Mike Bristol Responds to Price Jacking Question


The other day we posted a series of questions about the dilemma or non-dilemma of liquor stores jacking up the prices of Bristol’s Venetucci fundraising community ale. The topic, originally brought up by the UpaDowna folks, is certainly one that deserves some consideration. Is it okay for a shop to raise the prices of a beer where 100% of profits are going to Venetucci Farms, if in fact they are simply profiting off that beer. Browse the links above to see/participate in the discussion…
Mike Bristol talking with Grant and Isaac.
We invited Mike Bristol, of Bristol Brewing, to respond. Here’s what he says:

The issue that they bring up is interesting. It would be naive of us to think that all of our liquor store customers would support the same causes that we do and would be perfectly aligned with our philanthropic goals. The fact is that
most of them do really great things in our community and have a variety of interests and perspectives on what is important to them and their neighborhoods (some of them do contribute their profits to the farm). It’s hard for me to argue that the organizations that we support through our Community Ales program are more important than the variery of causes that they support. I would love to see reasonable pricing throughout the market, but each store has the right to price as they see fit and each store has a unique set of business requirements and challenges that play into their pricing decisions. We at Bristol love our liquor store customers for their support of great local beer and our community at large – it is the local liquor stores that have given us the opportunity to be successful and be able to do things like the Community Ales program. In the end, liquor store owners answer to their customers, just as we do – the customer has the ultimate power by shopping where they feel comfortable.

I’m a little troubled by the thought of confusing customers with the concept of “100% of profits going to the farm” – it has never come up before and we certainly weren’t thinking of other business’ profits when we implemented the Community Ales program. Our commitment is to donate our profits from the beer to the farm, but it was never our intention to confuse or to speak for our liquor store customers and their commitment to our causes.

I hope that gives you a little perspective into our thoughts on the subject.

Ultimately I share these same sentiments and it makes perfect sense. To the people who are troubled that bottle shops are profiting off this beer, you can simply look elsewhere for the beer or spend your money at Bristol instead. In the end I believe the fact that some shops play into the buzz creates more attention both for Bristol and for Venetucci Farm. Were it not for Bristol’s beer I would have never even known about the farm (or maybe would have been much slower to learn about it), and I do support it here and there when possible because I am more familiar with it.

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  1. Jimmy

    Reasonable pricing through the market is driven by demand. When the beer is unavailable, that means that demand is outpacing supply, and the scarcity should be reflected by a price increase.
    Ultimately, the consumer’s decision to buy a beer at “profiteering” levels still means that consumer values the beer more than the money they are spending. And so too the seller of the beer values the money more than the beer at that price. It’s value added for every person down the consumption chain.
    Bristol and Venetucci Farms could presumably take a greater portion of the market price for the charitable causes by selling at higher wholesale, becuase the market price gives individual store owners a handsome sum. That price margin is going to be captured somewhere in the commerce chain. It’s not profiteering, its the market determining reasonable prices. That said, I STILL can’t find it on the shelves!! It’s probably still UNDERPRICED!

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