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The wages of microbrewing

It’s no longer all that unusual to see single bottles listed for over $65 not only on restaurant menus, but in certain bars, too. But perhaps the best evidence that craft beer has gone completely haute is something even the savviest consumers might find surprising: a black market.

All of the factors that motivate black markets — scarce supply, high demand, and people willing to skirt the rules to make a buck — are present in the case of craft beer.

The frenzy is fed by brewers who have elevated their practices to new heights of technical sophistication and an audience willing to fork out incredible amounts of money for small-run beers. The obsessive rankings of crowdsourced beer websites like and may look like democracy at work, but the new national beer scene offers proof that the wisdom of crowds can sometimes spill over into collective insanity.

Having covered the craft beer industry worldwide since the 1990s, I thought I’d seen it all — but then I saw beer’s black market in action. At New York’s Blind Tiger bar one late afternoon last March, a slight, unsmiling young man in a dark windbreaker ordered several pints of beer from the bar, transferred them one by one to a canteen, then slipped away.

“He’s going straight home to resell that on eBay,” muttered a patron standing nearby. The perishable beer in question was brewed by Shaun Hill at Hill Farmstead brewery in Vermont, which is currently rated the sixth best brewery in the world by the users of RateBeer…..

Slate: Read the full article

And at home….

South Africans don’t have a beer culture. They have a light lager culture. However, an upsurge in craft brewing is rapidly changing this. A snapshot of just some of the websites now devoted to local craft beer.

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