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The Ebay Wrap Up

It’s been a couple of weeks since my Last Call article was published in Beer Advocate. It was a soap box based piece that Jason and Todd Alstrom let me publish without editorial intereference. I have mad respect for them letting it go to print as it was originally authored. It was the least edited peice I have ever written.

There has been a tremendous reaction to this Op/ Ed piece. In many ways, it served the purpose that was intended. I wrote a lightning rod column hoping it would spark conversation about beer. I think it’s a safe bet to say that the article did its job.

I have followed the threads from the beginning on BA and even over at Ratebeer as well. The range of responses was impressive. Some sympathized with my position. Others felt it was just legalese I should ignore. There was also a strong contingency who felt that I was so off the mark and called it misguided ire. It appears that a healthy dialogue was engaged by all.

Now that the conversation has died down and most have spoken their peace, I thought I would take a moment to reflect and offer why I wrote the piece and what I was hoping to acheive.

Yes, it’s true our beer is a commodity that “can” be resold and even traded. Is it legal to sell beer on Ebay? I’m not a lawyer and nor do I play one on TV. But I am an incredibly passionate brewer who takes an enormous amount of pride in what I do. So tell me how I am supposed to NOT be offended by the language of these auctions?

The piece was authored for Beer Advocate. It was my intention to point out the innadequacies of Ebay beer based auctions. Help me understand how we’re collectively Advocating Beer if we continue to allow these auctions to take place. Maybe, it’s your position we’re Advocating Beer by offering it to consumers who can’t normally attain these bottles? Maybe it’s something else? I don’t know. Many of you felt compelled to tell me so.

Last fall, numerous auctions of our beer were added to Ebay each day. And with each and every auction, the standard legalese headers accompanied the resale of our beers. No where else in the world do these taglines accompany the sale of our beer. Not even our government with all of its infinite wisdom applies such conditions to the sale of our beer. So yes, I take umbrage with language and conditions required to “legally” sell our beer on Ebay.

I’m not Naive. I ”get” the cover your ass function they serve. But since they aren’t required for me to sell my beer, then I don’t ”have” to be ok with them. I may be the only one on this soap box which is fine by me. I just get sick and tired of reading those silly conditions.

I appreciate all the responses from my letter to Ebay. It’s great to see enthusiasm for beer everywhere. There’s a saying about opinions and assholes and how everyone has one. And now that I’ve gotten this off my chest, we can go back to enjoying beer for what it is. A damn fine libation and not some incidental liquid.

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