Saturday, March 20, 2010

Why these relabeling of beers? - An issue caused by Systembolaget?

The last couple of days when I've been trying this years round of Easter beers something struck me, first Mikkellers Hoppy Easter usually was called Mikkeller Drikkeriget GIPA, then yesterday I found that Fuglsang Easter Bird's "real" name is Fuglsang Early Bird. Two beers, both relabeled to be sold during the Easter holiday.

Mikkellers brew first brewed (as I've understood it) to be sold at Drikkeriget (a bar I suppose), so to relabel that beer makes sense. But Fuglsang - a brewery that earlier announced their plans to start selling beer in cans to be able to boost their sales on the German border probably relabeled their beer to be able to export some more beers during Easter than they would have done otherwise.

This made me think..

Is it so much easier to get your beer into the Systemboalgets Swedish market if you name it a seasonal beer (such as Easter, Spring, Summer, Christmas etc)? Would we have seen these two beers otherwise or is it that when you compare them to other beers that are released as "Easter Beer" they are so much better than if they would have been judged by their original label? Or is it easier to get large amounts of your beer into the Swedish market if you release them this way?
Fuglsang shipped 11711 bottles (sold for 19:90SEK each) and Mikkeller 4965 (sold for 34:90SEK each). To sell the beer to Systembolaget, through some importer, in these quantities wouldnt maybe have been as easy since they then would have been required to either be released within some of the seasonal releases (at systembolagen all over sweden for 3 months time which requires a lot more bottles than at least Mikkeller wouldnt be able to/want to deliver) or within any of the temporary releases (in fewer Systembolag and in smaller quantities which makes the prices a little pricier and they would probably be a little to average for that).

So I come to the conclusion that we probably miss much beers that we could have had at systembolaget due to the way new beers are released, the issue of quantities (just look at the Systembolagets internal market and how Dugges and Oceanbryggeriet just can be found in the Gothenburg area with the same problem for other breweries like Jämtlands etc) and price (few bottles but in more stores isnt worth it if you cant take more money for them to cover the expenses and due to the demand). There are probably more issues that can be traced back to Systembolaget and how they have certain rules and regulations that prevent both Swedish microbrewers and international ones for gaining access to the larger crowds. Now they must find a importer which can sell their brews to bars etc which both means that the importer will raise the price to cover their own expenses and that the bar in turn will raise it even more.


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