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Outraging foodies Alchemist Brewery to stop sales at the brewery

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bhyde Nov 6, 2013 06:36 AM

Alchemist Brewery, in Waterbury VT, makes Heady Topper. It really is an amazingly good beer. People travel great distances to acquire their supply. It ain't cheap. I seem to recall that a case was $60 when I made my recent pilgrimage. They can't satisfy demand, so local stores sell their stock quickly. There is a whole "who you know" grey market. There are smugglers who fund their trips to VT by reselling in the "black" market.

Alchemist has taken the decision to stop selling direct to customers, at least for the time being. They announce that yesterday.

http://www.alchemistbeer.com/a-diffic...

I can't say that I'm entirely unable to sympathize and yet I can't help but be amused by the passion some people can put into their comments.

I find myself seeking a variant of "while people problems" for the withdrawal syndrome when a passionate foodie has his supply cut off.

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  1. l
    LStaff RE: bhyde Nov 6, 2013 06:58 AM

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/919004

    1. h
      huuvola RE: bhyde Nov 6, 2013 07:03 AM

      A case of Heady costs $72, not $60, and this closure is only temporary. They're looking for a new retail location that will be able to handle all of the vehicle traffic caused by high demand for their product.

      Excerpt from an AP article published today:
      "...the couple say they're closing the retail portion of their business on Nov. 15 until they can find a better location for it. Jen Kimmich says heavy traffic and people turning around in neighbors' driveways have brought the concerns to a head. While the retail end of the business is closing until a new location can be found, the brewery will stay in business and its 25 employees in their jobs."

      8 Replies
      1. re: huuvola
        JAB RE: huuvola Nov 6, 2013 10:33 AM

        Seriously, they employ 25 people and can't keep up with demand?

        1. re: JAB
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          LStaff RE: JAB Nov 6, 2013 12:02 PM

          Has nothing to do with # of employees and everything to do with lack of space at the brewery and lack of desire by the owners to expand. When they built the brewery, they still had their brewpub and had no idea that the brewpub would be forced to close and demand for this beer would be what it is. Charging far below what the market would be willing to pay is another factor..

          1. re: LStaff
            JAB RE: LStaff Nov 6, 2013 12:36 PM

            My point was that with 25 employees they must be a much larger brewer than I had thought.

            1. re: JAB
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              LStaff RE: JAB Nov 7, 2013 07:04 AM

              Just under 10k bbl per year which is pretty large for a small brewery but still on the small side (compare to LongTrail which is 18th largest craft brewer in the country that does over 120k bbls. including Otter Creek). I think they initially planned on about 3k bbls when they built the brewery.

              1. re: LStaff
                JAB RE: LStaff Nov 7, 2013 07:17 AM

                I still can't wrap my head around 25 employees for that size operation.

            2. re: LStaff
              Morganna RE: LStaff Nov 6, 2013 03:59 PM

              Also, if you'd driven those roads, you'd totally understand about the problems with traffic.

              1. re: Morganna
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                LStaff RE: Morganna Nov 7, 2013 06:46 AM

                Turns out it's their immediate neighbors that are complaining about people turning around in their driveway and "boisterous beer lovers"

                From this article:
                http://www.washingtonpost.com/busines...

                While grieving customers crashed the Heady Topper website Tuesday afternoon, it drew a big sigh of relief from Amy Kinsell, who owns the house next door to the brewery.

                “The busier they’ve gotten, the more chaotic my life has gotten,” she said on her front porch. She said other neighbors had complained as well.

                Beer lovers can be more boisterous than considerate at times. The driveway at the Kimmichs’ business is easy to miss, and Kinsell said there was one half-hour period last summer when 26 people turned around in her driveway.

                When she parked a vehicle across the entrance to her driveway to slow that traffic down, people turned around on her grass, she said. Then there were the smoke and odors from the brewery’s operations, and noise from the refrigerated trucks in its backyard.

                There was no drowning her sorrows in her neighbor’s product, Kinsell said.

                “I’m not a beer drinker, not a fan of any beer.”

                1. re: LStaff
                  Morganna RE: LStaff Nov 7, 2013 08:35 AM

                  The roads in that area are unpleasant about half the year. There's the winter ski crowds, and the fall leaf peepers. Some parts of the day, it takes a long time to get through that part of town because the road is only two lanes and it's handling a LOT of traffic with no turn lanes. I would absolutely hate living anywhere near route 100. Though that particular area isn't quite as bad as it is in lower Stowe village, it's still pretty darned congested.

        2. m
          mkfisher RE: bhyde Nov 6, 2013 07:24 AM

          A more correct title would also be "Outraging beer nerds..."

          1 Reply
          1. re: mkfisher
            Trumpetguy RE: mkfisher Nov 6, 2013 09:50 AM

            I resemble that remark! :)

            If you do too, then enjoy this :

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10...

          2. StriperGuy RE: bhyde Nov 6, 2013 07:50 AM

            Oh please, oh please, oh please can I wait hours in line to buy beer? No.

            Waaaaaaaaaah.

            3 Replies
            1. re: StriperGuy
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              LStaff RE: StriperGuy Nov 6, 2013 07:52 AM

              You must be thinking of Hill Farmstead.

              1. re: StriperGuy
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                phatchris RE: StriperGuy Nov 6, 2013 08:30 AM

                I stopped by while on a ski trip in January and was the only one in line, I even got a few free pours on tap. Granted it was a Monday.

                1. re: StriperGuy
                  b
                  bhyde RE: StriperGuy Nov 6, 2013 09:31 AM

                  Both Alchemist and Farmstead had respectable lines on my last visits. Middle of the day midweek for Alchemist and midday Friday for Farmstead. Lordy! Farmstead is remote. My God their beer is amazing.

                2. JAB RE: bhyde Nov 6, 2013 10:32 AM

                  Beer Geek Problems

                  1. Insidious Rex RE: bhyde Nov 6, 2013 10:33 AM

                    Im glad Im not a beer counter any more. And Im glad Ive had this beer a few times. And it sounds like there wont be a change in output. Just all the stock will be sold through stores rather than some through the brewery. So yeah there will be mark ups but maybe it will diminish the black market a little bit if you have more restrictions on how many you can buy and the cost per item goes up some. Still, sucks for the locals who may have genuinely gotten used to walking down to the brewery and buying a case at cost just so they can drink it. I wonder if this is the wave of the future for over demanded breweries...

                    1. TonyO RE: bhyde Nov 9, 2013 05:48 PM

                      Many of the morons that caused this problem are part of the Nouveau Douche movement............lack of respect, sense of entitlement, and have to be first.....good luck once Mom and Dad kick you out of the basement and take back the keys to the Volvo...you will be drinking Natty Light........

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