*I actually wrote this post before checking out the raw data on these two beers from RateBeer and Beer Advocate. I think this info is good to start with and it reinforces the picture much better*
Cantillon Saint Lamvinus: Aged in oaken Burgundy wine barrels.
- RateBeer: 3.95/5.00 with 704 Ratings
- Beer Advocate: 97/100 with 395 Ratings
Cantillon Fou’ Foune: Apricot lambic
- RateBeer: 3.94/5.00 with 677 Ratings
- Beer Advocate: 98/100 with 347 Ratings
The demand and hype over Cantillon’s Apricot Lambic (Fou’ Foune) is very high. If I were to post a beer haul blog post of 4 bottles of it, there would be comments of people freaking out and messages to me asking to trade it. I post photos of Saint Lamvinus and there’s crickets. It’s just another Cantillon variant. Why is this? Both beers, in my opinion, are very close in taste and and price. The two beers are similar in that one requires many cartons of fresh ripened apricots to be placed in barrels and the other sees the inclusion of grapes and is placed in burgundy barrels. The bottle yield may be much different but maybe not?
The story as far as I’ve heard it is that Fou’ Foune was almost not made again. Demand for the product shot through the roof and it became a regularly yearly Fall release. The demand has never stopped and there is still a standard yield of around 3,000 bottles globally. This makes it more rare.
However, looking at the review data, it seems that these two beers are VERY close. Both score within a point of each other and with similar ratings of each. A for trade thread of Saint Lamvinus versus Fou’ Foune are completely different levels of offers.
It must be the bottle count. That’s the only thing I can figure. I’ve netted between 9-13 bottles of Saint Lamvinus this year. Fou’ Foune? Only 1 bottle + 1 case on its way from a friend. So that’s 7 and the case offer almost didn’t happen.
Maybe Jean Van Roy should stop making Saint Lamvinus for a year and then Fou’ Foune would suddenly be less rare. Ratings don’t tell everything but these beers are closely matched. It just comes down to availability. I doubt Lambic from Cantillon will ever be a shelf beer in the US again so this sort of rarity will only get bigger. There are simply too many beer geeks fighting over the bottles.
Personally, it’s just beer. I sent a Saint Lamvinus and some Heady Topper to a friend in the mid-west for some cans of Surrly Furious and a bottle of Darkness. $4$, right?