tell other people that they shouldn't like the beer-- if I don't like it, it's overhyped garbage. And that's a bit much. Surly has been that rare brewery (and business) which is very very hyped, and also very very good. The hype sometimes certainly exceeds the quality (no beer is worth camping out for, and I'm sure Omar and Todd would agree, though the campers themselves might too-- it's just a fun thing to do), but the quality is certainly there.

                                                There's no reason to believe that Surly is "at its peak" or on the verge of having its "bubble burst." We should celebrate the fact that we have one of the finest breweries in America right here in our own backyard. In fact, we have lots of great breweries, as others have pointed out-- Summit, Flat Earth, Fulton, Brau Brothers, Schell's, Harriet, Steel Toe, to name a few, plus several others coming in the next year or so. Here's to great local beer!

                                                1. re: mtullius
                                                  k
                                                  keithinmpls RE: mtullius Nov 5, 2011 06:51 AM

                                                  Excellent post mtullius.

                                                  I think some of the uprising against Surly nation is a result of these blanket assertions that Surly is hands down the best craft brewer in the Midwest. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and Surly is good beer, but there's no reason to put it on some pedestal against other fantastic breweries.

                                                  I'd also like to mention Tyranena over in WI. Their Bitter Woman IPA is probably my favorite non-seasonal offering in the Midwest, if not the nation. I'd put it up against heavy hitters like Lagunitas and Dogfishhead any day of the week.

                                                  And the only seasonal offering I'm willing to shell out the big bucks for is Bell's Hopslam (usually some time in Feb). Not because it's hard to get, but because it's delicious.

                                                  1. re: mtullius
                                                    k
                                                    KTFoley RE: mtullius Nov 5, 2011 09:33 AM

                                                    I'd agree with all but for one niggling detail. When Omar goes after Jim via Twitter/Facebook, that is either disingenuous or just plain ignorant. If Surly can capitalize on a marketing strategy where hype drives pricing, so can Surdyk's.

                                                    1. re: KTFoley
                                                      k
                                                      kriminalrat RE: KTFoley Nov 5, 2011 11:32 AM

                                                      I don't understand all the negativity directed at Surly. They haven't raised prices. A bottle of darkness is only $1 more then it was in 2007.

                                                      1. re: kriminalrat
                                                        k
                                                        KTFoley RE: kriminalrat Nov 5, 2011 12:06 PM

                                                        Not sure if you were intending to reply to me, but that's for somebody else to own. My only issue is the one I wrote about.

                                                    2. re: mtullius
                                                      k
                                                      kevin47 RE: mtullius Nov 5, 2011 09:21 PM

                                                      I agree, mtullius. What I find odd is that the brewery and its fans took it upon themselves to make this such a black and white issue. Hey, Surdyk's made a silly PR decision, and did little to make that decision bend in their favor. On the other hand, Surly probably shouldn't go after its retailers.

                                                      Frankly, I think this whole thing reflects poorly on both parties.

                                                    3. re: brlattim
                                                      k
                                                      karykat RE: brlattim Nov 5, 2011 01:08 PM

                                                      Quick question: who makes Abrasive? Think this is the second time I've heard them mentioned in just a couple days.

                                                      1. re: karykat
                                                        mtullius RE: karykat Nov 5, 2011 06:07 PM

                                                        It's a Surly seasonal beer. Available from late December to March, according to their website. And it's delicious if you really really like hops (as I do)-- it's like Furious, but much hoppier.

                                                        1. re: mtullius
                                                          k
                                                          karykat RE: mtullius Nov 5, 2011 07:34 PM

                                                          Yes. I do like hops. Think it's well balanced in Furious. But I will keep a lookout for this and definitely try it. Thanks.

                                                      2. re: brlattim
                                                        mtullius RE: brlattim Nov 5, 2011 07:55 PM

                                                        I think criticizing Surly or its fans for their community service is really beyond the pale. How many other local businesses create community service projects and invite their fans to pitch in for a good cause? Geez.....

