Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One thing Americans can learn from craft beer in Mexico

A typical beer section in the U.S. (taken from Draft Mag)
Draft Magazine has a new story up about "beer paralysis," the inability to make a decision when shopping for beer. I have experienced beer paralysis on numerous occasions in the U.S., primarily because there are so many choices and many of those choices are fairly expensive. Buying beer becomes an ordeal since it usually takes about an hour to come to a decision when faced with such a wide array of choices. Of course, I can always buy a six-pack of something I know is great (which usually means I just buy a six-pack of something from Deschuttes or Great Divide), but when there are so many craft beers to choose from, I'd rather try something new. The problem is that, in most places in the U.S., you can only buy a six-pack. If the beer happens to be mediocre or terrible, then you are stuck with 5 extra bottles of garbage and just wasted 8-12 dollars.

In Mexico, this is never a problem. Nobody sells craft beer in 6-packs, everything is sold by the bottle. The practical reason for this is that craft beer is fairly expensive here, especially compared to what most people make in a day's work, so sellers are much more likely to make a sale of a few bottles of something unknown to most people rather than expect somebody to fork over 150 pesos on a beer they have never tried. But, I never face beer paralysis in Mexico, because I can just go to any store, buy as many bottles as I want, and mix it up between what I know to be good and a few beers I haven't tried before.

I have been to a few stores in the U.S. that do allow you to make your own six-pack or buy by the bottle, but half the time the only beers available are ones where the employees broke a bottle from a six-pack. Needless to say, this means the individual bottle selection is pretty small. Now that I know the benefits of buying by the bottle, it will be hard to transition back when or if I ever move back to the U.S. Craft beer lovers in the U.S. need to start raising hell and demanding that their favorite beer stores start offering more beers by the bottle. It seems like a win for everyone since more people will be able to try more styles of beer, which is good for the breweries, and it is good for the stores since more customers will become familiar with more of their product.

1 comment:

  1. This was kind of a shock to me when I first went to the states, luckily enough I could get some Stone and Widmer Brothers beers by the bottle, and I also went to some microbreweries and was able to sample some great beers.

    -Anonymous Al