Patrick Rue, Founder of The Bruery (Placentia, CA) responds to the beer community after the announcement of a “Hoarders Society” surfaced. The society is an even more exclusive version of the Reserve Society, at a price tag of nearly $700 dollars. Judging by a lot of the comments on BeerAdvocate.com, not everyone was thrilled. Here’s the thoughts from the man himself. Feel free to sound off too.
Interesting read, good to read all of the opinions on the Hoarders Society. I appreciate all of the feedback.
I’ve been wanting to create several levels of “Society” memberships for awhile now as we have a wide range of customers with varying expectations— those who have extensive beer collections and trade frequently, others who want a a wide variety in smaller quantities of what we have to offer, and customers that fall somewhere in the middle. I’d love to be able to deliver a great experience to a wide range of beer enthusiasts, and I don’t think the best way to do that is exclusively through the Reserve Society. There are certainly all three types of customers in Reserve Society now, and I know we can do better to serve the particular desires of a wide range of customers.
We could not figure out a good way to do this with the available “off the shelf” eCommerce solutions out there, and up to this point having a customized solution that takes a web development company several months to develop and continual maintenance and improvements is outside of our reach financially as a small, growing company. Up to now, we’ve been investing in our capacity, improving our production processes, implementing and improving our retail efforts, and in our staff at the brewery, Tasting Room & Provisions (now totaling close to 60 employees). Improving business systems and processes has been “higher hanging fruit”, but at this point it is very important in the process of becoming the brewery we want to be. We finally have the resources to invest in this, so have so we’ve enlisted a local OC eCommerce development company to put together a solution that makes this possible. I’m very excited about this. We are tailoring the site and the backend processes to make a much more pleasant experience for our members and allow us to do a better job at serving our members. Even Black Tuesday next year (and perhaps this year, if we can get it going in time) will run much smoother with greater server reliability and hopefully we’ll avoid all of the issues in past years. This is a sizable investment, but I know it’s what we need to do.
The Hoarders Society is a way to recognize and cater to our most loyal Reserve Society members, and allows us to brew and sell beers that we wouldn’t otherwise be feasible to make by taking manageable risks with some very expensive ingredients / processes. The 5 exclusive releases included with the membership are very expensive to brew (especially two of them in particular), and at this point we’d have to take big gambles to create enough for the entire Reserve Society. The price we’d have to offer these beers would be well beyond our current top pricing, and frankly I’m not comfortable releasing beers that exceed our current price range. By securing an up front commitment and an established price for these beers, this is the best way to be able to make these beers make sense financially for us and hopefully make sense for many of those invited to join the Hoarders Society. Once we reach our target goal for Hoarders Society, we will not be growing it or adding a membership above and beyond it. Reserve Society is very near to the memberships we’d like as well— we intend to grow it at a much slower pace than we have in the past.