What? How Much? For one can?
What? How Much? For one can?
The Wall of Beer, the four beer fridges and the 200 or so different bottles and cans we now have on the shelves at Wishful have allowed us to dramatically increase the range of beers we stock. So, you will now see dedicated shelf space for Pales, IPAs, Stouts and Porters, Lagers, Fruity, Local, European Style, Weird and Wonderful as well as Ciders of course.
Now, the eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that the Double and Triple IPAs (DIPAs and TIPAs) are missing from the above. It’s ok, relax… we have a shelf for these top-of-the-house beers too. It is a small shelf of just six beers for maybe 3% of all of our beers so they are quite rare, more of which a bit later.
And it is this category of intensely flavoured, high strength (8%+ ABV), passion project beers that best indicate another consequence of Wishful having such a huge selection of beers. The price range for our beers is now much wider too. So, we have a DIPA on the shelves – the peerless and some say almost perfect Putty by Verdant – that is more than £11 a can.
What? How much? For one can? How can you justify that when I can go to the supermarket…
Unashamedly yes, it is for one can. So why do we say that?
Well, there are several reasons.
1. A technical but nevertheless pertinent point – Beer Duty is progressive relative to the strength (ABV %) of the beer i.e.
- More than 1.2% up to 2.8% = 8.42p per litre
- More than 2.8% up to 7.5% = 19.08p per litre
- More than 7.5% = 24.77p per litre
This means that the duty on a litre of 8% beer is around 2.6 times as much as it is on a 4% beer. This is amplified further with the addition of VAT. So typically, total tax (VAT plus Beer Duty) on a 440ml can of 4% beer is approx. 40p but its £1.04 for an 8% beer.
2. More interestingly Craft Beer production is essentially still a cottage industry and so to each of the following points below we can add “and therefore the costs are higher.”
- It is non-mechanised and is labour intensive
- It does not benefit from many economies of scale with typically small and sometimes extremely small batch runs
- The more complicated the beer the more complicated the production processes and the longer the overall production takes
- The more complicated the beer the more high quality, high-cost ingredients are used
- DIPAs and TIPAs are some of the most complex craft beers produced and they use the very very best ingredients, the very freshest, the most in-demand hops and malts, the rarest of yeasts all from most far-flung of places
- DIPAS and TIPAs are high strength and therefore low volume beers – you may well have three or four 4% pales in an evening but that’s unlikely for an 8%er!! So production runs for DIPAs and TIPAs are consequently lower as total literate consumed will be lower
DIPAs and TIPAs are of course designed to be savoured not to be quaffed. They are the antonym of the everyday. They are the perfect, most literal example of something extraordinary. They are a treat, a luxury, they are rare, of limited supply, they might not be here tomorrow. And the ones that are will all have a Best Drink Before advisory date of 3 months or so (before the hops fade) but there are some imbibers who like their DIPAs less “green” and keep them to mature for a while.
So, does all that make a can of Putty worth £11? Well, who can say – that’s really up to you, dear drinker. But maybe we should not think of a can of this nectar as just being a beer. Many of us are happy to pay that much or more for the occasional cocktail – or even a G+T in some places in Ricky – with mainly pre-packaged mass-produced bottled ingredients all with an indefinite shelf life and for a drink which can be less than 8% ABV. Maybe like a cocktail what you are buying with a TIPA or DIPA is an experience not just a drink or a beer. With Putty, for instance, it’s an annual experience with a small quantity released every January – once it’s all been drunk that’s it, until next year.
Beer is the drink of the people for everyone, everyday… but DIPAs and TIPAs… are they just beers? Well, if they are, they are some of the most glorious, succulent, hop rich, flavour bombs of beers that money can buy (when they are available!). Enjoy them when and whenever you can Wishfullers.
PS A few years ago Pressure Drop released an 8.5% DIPA called Bad for Business which sold pretty well and tasted even better!!
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