Other Breweries That Should Provide a Special Membership
Crooked Stave out of Colorado made headlines this week by offering a cookie cutter clone of The Bruery’s Reserve Society membership program. For those not familiar, for $300.00, you are entitled to super limited release, fancy beers throughout the course of 2012 amongst other perks. It’s a very ballsy move for Crooked Stave, as they are very new, and have not had a chance to shine with beers they are attempting to sell, sight unseen. Still, based on the success of the 3 year old Bruery, there is a decent chance this skyrockets them into premium craft beer stardom, like it did for The Lost Abbey (Sinners and Saints Club) and The Bruery (The Reserve Society).
Personally, I’m not giving into the hype laden temptation, and will try to score some of these bottles on the trading block, only after I hear some of those beers get a good mark from my friends in the beer enthusiast community. All of this talk got me thinking of the business model that The Bruery has had great success with, and that’s providing the die hards with access to the good stuff. There are a few breweries that SHOULD jump on this bandwagon, here are a few I have in mind:
Stone Brewing – This year, Stone unveiled their new barrel aging program, entitled ‘QuingentiMillilitre.’ After Stone fans have been begging for years, Stone made room for a barrel aging program, picked some sweet wine and spirit barrels, and began aging their strong and tasty beer in them. Rather than doing the typical line up at 6am routine that many breweries do, they did a lottery-for-charity-right-to-purchase for the first release, Kona Coffee Macadamia Nut Coconut Porter Aged in Bourbon Barrels, and that was well received by fans, then they did a buy-our-book-for-the-right-to-buy-our-beer gimmick, in which purchasing The Craft of Stone Brewing would entitle you to purchase one of the barrel aged versions of Old Guardian Barleywine. That wasn’t as well received as the charity lottery. If Stone could structure a ‘QuingentiMillilitre’ membership program, I would gladly clunk down $200-300 for the right to a Barrel Aged Version of IRS, Double Bastard, Highway 78, Old Guardian, Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans,and 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. We know Stone hits those beers out of the park, so it would easily give Stone a boost of revenue for all their 2012 expansion projects.
Cigar City Brewing – I always think of Cigar City and The Bruery as cousins. They do the big belgian bottles filled with experimental beer, with similar price points. The main difference from my perspective, is they do more tasty dark beers and less Belgian ales, which works out better for my sweet tooth. I would gladly fork over $200-300 for an allotment of Hunahpu’s, Barrel Aged Hunahpu’s, Marshall Zhukovs, Final Push, Imperial Milk Porter, and all the baller ass collaborations they do each year, and whatever else they have up their sleeve. For a guy in California, I would definitely try to find a Florida mule, so I can be sure I try all these amazing beers that I usually have to over trade for.
Russian River – This is a tricky one. I’ve been told countless times by Vinnie that supply does not meet demand, and they are maxed out. With that said, if they could harness the annual Pliny the Younger fury into something that will help Vinnie pay back his loans, and would allow for actual bottles of PtY (as opposed to black market growlers and hand bottles), they could charge double, and no one would even blink. A Russian River membership program would consist of 1 3 Litre magnum, 2 x of each of their flagship sours (Consecration, Temptation, Supplication, Sanctification) along with Beatification and Framboise for a Cure. Add in a club only beer or two. Have $25 of each membership go to breast cancer, and make it shippable for California members only. That would sell out quicker than any other beer club out there.
Jackie O’s – Jackie O’s is a very young brewery like Crooked Stave and The Bruery, and have a similar experimental lineup. They are out in the middle of no where, and people travel quite a while just to hit up a bottle release. The audience is there, the special beers are there, so this seems like a slam dunk. I’d rattle off suggested beers for them, but they are pumping new ones out too quick for me to decide on them. Pretty much anything they do could be tee’d up into a $200-$300 membership.
Upland Brewing – I would call this the Midwest Lambic Society. Sure, it’s not technically Lambic, but they are more famous for making fruit sours than their non-sour flagship lineup. Like Jackie O’s, they are kind of out there in terms of travel, so knowing that you can get your hands on a year worth of their sours would be great. While I haven’t enjoyed every single sour they’ve made, I’ve enjoyed quite a few, and would love to try all of them. This would make that happen.
I’m sure I’m missing a brewery that would be a prime candidate for this, and there’s always hope for Sinners and Saints to return, so please feel free to make your dream suggestion in the comments section below.