Is the Hill Farmstead 2013 Collected Works worth it? Enough people to fill the estimated 150 slots (Correction, 50 slots) have already answered yes and have entered their names into a lottery to be able to purchase their package. So, for them it is worth it and they arrived at this conclusion with or without math but I’m interested in my own analysis. Will I buy a package should I have the opportunity to? Yes and so will my girlfriend, Elizabeth. She is excited as I am but we are only 1.5 hours from the brewery so there are far more worthy individuals who will most likely randomly be picked. Either way, I did some math before throwing my name in the hat.

The Internet Argument: On the Internet, no one has time to apply a lot of logic to a problem because they want to beat the next guy to posting. So, $350 for 12 bottles of beer, “That’s $29.16 per bottle! No thanks!!!”

Okay, so now that the Internet has had their say, let’s apply some math. Below are the quoted prices for Hill Farmstead releases from now through the end of the Collected Works program. Prices are subject to change and some bottles may not arrive on the date promised or at all. I was surprised when Shaun published such an extensive list so well in advance.

  • *Biere de Norma. 20$
  • Double Barrel Damon: 20$
  • *Phenomenology of Spirit:  375ml. 10$.
  • Spontaneously Fermented Ale. 20$
  • Hill Farmstead/Jackie O’s/Crooked Stave: Release #1: 12$.
  • Flora w/ Satsuma Mandarins: 15$
  • *Flander’s (style) Red: 12$.
  • Civil Disobedience #6: 15$
  • *Flora: 375ml 10$
  • *Genealogy of Morals: 15$
  • *Damon: Bourbon Barrel 15$
  • Damon: Port Barrel 15$
  • Civil Disobedience #7: No Price – Assumed $15
  • Everett: Bourbon Barrel Aged Treatments: No Price – Assumed $15
  • Madness and Civilization15$

These bottles will be available to members to pick from. All bottles with asterisks are required and the member can pick an additional 6 of the 9 remaining for a total of 12. (I can’t stress enough this list may change. If you’re reading this in August of ’13, it probably has)

To make this easy, I determined the average price of each bottle to be at $15 (technically 14.933 repeating) so, at 12 bottles to each member, it’s a cost of about $180 in liquid. This is the reason you are all signing up, right?

Also included:

  • Hand Crafted Wooden Crate/Box
  • Automatic Right of first Refusal to the next round of Collected Works
  • Entrance (admit 1) to the Festival of Farmhouse Ales on August 10th, 2013
  • Other assorted good things to be determined

Let’s discuss this box. Some people said the same comments about Lost Abbey’s Track 1-12 box. It’s a beautiful box, well made and very customized with some nice extras. It wasn’t handmade at least how we define it by Vermont standards. It was probably made in a factory and then customized. I’m not degrading LA’s box, just saying that compared to what Darren will build, it’s not the same. You should go check out Leaning Maples on Facebook. Actually, here is a photo of what may be the final product you’ll receive as a member. Darren Hill (Shaun’s brother) makes these boxes just a few feet from the brewery all by hand. It’s amazing the work he is doing and, any homeowner that has bought a handmade coffee table knows the price involved. At retail, I imagine these cost $100 each. We can call it $50 if that makes you happy but really, these are time consuming to make even though this will be a highly debated statement.

First Right of Refusal. The program may not grow beyond 150 next year so this is highly critical. Ask anyone who bought beer at HIll Farmstead just 12 months ago how easy it was to get HFS beers and they will tell you the lines for releases and 3 hour growler fill waits were not as crazy just 12 months ago. The Damon, Mimosa and Flora release in January of 2012 was tiny compared to today. The brewery will only become more popular and I personally put a lot of value for being able to continue my membership throughout the next few years for what may be a very small membership that grows slowly each year (more slowly than the demand for HFS beers)

Festival of Farmhouse Ales was $30 in 2012 and the smallest of all of the HFS Festivals. It was an intimate festivals that lacks long lines and focuses on farmhouse beers. The guest bottles were very impressive. It’s mine and my GF’s favorite event of the year. The 2013 price will be $70 per person (source).

Assorted goods: I imagine there will be a T-Shirt. Maybe not? So, in my mind, I kept this at $20

Total Estimated Cost:

  • Beer: $180
  • Box: $50 – $100
  • Right of Refusal: Priceless 🙂
  • Festival: $70
  • Goodies: $20
  • Total = $280 – $330

So, overall, this still seems in line. $350 – $400. However, for a small brewery like Hill Farmstead with 3 employees, the most tremendous and awesome part of the effort is the following:

Hill Farmstead will store the beer at a very low temperature for all members from March – August and manage the collecting of money (don’t forget that any service they use will take a 10% or more fee just to run credit cards) and the administrative work of handling the memberships and taking count on what specific bottles each member would like.

 I think when you break this down into a mathematical view and include the extras, the overall value of this is great. I’m not going to go into what it would cost in gas to go from Boston to Hill Farmstead for all 12 bottle releases but it would be much more than simply signing up for this. If you’re like me and you’re a fan of the IPAs and regular releases, well this may not be a great value because you’re already spending the gas money.

I hope to get access to this and believe that the value is there. Too many people are simply dividing 12 into $300 and feel like they’re overpaying. If you feel that way, come to each and every HFS release this year and realize that you pay a lot more in gas and time than buying this and coming up.

In closing and as I started with, if you are on the fence or don’t think this is worth it, don’t worry because someone else will gladly take your spot.