As beer connoisseurship grows and the practice of aging beers gains currency, it seems in inevitable that coveted brews will start muscling their way into auctions traditionally dominated by fine wines and whiskeys. But so far in the U.S., only one auction house has taken up the charge: Skinners in Boston, MA.
Marketplace spoke to certified Cicerone and auctioneer Michael Moser about a some of the bottles on offer at tonight’s auction, and the prices are nothing to scoff at. Take a look:
- Samuel Adams Millennium American strong ale ($1,000-$1,500)
- Midnight Sun M barley wine ($1,200-$1,800)
- Port Brewing Company Isabelle Proximus wild ale ($250-$400)
- 12-bottle pack of Black Tuesday variants from The Bruery ($600-$900)
Moser says that some auction-goers are a bit uncertain about splurging on beer—”You switch gears from wine to beer and you see a lot of puzzled looks at the prices we were achieving”—but claims there’s an audience that is prepared to pony up for these rarities.
Of course, there are plenty of white-whale beers out there that people are already paying crazy money for—last September, Portland’s Hair of Dog released 11 bottles of a barley wine called Dave and sold them for $2,000 each. And that Midnight Sun M has previously fetched $,1525 on eBay.
The key to an auctionable beer is not just that it is rare and delicious—Moser says you need to be able to cellar them. “[They’re] not necessarily the most highly regarded beers in the world—they’re beers that can age, that can survive five, ten, 15, 20, or even more years in the bottle.” In other words, don’t expect to see a fresh IPA on the auction block.
While we’re skeptical about the wine-ification of the craft-beer world, it’s good to see these brews get their due in an auction setting.
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