For the uninitiated, Abraxas is an imperial stout from Perennial that’s brewed with ancho chili peppers, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and cinnamon sticks. It holds ratings hovering around perfect on most beer rating websites. It’s delicious, extemely limited and highly anticipated every year. Its release date each year was dubbed “Abraxas Day” and resulted in beer shares, long lines and beer trades galore. This year, likely due to recent events at other releases, they went in a different direction with their release strategy.
October 15, 2015 will go down in butthurt history. Today is that day and a special day it was to be. Perennial Brewing Company had decided to forego the usual way of releasing Abraxas (stand in line on Abraxas Day with money in hand) in favor of an online ordering system to secure tickets. If you’re not hip to the interwebs, they still let you stand in line for one night only, last night, with money in hand to secure a ticket the old fashioned way.
So, this morning at 9am central, hundreds thousands of people from STL and all over the country (world maybe?) logged on to brownpapertickets.com to try and secure their guaranteed allotment: 2 bottles of Abraxas, 1 bottle of Coffee Abraxas and a reusable carrying bag that holds four bottles of beer. Anyone with a limited knowledge of servers or anyone who read the title of this article can make an educated guess at to what happened within seconds of the clock striking 9. Yeahhh…Brown Paper Tickets crashed. Specifically, the checkout process on the site wasn’t allowing people to pay for the tickets they added to their cart. Expectedly, folks took to social media to voice their displeasure (I won’t post screenshots because there were too many and I’m not trying to put specific people on blast).
Perennial was aware of the issue and to their credit, let everyone know they were working on a fix:
AND let them know when the issue was resolved:
That didn’t stop the displeasure on Facebook, Twitter, Brown Paper Tickets and anywhere else people were able to furiously type comments. The comments ranged from simple disappointment to an all out rage sesh on how Perennial chooses to operate its business. Some brave folks even took to these forums to address the people that were over-the-top angry and miraculously, reminding people that real humans work at these places and had no ill intent actually calmed people down:
While I don’t blame people for being upset, Perennial’s choice to do the release differently seems, at least in some part, like it was forced upon them by the behavior of adults in their release lines. The fact that they said “no proxies” multiple times in their release announcement shows that they were looking out for the good folks in STL over everyone else:
Proxies or “mules” are people who stand in line on behalf of out-of-towners or people that can’t make the release and they are bad for the craft beer community. Standing in line and meeting people with mutual interests is half the fun of a bottle release. Putting an uninformed proxy in line for a beer release would be like sending me to stand in line for tickets to Joey Fatone’s solo tour. After hours of waiting, I will hate everyone around me and probably steal keys to the nearest piece of construction equipment so I could put it in drive and lay in front of it to end my misery.
Does it suck for some people? Yes. Will Perennial undoubtedly find an alternate solution if they do a release online in the future? Yes. So for now, be grateful if you got a ticket and if you weren’t one of the lucky ones, it’s still going to be hitting shelves next month so be on the lookout. For everyone out of town, you’d better get a good trade together or find a dope willing to be your proxy at Schnuck’s or something.