03 December 2010

"Most Expensive Retail Beer"? Nope..........

Some recent blog traffic and beer-forum postings erupted on the Internet over an Australian brewery's supposed claim to the "Most Expensive Beer" in the world, Nail Brewing's Antarctic Nail Ale, selling the first of only 30 500-ml bottles produced at auction for $800.

Ignore this.  Left out of the hubbub are some very pertinent facts that disqualify this supposed "record":

1) The first-cited record has already been broken: the second bottle auctioned went for $1,850, and a third for $1,200.

2) The dollars are Australian, not American,  The conversion amounts to US$783, US$1,811, and US$1,185 as of today, meaning that the first auctioned bottle broke the US dollar price of BrewDog's twelve "The End of History" bottles by a mere $18.  Of course, the second auction just blows the record out of the North Sea completely.

3) It's a freakin' charity fundraiser, not retail.  The bottles are being auctioned to raise money for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization whose stated mission is "to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species."  So of course people are going to throw money at it for a good cause, not because the contents are worthy of such spending.  Never underestimate the willingness of people to bleed their hearts, especially for nature.  (I have a flashback of Doonesbury's Boopsie screaming to B.D. in an early strip, "Did you hear me?  Baby ducks!!!")
I wonder what BrewDog would have garnered for their 12 "End of History" bottle-stuffed taxidermy projects had they auctioned them for the benefit of a selected charity.  (I highly doubt the RSPCA would have been interested in the proceeds.)

But, hey, more power to Nail Brewing for milking extreme-beer mania for a good cause. Now, how long before someone posts tasting notes on one of the beer-rating sites?

By the way, if you love the Sea Shepherd cause and/or need to brag, feel free to bid on the next bottle Nail Brewing has put up for auction. #3.  One wonders if the price will increase what with worldwide opportunity to get in on the bidding, though no information on the legality of overseas purchase is given in the listing.  Note that the lot is being offered by the Sea Shepherd Society, not the brewery.  (Sorry, they can't ship it to Maryland, you know.  Pesky state laws, and all that.)