                                                    4. m
                                                      mech_e RE: Fudist Nov 5, 2011 10:07 PM

                                                      I like surly, but I don't go out of my way to get their limited releases. What I don't get is what's the difference between what Surdyk's sold it for vs the bottles on ebay going for much more? Some people have jobs/other commitments that don't allow them to play hooky. If I REALLY wanted a bottle of darkness, I likely wouldn't be able to camp out it and would be sol. However, Surdyk's price would allow me to pay a bit of premium to actually get it without a lot of hassle. Don't like the price? DON'T BUY IT. Seems simple to me. I was at Axle's on Grand, and they had 24oz on tap (710ml) for $8. Should I have paid more because "surly nation" thinks it should be $20 for 750ml?

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: mech_e
                                                        k
                                                        keithinmpls RE: mech_e Nov 5, 2011 10:23 PM

                                                        Exactly.

                                                        1. re: mech_e
                                                          mtullius RE: mech_e Nov 6, 2011 07:39 AM

                                                          One question is: when did Surdyk's sell out? My understanding is that they didn't have it for much longer than anywhere else.

                                                          As for Axel's-- you're saying that they were serving a 24 oz portion of Darkness on tap for 8 bucks? I find that hard to believe... for one thing, it's borderline irresponsible for a bar to serve that large of a portion of such a high alcohol beer.

                                                          1. re: mtullius
                                                            m
                                                            mech_e RE: mtullius Nov 6, 2011 06:58 PM

                                                            Yeah, I said it, because I had it. Don't believe it if you want.

                                                        2. k
                                                          KAJohnson328 RE: Fudist Nov 19, 2011 03:11 PM

                                                          Surly makes good beer (I personally think it's a little overrated) but there are many other fantastic brews available for reasonable prices. If some nerdy Surly fanatic wants to spend 36$ on it than why shouldn't Surdyk's take advantage of that?

                                                          1. k
                                                            karykat RE: Fudist Nov 20, 2011 01:31 PM

                                                            Not to beat a dead horse . . . . but, being away from this controversy has given me a new way of looking at it.

                                                            The posts have fallen roughly into two main categories: Category 1 -- this price by Surdyks is an outrage; we shouldn't stand for it. Category 2 - it's a free country; let Surdyk's charge what they want, who cares if someone is willing to buy.

                                                            It seems to me that beer drinkers have a common interest and brewers and sellers of beer have another set of common interests. Beer drinkers have a common interest in quality beer at a reasonable price. If beer drinkers as a group speak out at high prices and vote with their feet, beer brewers and sellers will likely respond. Who knows how Surdyk's and Surly will respond next year. And how other vendors and brewers will respond. Others know that they may be targetted if they "step out of line" on prices. I for one know that I'm going elsewhere -- not to Surdyk's for my beer and wine. No liquor store wants to be on the wrong end of that equation.

                                                            So, it's simply a matter of some common interests and good judgment.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: karykat
                                                              g
                                                              galewskj RE: karykat Nov 21, 2011 09:05 AM

                                                              So you're fine with the regular $18 price Surly is charging for a bottle of Darkness, but you don't like Surdyk's 100% markup?

                                                              In a way, I took your advice. Rather than kill myself trying to get a bottle of Darkness, I bought a bottle of Stone Brewery Russian Imperial Stout for $6.99. And I bought it at Surdyks. :)

                                                              1. re: galewskj
                                                                k
                                                                karykat RE: galewskj Nov 21, 2011 09:46 AM

                                                                When did I say I'm ok with $18 per bottle?

                                                                I haven't tried Darkness yet so I don't have an opinion.

                                                                I am making a broader point -- that beer drinkers as a group have a common interest (quality at a reasonable price) and brewers and owners have another set of interests. Most of the time the interests work well together. When they don't, beer drinkers can act together and the others will respond.

                                                                1. re: karykat
                                                                  k
                                                                  KAJohnson328 RE: karykat Nov 21, 2011 11:21 AM

                                                                  Maybe this argument is something we should "get to the bottom of" over a pint of Summit, after all that's only 10.99 a 12pack :)

                                                                  1. re: KAJohnson328
                                                                    k
                                                                    karykat RE: KAJohnson328 Nov 21, 2011 12:25 PM

                                                                    Indeed. Actually, your Stone Russian Imperial Stout sounds good. Where can I get it besides Surdyks. :)

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