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Guide to Making Trade Requests

How to do it and how not to do it
Craft Beer Introduction February 23, 2007      
Written by ross

weddington, NORTH CAROLINA -

Guide to making trade requests.

Trading on ratebeer.com can be a fun and exciting process – sometimes making the wait time on deliveries seem like the chance to open your first Red Ryder BB Gun. However, there are a few things that should be noted when you are making a trade request.

1. What you are asking for.

2. How the beer is sold in its local market.

3. Where and when the beer is sold.

4. What you are going to offer in return.

5. The cost of what you are asking for.

What you are asking for:

As many of you know, all beers are not the same, and a lot of them are very special in nature. For example, limited release beers tend to fetch more trade requests than beer that are not so limited; this is quite obvious. When asking for something, do not post that you want Barrel Aged Alesmith Speedway Stout for some local beer that – while it may be quite good – does not live up to the rarity of something that is sold once every two years, only at the brewery, and in numbers lower than 300 bottles. Even though the beer you are offering up may be just as rare, it is still not rated in the top five on this website, so it does not have the same trading value.

How the beer is sold in its local market:

This applies to beer that is sold on tap only, in growlers, in bottles, via the brewer’s private keg stock, etc. I cannot tell you how many “want-lists” that have Hair of the Dog Dave on them. You are not going to get this beer unless you go to the brewery, and even then it’s a crapshoot from what I understand. When / if Alan decides to bottle this beer, put it on your want list, until then, what’s the point? All you are doing is taking up a spot with something you can never have instead of putting something on there that is easier to come by. This is not synonymous with putting beers from other countries that are probably very difficult to come by because you can always set up an international trade with our friends across the pond.

Growler requests are becoming more common as more people begin to trade, and this is a great thing! Getting a fresh growler of some local beer is probably the best way to get a sample due to the freshness of the beer straight off the tap. Acquiring these beers is not out of the realm of possibility at all. The only downside to this is when you trade for a growler, please drink it within a day or two after receiving it. Rating growlers that are six months old is just wrong, in my opinion. These beers will go down hill very quickly since they are completely air locked.

Bottles are obviously the best trading method, as they are air tight providing no leaking (unless you are shipping corked bottles or Heavyweights), and they are usually much easier to come by in your local market. But that does not mean it is any less rare!

Where and when the beer is sold:

Because you are the one asking for the rarest beer in the world, you should do some research and find out where and when the beer is sold. If the beer is only sold one day of the year, in late April, and it’s only at the brewery – you should start arranging your trades in April. As the months progress away from that one dark day in April, the chance of you getting a bottle of it for your private collection of Ommegang lessens, until the trade value of the bottle begins to rise and people will ask for much more than they paid for it. If a bottle is sold locally to your state only and no one else in the rest of the world can buy it unless they go to your state, that gives you the upper hand. Having a rare beer that is hard to get for everyone else but very easy for you to come by means you can initiate as many trades as you want. In most cases, you will end up with more trades than you can handle or the local beer store will sell out and you will have to wait until next release.

What you are going to offer in return:

This is always pretty much between the parties in question, but knowing what to offer will certainly help your cause. Look at the other person’s want and have list, look at their ratings (if they rate), and look at what state they live in. Example: you want 12 bottles of Russian River Supplication and John lives 3 doors down from Russian Rivers brew pub. John has rated 2439 beers, but has not rated anything from your state which happens to have some excellent not widely distributed stuff. You initiate a trade based on these parameters, and John is happy to comply and you now have a trade set up. Notice a few things:

1. You checked where John lived, and what he had and hadn’t rated.

2. John’s location is prime based on what you were looking for.

3. At this time Russian River Supplication is on sale, so it is not an unreasonable request, but 14 months after this release date, when the quantities are much lower, then you may be less likely to get the Russian River.

What you are asking for and offering is very important in this trade. You offer local beer for his local beer. You are not asking him to send you his pride and joy from the cellar that he bought in 2002 at Alesmith one rainy day when he would have much rather been up north laying on the beach and in return you send him some average rated local stuff.

Of course it is never out of line to ask for any beer, because after all, it is just that – beer. Just know what you are going to offer, and try to throw in some good stuff for someone that is nice enough to go out of their way to make a great trade with you for some rather rare beer.

The cost of what you are asking for:

When I initiate a trade, I ask the person what the beer cost them and I let them know what I am spending as well. This includes shipping, sales tax, bottle fee, and whatever your state laws are. Do NOT include the cost of your shipping to them. By saying I incorporate a shipping fee, which applies to beer that I mail ordered only. Everyone has different ways to do this, but I prefer my method because then no one gets screwed and the cost of beer is equal. If you are going to get someone who will send you a bottle of a BA Alesmith for their actual cost, it would be nice for you to throw in a 750 of some Allagash or something for their time and effort.

Why include sales tax? Because its there unless you live in a no sales tax state. But here, if I go to the store and the price says $1.75, if I hand the clerk $1.75 will they sell it to me? No. Therefore, rounding to the nearest dollar is usually good practice, and tends to even things out. Example: Beer A cost $2.09, and Beer B costs $2.59. Beer A has a trade value of 2 dollars and beer B has a trade value of 3 dollars.

Knowing how much the beer you are trading for costs is very good practice as well, to keep yourself from being stiffed. From my vantage point, this has never happened to me, and I do not recall having heard of anything of the sort, but it certainly helps to be knowledgeable.



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