December Bottle Release / New Release Format

December Bottle Release

We are pleased to announce that we are switching to a new bottle release format starting with this month’s release.

Here are the details right off the bat, followed an explanation of the new release format and the reasoning behind the switch.

Online Pre-Sale begins on Wednesday, December 19th at Noon (MST) and runs until Thursday, December 20th at 11PM (MST). However, everything is first come, first served so I would recommend signing on as close to the start as possible.

We will be releasing four different bottles this month (along with a small amount of vintage beer TBD):
-STARGATE² - Double-fruited variant of the spirit barrel aged STARGATE series - 750mL - $36
-EJECTOR: Simcoe/Enigma - 750mL - $24
-EJECTOR: CTZ/Centennial - 750mL - $24
-JETTISON: Tempranillo/Malbec/Raspberry - 750mL - $26

All listed prices include 8% sales tax and applicable fees from the online purchase system. Bottle limits are TBA on the sale of the sale.

Since this month is crazy for everyone, we’ve decided to extend the bottle pick-up window. Instead of one weekend, the bottles can be picked up in the tasting room starting Friday, December 21 at 2PM, and the window will extend for two weekends and the short Christmas week, until December 30th at 8PM. Please note that we are closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

In summary:
-Sale Begins: Wed 12-19-18 @ Noon
-Sale Ends: Thurs 12-20-18 @ 11pm
-4 New Release Bottles (see above) + some limited back-catalog surprises
-First Come, First Served; Limits TBA; Proxies ARE Allowed
-Pick-up Begins: Fri 12-21-18 @ 2pm
-Pick-up Ends: Sun 12-30-18 @ 8pm
-Pick-up in only during tasting room hours. We will be closed on the 24th and 25th

Thoughts on a New Bottle Release Format
A little over one year ago we moved our retail bottle sales to primarily an online lottery format. While I think the system has worked relatively well, I’ve decided that for a number of reasons, it is time to once again revisit the best way to get our bottles into the hands of the public. Our goal has always been to be able to allow as many fans as possible to acquire our bottles, no matter where they live, while also respecting our local / tasting room supporters, and finally - respecting everyone’s time.

The feedback we have received over the last 12 months is that perhaps the online lottery system is not necessarily the best value for our customers’ investment of effort. I think that as we have taken a step back and looked at the process it adds an unnecessary amount of confusion, tracking of dates, and overall time taken from the customer in order to get (possibly) a single bottle of beer. For quite some time we have been ruminating on how best to make the bottle purchase system easier and less confusing. The first effort we made towards making the process easier has been enlisting the help of Craftpeak to put a voucher and customer management system in place. This has been a huge help, but the underlying issues of a lottery format (enter, wait, selection, purchase, wait, pick-up) are inherent to the system.

So today I am excited to announce the end of the lottery system and the beginning of direct, online, bottle pre-sales. Craftpeak is geared towards this type of system, has assured us they can handle any server demands, and runs the back-end of these types of releases for many great breweries around the United States.

The monthly bottle release will be when new bottles are first made available to the public. This is a direct replacement for the lottery - instead of entering, waiting, winning, and then purchasing, customers will simply log on when the sale opens and purchase. However, unlike the outgoing lottery system, we will also often have additional bottles available on a limited, first come, first served basis. These would be bottles that might be available as an add-on on pick-up day, but are not large enough for a full-blown lottery. We may also pull a few cases of beer from our back-catalog cellar and put those online as well, first come, first served.  

The online voucher format means that a customer, for their efforts, may be able to purchase more than one bottle (either of the main release or by adding additional bottles from a limited batch). We’ve heard time and again that the effort from the lottery and pick-up (especially with a proxy) was simply not worth it for one bottle of beer, and I do think that is a valid criticism. Inevitably some folks will not be able to get online and purchase the bottles before some/all of them sell out - but my view is that if that happens, at least you know vs a lottery where many entrants do not win, but still have to keep the purchase and pick-up “on their radar” for nearly a week until they find out if they won or not.

As with the lottery, ANY vouchers purchased will have to be exchanged for the bottle during a designated pick-up weekend (by either the customer or their proxy).

No system is going to be perfect and there are definite pros and cons to this new system, but after a year of lotteries and thinking about the issues that have arisen from them, I think this new format will be the best way forward.

James Howat

PS: One thing we often hear is that folks want us to “take care of locals.” We definitely agree - we love our Colorado fans! This is why, in addition to the online release system we also have bottles for sale, to go, every single day in the tasting room! We spent nearly a year holding back beer from releases so that we could make this happen, and I’m ecstatic to say that now anyone who comes to our tasting room can take a bottle of Black Project with them when they leave. Additionally, we are very proud of the fact that we typically average ~70% of entries from Colorado residents in our online releases, and I don’t see any reason why the new format would change that.