I think when I tell people that I trade beer as a hobby the most common question that I get is, “that’s actually a thing?” To the folks who have not been indoctrinated into the sweet, fuzzy glow that is beer trading, I totally get it. The whole thing does sound rather absurd…
- I want your beer, you want my beer. Let’s chat about it online through random message boards.
- I agree to send you expensive, sometimes irreplaceable bottles without every meeting you or knowing if you are going to stiff me.
- I send my box through a parcel service where it could be destroyed during shipping, or pulled off the truck for violating shipping policies for alcohol.
- I hope that when your package does finally reach me that you have reciprocated with “extras” of the same quality that I sent.
- After the transaction is complete, it is very unlikely that we will ever interact again.
This whole process sounds like the makings of a potentially bad date. Jumping blindly into a situation with the hopes the other person is what they say they are, or, in this case, delivers what they say they will. However, I think that this risk/reward truly adds to the overall rush of the experience and can easily turn a hobby into an obsession.
The beer trading scene operates with the same ebb and flow patterns of the stock market. Trade value of certain beer can sky rocket during the “IPO” phase and just as quickly tank with the release of information of high bottle counts. As is true with the NASDAQ, rarer, hard-to-find beers fetch more while beers with higher bottle counts (albeit delicious) aren’t as attractive to those that are looking to deal. I’ll talk a little more about the “Supply vs. Demand” model in a future post but it’s a great way to describe the basic principles of beer trading to the uninformed, or perhaps uninterested.
Many of you reading this have probably dabbled in trading in some form or the other, whether you knew it or not. You might be a seasoned veteran on the Beer Advocate circuit or you might have had your cousin Mike from Florida bring you a case of Yuengling for Thanksgiving and you reciprocated with a 12-pack Schlafly sampler. Regardless of your experience, that feeling when you obtain those hard-to-obtain gems is the same.
It’s these stories, experiences and knowledge that I am looking to share with the Saint Brewis community. Some “Beer Trading 101” information will be shared for the newbies and buzz about the latest and greatest St. Louis “whales” for the seasoned. If you have an idea for a post, or just want to chat about the worst date you have ever been on, leave your comments below.