My most recent weekly post over at Today.com was about Prestige De Nuits, a Belgian Strong Ale that runs $45.00 a bottle. I nearly fainted when I saw the price tag on this one, but it won me over with its complexity and craftsmanship. Considering that this is a rare, world-class beverage, $45.00 for a bottle is somewhat of a bargain, especially when you think what a special wine might set you back. Prestige de Nuits isn’t a beer that I’d drink once a week, but it’d be a fun beer for a special occasion or to give as a “wow” gift to an appreciative beer geek.
That was my take on the situation, but I got ripped to ribbons in the comments, where folks (who probably have more common sense than yours truly) blasted the idea of a beer costing this much. Some even took issue with paying $20.00 a bottle, which makes sense when you consider the readership over there is a mix of beer geeks and regular folks.
Of all the grenades lobbed in my direction, one really stood out. It was from a guy who called himself Steve W, and he kinda ate my lunch:
I agree with 90% of what Steve is saying here – you can find wonderful, less expensive alternatives for many beers out there.
But I thought it was kind of exciting to see a beer this pricey on the shelves, a sign that craft beer has evolved to the point where a brewer can ask $45.00 for a special beer without it being a bottle of Dark Lord on eBay. All I saw was the opportunity to feel crazy decadent and enjoy something special and have it cost less than a meal at TGI Fridays.
But Steve might be on to something with the downside. This might be the first step on a slippery slope to joining the “wine snobs” (no offense) in overpaying for something just because paying more makes it taste more “special.” I don’t think that’s the case with Prestige de Nuits, but I could buy a whole lot of wonderful beer for the price of just that one.
At the end of the day, the revolt in the comments probably means that the total snobbification of beer isn’t anywhere near to being upon us. Craft beer, like anything else, is a supply and demand business. If people don’t want to pay for a pricey beer, it’ll sit on the shelf, just like the three bottles of Prestige De Nuits have been at my local beer store. Beer geeks will vote with their wallets, and the brewers will get the message.
So what do you think? Are beers like Prestige de Nuits an opportunity to go a little crazy without breaking the bank, or are they a sign that things are headed in the wrong direction? As always, let us know below!