Black Tuesday– Apology and More Details

I apologize to everyone who wanted tickets to Black Tuesday and weren’t able to get them. I hope you understand we are a small brewery that is just over two years old, and a release like this is something an organization of our size struggles to get its arms around. In addition, we’ve been consumed lately with opening a new retail store, brewing at capacity, and facing all of the challenges of being a recent startup.

There were 250 tickets available, and we believe around 1,250 people trying to get them. If we had executed perfectly, there would still be unhappy people. We do aim to execute perfectly, and given the circumstances I’m happy with how things went. After hearing from our customers on how it went for them, I hope you’ll trust me in believing we’re not patting ourselves on the back.

We created Black Tuesday, but we did not create the demand for it. That’s all thanks to you guys. Demand is a wonderful thing, but it kinda sucks for everyone when the demand can’t be filled. Perhaps that’s part of the allure of Black Tuesday.

Here’s a list of issues encountered, and my take on them:

— eCommerce Site Issues: Our eCommerce supplier certainly has it’s weaknesses, but it’s the best we can afford. As some have suggested, if we did go through Ticketmaster, the same amount of people who wanted tickets still would not have tickets. I apologize for the several minutes of filling out a form to come short tickets at the end. That does indeed suck, and now we’ll all know that tickets aren’t guaranteed until the entire transaction is complete. I’m relieved after upgrading to a dedicated eCommerce server that it went as smoothly as it did today. Word of advice to other breweries planning releases similar to Black Tuesday: Do not trust your eCommerce provider when they say it can handle the demand of thousands hitting refresh at the same time. Just go with their most expensive plan for a month and cross your fingers.

–Reserve Society: For those disappointed Reserve Society members, I feel badly about the responses we’ve received. I felt we were being fair in allocating 2 bottles, plus the 1 bottle you get with your membership. Reserve Society members are guaranteed to receive Black Tuesday. If Reserve Society members were able to purchase the tickets for the release party first, there would only be Reserve Society members going and we’d be taking flack from everyone else. We’ll announce details soon for a barrel tasting for Reserve Society members in November, and I can assure you Chocolate Rain and Cherry Chocolate Rain (along with a lot of other unusual stuff) will be pouring. I promise it’ll be a fun time.

–Remaining Black Tuesday: We will be releasing more bottles on Oct. 27th through our website. Yes, the same crappy website, so please be prepared to complete your transaction before you find out whether you got any bottles or not. This release will account for the largest amount of bottles sold, but since we haven’t yet bottled Black Tuesday, we don’t know precisely what the bottle count will be.

As great as all of the attention is around Black Tuesday, it has become a curse as well. Today’s events certainly did not enhance our reputation as a craft brewer. Business advisors recommend that we charge according to supply and demand (keep in mind these business advisors don’t follow craft beer too closely). I’d hate to sell Black Tuesday for $50, $80, or even $100 a bottle, even though we probably could and still sell out within a reasonable period. I can imagine what nasty eMails I’d be receiving if that was the case. I feel $30 is a lot of money to pay for a bottle of beer, and it gives me a dirty, uncomfortable feeling inside to think of charging more.

For those who eMailed us today (we received hundreds of eMails, mostly from unhappy people), please be patient as Stef and Kevin get back to you. There are a lot of requests we simply cannot accommodate, so I apologize in advance.

I still feel this is a better way of releasing a beer that has so much demand, but as we all know it still doesn’t fix that demand / supply problem. It does help that “sitting in a dusty, dark alleyway beerless and wondering if you’ll be able to get beer anytime soon” problem.

As the old adage goes, you can’t please everyone. In this case, I don’t think we pleased the majority. Ulcers develop in my stomach as I imagine what next year will bring.

I am blessed to have such great fans and I hope we have the opportunity to win over those who are currently disappointed with us.

Patrick Rue
The Bruery

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