A Tale of Two Beer Releases

So it has been over two months since Dark Lord Day 2012 and neither Indianabeer.com reporter present at the festivities has anything to say about it yet.  Maybe it is the fear of the Three Floyd’s torch bearers amassing an angry mob and setting out to destroy any human being on the planet who mouths a bad word about the assumed god of beer; maybe it has taken this long to shake the hangover of the festivities as it is a marathon of drinking; or maybe, just maybe, there was not anything really worth writing about it.

Rather than relay the tales of my adventure, I thought it would be better to lend more of a perspective on the run up to the release of Dark Lord in comparison to the release of another Three Floyd’s beer.  This is not a criticism or critique of the brewery, but an observation that I find rather interesting that made the topic click in my head today.

On January 10, 2012, Three Floyd’s offered a blog post simply offering the public the following information, “We’re working on Dark Lord Day details.”  This post on their Dark Lord Day website elicited 19 comments from readers.  I’m not sure an Indianabeer post has ever received that many (but I’m fairly new here so I’m sure I could be wrong).  The aura of Dark Lord is so powerful that radio silence was freaking out people because they hadn’t heard information about an event more than three months away.

On February 13, 2012, www.darklordday.com finally informed the public that the date was set for Dark Lord Day and 59 comments followed.  So we were about two and a half months from the event and some ground rules were offered for those who would be fortunate enough to attend.  March 8 announced ticket sales for St. Patrick’s Day, March 18 announced some brewery ticket sales, March 26 was the band announcement, and April 26 were final ground rules.

This is a beer that has been dubbed by more than one prominent person the best beer in the United States and/or world, so there would be a certain level of pomp and circumstance surrounding its release.  The interesting fact is that this beer is released every year at the same time of year and people have gone to this event every year of its existence.  The odds of procuring a Dark Lord are fairly good.  Even though secondary ticket sales were ridiculously priced and the amount of Dark Lord that flooded eBay and craigslist immediately after the event (and in some cases before the event) were gouging those unable to attend, it is not out of the realm of possibility of obtaining this beer.  Even if you attended Dark Lord Day you were given an allotment of four bottles and could even walk away with a barrel aged specialty beer.

Let’s juxtapose this beer release with another Three Floyd’s release today: Battle Priest. 
“The first all Brett beer from 3 Floyd’s, named Battle Priest, which has been fermented in Pinot Noir barrels is available in 750 mL bottles for purchase today. Limited release today with one bottle per person allotment.”

Dark Lord is a known quantity, Battle Priest is an experiment, a rarity unlike any other, the first release of a beer that may or may not get famous.  This matters not, as Three Floyd’s has already established itself as a brewery that excels in providing beer that is decidedly, “not normal.”  Even if you were a fan of brett beers you would have to expect this wouldn’t taste anything like them.  And if you didn’t like brett beers you would have to expect this wouldn’t taste anything like them. 

Battle Priest’s release was announced over social media at 2:00pm CDT.  By 4:00pm CDT it was sold out.  The rumor is that the amount produced was 480 bottles (or the amount set for release today).  Sight unseen, taste untouched to the tongue, this beer sold out in two hours at the brewery itself to 480 different people.  Can any other brewery pull that off?

I was at work, unable to get close to the brewery and my local guy was out of town and couldn’t snag a bottle for me.  With such a rare gem, and with Three Floyd’s beer notoriously present on the secondary market, I went to eBay and craigslist to find the fetching price.  Nothing.  I got nothing.

Dark Lord is a phenomenon that has grown rapidly and its release takes an enormous amount of effort on the part of the brewery and creates a buzz outside of the beer community that puts Northwest Indiana on the map and brings renowned brewers and chefs into Munster, IN to see a little warehouse tucked in an industrial park that produces wonderful beer.  However, it seems that the cult following of this beer will force any new beer that Three Floyd’s could possibly develop into the hands of only an inner circle of people who follow their every move and flock to the brewery every time there is a hint of anything brewing (pun intended).  My hope is that Battle Priest is a successful brett so that more people will get to enjoy it.  My fear is that people gobble up Three Floyd’s beer just because of who makes it and refuses to share it with anyone they deem unworthy.

4 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Beer Releases

  1. I think you might have seen a lot more on ebay if they would have allotted more than 1 per person. Which isnt a bad thing, because then pochers are not reselling the beer for higher dollar.. just for that.. to make money. 3 floyds doesnt really make hype.. people make hype. I personally like these little one time release in the spur of the moment. It means the locals will have a higher chance of obtaining. Hope people locally will stop complaining to 3 floyds.. otherwise they might be pushed to move to chicago.

  2. Joe, you make a great point regarding locals and Chicago. As a son of Northwest Indiana I take great pride in the fact that Three Floyd's resides in our backyard and would hate to see them flee for bright lights, big city. The problem though is that some locals become fanatics and if you weren't there in the beginning with them (meaning the local consumers), then you don't get to partake. Growth is not necessarily a bad thing.

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