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Nov 1, 2011 02:34 PM

Surdyk's Liquor infuriates Surly Nation!!!

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. 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. 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

        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

          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

            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

              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

                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: Foureyes137

                    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

                      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

                        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.

                1. re: mtullius

                  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

                    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. 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. 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

              "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

                "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

                  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. 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.