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What’s next, counterfeit beer?

Love that beerMight one of the side effects of higher beer prices turn out to be counterfeit bottles?

It’s hard to imagine problems similar to those plaguing wine, as outlined at Slate, in the a very long story in The New Yorker, and at Wine Spectator. Even Sammy Hagar is worried about it.

But consider this lengthy conversation about fake barrel-aged bottles of AleSmith beers last week at Rate Beer. In this case we are talking about beer that changed hands in a trade and within a passionate community that has ways to police itself.

But what about when bottles of Stone Epic Vertical come up on eBay? This current auction is offering one bottle each from the first seven releases with a starting bid of $999.99.

Or when somebody buys a bottle of Firestone 10 (Firestone’s anniversary beer released last year for $9.99) for $300?

It might not even be vintage beer. How about bottles from the Trappist monastery Saint Sixtus (Westvleteren)?

As Stephen Beaumont observes in the link above some of the people paying silly-ass prices for these beers don’t even know what they are supposed to taste like.

Although attention in wine has focused on really expensive and collectible bottles, a newly minted website called points out the problem includes more reasonably (this is a relative term) priced wines.

Even though by wine standards all beer is reasonably priced that doesn’t make it immune to the problem.

4 Responses to What’s next, counterfeit beer?

  1. Loren November 6, 2007 at 5:18 am #

    With all the hoopla surrounding Westvleteren’s legendary cult status I’m shocked it took this long to happen.

    Stone 02.02.02 shouldn’t be hard to “mimic” via a homebrew experiment…so…buyer beware!


  2. Stan Hieronymus November 6, 2007 at 6:46 am #

    Stone even provides homebrew recipes for each batch.

  3. Jason November 6, 2007 at 8:53 pm #

    $1000 for the Vertical Epic series? Wow. I got into this beer aging thing a bit too late, I think!

  4. Stan Hieronymus November 7, 2007 at 6:57 am #

    Jason – Watching what you’ve been laying down it looks to me as if you have plenty of choices.

    I guess if you had the early Epics you might feel rich on paper, but you’d end up drinking them, right?

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