Craft beer lovers are a hearty bunch. We love good beer and go to great lengths to acquire it. A four hour drive just to get a four pack of a delicious beer is nothing for many of us. The thrill of the hunt is the main force. One thing that stops many of us in our tracks is a line and it has become a standard sight for many brewery releases.
The benefit of the craft beer boom has been the ever increasing stores and bars that have begun carrying the delicious nectar. However, not all breweries have their beers distributed or available outside of the brewery, this is not due to a lack of trying but to limitations on capacity in the brew house.
Breweries want as many people as possible to sample their beers. For some it is not possible to reach a wide audience through national distribution. Other breweries have the problem of high demand outreaching the ability of supply.
Breweries such as Tree House, Hill Farmstead, and The Alchemist have long faced the issue of extremely high demand. The breweries all started relatively small but before the natural growth could fully settle in many of their beers became extremely sought after. But, there are troubles that can arise from high demand.
For years, the aforementioned breweries frequently have had long lines at the brewery doors as eager drinkers waited to get their hands on their allotment of beer. These breweries typically have a limit on the amount of beers that a single patron can purchase. Some sell out within an hour or two of being released.
Craft beer lovers love good beer but, even more so, they love sharing that good beer. This is a sight that is easily noticed while waiting in line for a great beer release. While some lines will require a three- or four-hour wait time, the time flies by. Those waiting in line often bring along some beer to share with others.
This camaraderie is what has helped to spread the word about great beers and breweries. While some breweries are unable to get beers released to a wider audience, locals always bring some along and thus begins the grassroots spreading of delicious beers.
All brewery releases that have fans clambering for beer is not always from smaller breweries. Large giants like Goose Island release their Bourbon County line each year with huge lines of fans waiting eagerly. Many other breweries also have released beers that are a bit more limited than their standard offerings. Breweries such as Cigar City, Funky Buddha, Russian River, and a slew of others offer beers that are limited in release and delicious, which have fans lining up to score a bottle or two if possible!
The idea of waiting in line is never a pleasant one. But, sometimes the mere act of waiting in line is a huge part of the enjoyment of something. We have all at one point waited in line eagerly for concert tickets, late night first screenings of movies, or even the bathroom! Very often the time spent waiting added to the enjoyment of the experience.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.