Black market beer

This story at the Washington Post has gotten some people talking lately.

My first thought: It’s weird to see a shadow economy for a product that is legal.

My second thought is: this is why travel is important. You gotta go there to understand certain things, like how Guinness just tastes better in Dublin than it does anywhere else. Experience is a good thing and we rarely get it by sitting by our computers, ordering it online.

Now, while a few people have said that this is just the natural extension of a free market, and there’s a not-quite-thought out (to me) suggestion that breweries just charge more for the beer-not thought out because you want to pay more for something? What?
There’s also the flip side; one that I especially enjoy in it’s phrasing by Bill, that:

Since it can’t predict anything, but can only rationalize what happened, this efficient-market model that modern Americans apply to everything has much more in common with religion than with science.

I like that because of the way money is generally regarded in our culture and the thought of economists as high priests working out tenants of a world that doesn’t quite exist pleases me. Plus, it matches up a bit with what I think economists actually know, which isn’t much.

No offense to the economists out there, it’s just that much of what I’ve read and experienced about your discipline suggests that it’s got a long way to go and frequently attempts to divorce itself from human behavior when it attempts to predict things and since economies are run by people that has always seemed like a pretty quirky flaw.

All that aside, Bill Schneller really hits it on the head in the comments of Beervana, I think.

Now, I don’t find anything really wrong with people reselling beer, in the same way that I don’t have an issue with ticket scalpers on a small scale. Fighting against that is like wrestling the tide; you’ll look stupid and get tired. People want beer they can’t get and someone is willing to abuse eBay’s system to get it to them. There are probably many ways to fix this but until that happens, the shadow economy thrives as music and book sellers are finding out.

I do take issue with people being assholes though, as at the end of the the WP story:

Last September, Russian River released Framboise for a Cure, a raspberry-flavored beer that it sold for $12 per bottle to raise money for a local breast cancer treatment center. The beer sold out in a day, and soon somebody sold a bottle on eBay for $400. Then someone else put one up for sale. “We contacted that person,” Cilurzo says, “and we said, ‘This is absolutely ridiculous, because we donated 100 percent of this for charity.’”

The person selling this beer might’ve been legal but I still think he’s a chode. Being a chode comes back to you, eventually.

Also; maybe people ought to relax and enjoy what they have instead of what they wish they had.

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