Got Beer? Got All the Beer?

Beer hoarding sounds like a term for a severe alcoholic, but in reality, it refers to people who scramble madly to every liquor store they can find to buy them out of whatever trendy beer has come along.

In some cases, it’s understandable. For instance the Heady Topper produced by the Alchemist in Vermont is a much beloved and coveted brew that is ranked among the top IPAs in the country. Some people wait in line to buy entire cases at a time and run them back to RI. These long-distance beer runs are actually fairly common. In some places where the beer is much loved, but unavailable, people have been known to go to great lengths to get it. Before Yeungling was available in RI, some people would go on long road trips to pick up cases and friends of theirs would chip in for a share of the score.

But there’s an ugly side to beer hoarding. When a new brew appears in the world, especially if it’s a limited release, the beer hoarders can ruin the party for everyone else.

When Narragansett’s Autocrat Coffee Stout came out, it was only a limited release, and the entire state ran out of supply in less than a week. Beer hoarders contributed to this problem by taking entire cases. It strikes me as a bit selfish, personally, though I do understand the desire to grab what you can while you can.

Grey Sail’s Captain’s Daughter recently experienced a similar phenomenon. While not a “limited” release in that they won’t ever make any more, the fact that it’s a double IPA and only available for a limited time caused beer hoarders to go wild. Stores were selling out so fast that people were going to social media to search for a store that might have some.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s an excellent double IPA, but I find the fervor over this brew is a bit excessive. I mean, it’s great that Grey Sail is enjoying the runaway success, but one should never have to hunt for a good beer because some people have this bizarre need to fill their fridge with the rarest of the rare in order to impress their friends.

And yes, of course I’d love to have a fridge stocked with Captain’s Daughter or Heady Topper, but I’m not so maniacal as to deprive dozens of people their chance to taste these great brews just so I can look like a big man. Yes I have a runaway ego, but I’m not a bastard. I’d rather just take my humble four-pack, enjoy it, and let others try and enjoy these amazing beers.

Being a collector of fine, rare beers is perfectly fine. I own several special limited bottles that I’ll crack open in celebration of good times or to commemorate special days. But I own, perhaps, a single bottle, not entire cases that I keep tucked away in a basement somewhere.

I guess what I’m saying is that some people really need to learn to share. I’m not bitter or anything; I usually get a taste of all the latest and the greatest in one way or another. I’ve just seen people absolutely crushed that they missed out on something special while, 30 feet away, someone is trying to shove four cases of a rare beer into the back of their Range Rover.

So remember: Share the wealth. We would all like a taste of the good stuff.

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