Though I still believe that the issue with prices is not much more than a fictitious controversy, mainly because nobody is under any obligation to buy a beer they consider too expensive, there are some attitudes by brewers and sellers that bother me. For example, this:
This quote is very similar to the one that closes the "I'm a Craft Beer Drinker" video (that seems to feature more sellers than drinkers), "Life is too short to drink cheap beer". Both are perversions of originals where the word "Cheap"has replaced "Bad". This way, the authors of "I'm a Craft Beer Drinker" (seller?) and the poster above (signed by a brewery) are openly implying that cheap beer is bad and, therefore, only expensive beer is good.
I've got no problem if brewers (and sellers) try to convince me that the price of their products (or services) is fair, that it's related to the quality, even if they justify it with abstract added values, but this is disrespecting the intelligence of the consumer. Instead of at least trying to explain me the reasons why their beers cost what they cost, they employ dishonest rhetoric tricks.
Anyone with a modicum of a well traveled palate will know very well that there are not few beers of moderate to low price that are excellent, or that at least have an excellent price/quality ratio, just as they will know that there are not few beers with high to insane price that are quite poor, or at least have a quite poor quality/price ratio; and this is something also producers and sellers know very well (or at least they should).
On the other hand, of the above mentioned rhetoric atrocities, the one that bothers me the most is the video's because it suggest (intentionally or not) that a beer can not be "craft" it it's not expensive.
It's funny, we often see so called "craft brewers" talking about innovation, envelop pushing, creativity, thinking outside the box, breaking barriers, taking beer to another plane of existence and whatnot. All very nice, yeah, but this bollocks hardly ever, if at all, mentions prices and value and yet, it is almost always received with open arms by an audience that seems to have lust part of their capacity for critical thought.
The other day, my friend Chris Lohring, owner of Notch Brewing, said in this interview, "Nothing makes one more creative than to impose a limitation". The man is right! Though Chris was referring to his brewery's specialization, session beers, those limits he speaks about could easily be prices. It's very easy to pose as a creative innovator when you know that there is a market niche that will run to buy almost whatever silliness you can come up, regardless of price. It's a lot more difficult to find a way to make solid, interesting beers that can be sold at lower prices.
There is people who have managed that. This beer, for example, that is proud to be cheap, or Dougall's in Spain, that has been receiving so much praise for being cheaper (and apparently better) than most. There are many, many more that have this philosophy, but unfortunately, they don't get the attention they deserve.
As always, the cause is on this side of the counter. That loud minority of novelty chasers, who are willing to travel hundreds of kilometres with the promise of being able to taste this or that beer in order to fulfill a detailed intoxication plan, who prefer to spend 10€, or more, on one bottle of a beer they don't know if they'll like instead of spending the same amount on several bottles of beers they already know. As long as the discourse is dominated by them, the gimmick peddlers will multiply, taking space away from those who really honour the noble trade of beer making.
PD: If you are a brewer thinking of posting a detail of your cost to explain your prices, don't bother. The information might be interesting, but it lacks importance. What interests me as a consumer is to get value for my money. If you can't make your beers cheaper, then make them better, if you can't make them better, then fuck off, the market doesn't need you.