Earlier Monday we told you about Wicked Weed bringing Freak of Nature to cans. That rumor was both exciting & disappointing. Exciting because the Freak needs to be loose in NC. Disappointing because the Freak is bottled — sources told CBR Wicked Weed will be releasing the DIPA in 500ml bottles (around $6-$8 per as we hear it).
Everyone’s been begging for this to happen. Wicked Weed has obviously listened. Or got sick of listening. An ideal world features The Freak sitting right next to the 4-packs of NoDa’s Hop Drop ‘n Roll on your local shelf — what better representation of what North Carolina breweries can do in the world of IPAs, right?
Not to mention, in my opinion, IPAs should be in cans.
I was excited to buy Jade from Foothills ($6.99/bottle at 22 ounces … which is $22.88 a sixpack/$0.32 an ounce) in a bottle when it first came out, but the thrill died down real quick when I had no choice but drink 22 ounces of it at a time. I’d have a 4-pack of 16oz. cans in my fridge of it at all times, though. There’s something drastically different about drinking an entire bomber versus a can (or two or three) that can’t be encapsulated in raw ounces.
Unfortunately, the decision to go w/ 500ml (16.9oz.) bottles doesn’t just temper my excitement, it completely dissolves it.
People consistently complain about a $13 six pack being too expensive. Those same people immediately reach for an $8 bomber. Why?
Quality and ingredients are absolutely part of the equation. I don’t want to ignore that. However, at $6/500ml, a 6-pack of Freak of Nature would cost you $25.56. Ask yourself if you would pick that sixer up off the shelf if you saw that price tag. The answer is no way you would.
But hey, go to bed tonight feeling good about that comforting $5.99 sticker.
Compare that to Bourbon County Stout or KBS. Better yet, compare it to other popular Imperial IPAs like Hopslam or Sucks.
|Format/Price||6-Pack Price||Price per Ounce|
|Freak of Nature *Rumored*||$6 per 500ml||$25.56||$0.35|
|Bourbon County Stout||$21.99 per 4-pack||$32.99||$0.46|
|Kentucky Breakfast Stout||$19.99 per 4-pack||$29.98||$0.42|
|Bell’s Hopslam||$17.99 per 6-pack||$17.99||$0.25|
|Lagunitas Sucks||$10.99 per 6-pack||$10.99||$0.15|
I also don’t want to pick on Wicked Weed or base this argument on a rumor, so let’s look at the real problem I’m trying to highlight:
|Large Format Price||Large Format per Ounce||6-pack Price||6-pack per ounce|
|Stone Enjoy By||$6.99/22oz||$0.32||$14.99||$0.21|
|Ballast Point Sculpin||$9.99/22oz||$0.45||$14.99||$0.21|
|Olde Hickory Death by Hops||$6.99/22oz||$0.32||$13.99||$0.19|
As you can see, all of the above beers get “cheaper” if you get them in a 6-pack format. It’s the same recipe (‘Enjoy By’ may vary slightly?), just less expensive per ounce. Like, WAY less expensive — Sculpin’s difference is mind-boggling.
A disclaimer: I am not in the beer packaging/distribution business. It’s still hard to wrap my head around the fact that breweries can sell 6-packs cheaper per ounce than a larger format. Especially considering a 6-pack is more glass, more caps & more paper (labels & holder). Maybe there’s a good reason for this, or maybe breweries have been enjoying the fact we, for some reason, love grabbing bombers at the store.
Long ago I learned to compare prices at the grocery store using the small “unit price” number on the price tag (you have to really look for it) that lets you compare everything equally no matter the package size.
Perhaps we should all try to do the same at the beer store. At the very least, take it into account when choosing where your dollars go (even if you have to use a calculator in public). The crazy thing about businesses, they either deliver what you demand or they die trying to ignore you.