$60 for a beer might not be in your budget. Anyone would be perfectly sane to weigh their options depending on their personal priorities. But the chatter that I see, from consumers and retailers alike, who are associating a $60 beer with some sort of money-grab and exploitation, are severely hindered by their perception of what “beer” costs and ignorance of the many factors at play outside of the direct costs of ingredients. Commodity pricing has no place in a beer of this sort. It’s a once-and-done beer that challenges even the most experienced and efficient brewers in the creation of a viable product for the market. Without the 35-year-old Heaven Hill barrels, or the aging process, or the custom blown glass bottles, or the 20+ years of continuous experience making one of the best imperial bourbon barrel-aged stouts in the world, the product simply doesn’t exist. Like anyone who seeks out a 23-year Pappy, no one is paying a straight cost per ounce — they’re paying to ride that ride. And that’s either something you care about, or you don’t.
I read a lot of beer topics but I try to avoid forums especially around beer trading and valuation because, as Michael knows, there’s a ton of variance in what the value of a beer is. Don’t forget, there are only a few thousand people trading beers and even less trading in the high-end beers like ones you’d pay over $50 on MyBeerCellar for and even fewer that dabble in ‘whales’ and maybe less than 50 people who know anything about the ghost whale game and participate in it.
My point is, if you’re complaining about a $60 beer price that you’ll eventually get to try at a tasting, via a trade or a tap takeover, you’re going to be fine and your issue is pretty much unique to you and a few hundred others. Some people can afford expensive beers and most don’t bother or just don’t know about them. The All Day IPA drinker doesn’t trade six $20 beers away for a BCS Rare.