Barley Mowat 

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Secret Beer Hint

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I’m happy. Why am I happy? Well, I’m just generally a jolly-ish fella, I suppose, but today I am especially happy because my bulk order at the BCLDB came in. Yup, I am now the proud owner of a metric shit tonne of Upright Five and Seven.

What’s that, you say? The LDB doesn’t sell Upright? Fuck yes they do, you just gotta know how to ask. Because our liquor laws where written sometime around 75 AD by an obsessive compulsive with control and/or mother issues, *all* liquor sold in the province must first be processed by the LDB so the government can know about it (and take their 100+% markup/cut).

A beer brewed in Portland, imported by a guy in Vancouver, and then sold in a retail outlet in Maple Ridge must pass through LDB hands, if only virtually (the product might never physically go to the LDB warehouse in Burnaby). This means two things. First, all liquor products legally sold in this province (be it in wine shops or at restaurants) are listed in the LDB database. Second, any old fart can call up any LDB store and put an order in for one of these items so long as you have the Stock Keeping Unit # (SKU) and are willing to buy the minimum wholesale amount (1 case).

So, where do you get this magical SKU? I mean, it’s not like the importers or LDB list it online or anything. Oh wait. Yes, they do. So do these guys, these guys, and these guys. I’d list more, but I’m sure you’re all aware of the existence of The Google.

You don’t always need the SKU, as any helpful LDB employee can just search for the product you’re interested in and find the SKU in about 5 seconds. However, every time I check the helpful employees are all in the back or on their breaks or some shit, and the guy at the “Customer Service” desk tells me to fuck off.

Not everything is available this way, listed or not. Listed products generally fall into three categories:

1/ Generally available (probably on the shelf behind you, you git)
2/ Speciality (not on LDB shelves, but ordered pre-emptively by the importer, and usually in stock at importer’s warehouse)
3/ Speculative (only ordered on demand, or seasonally)

The LDB is happy to order items for you in #2, but can take some convincing to get a pre-emptive order in for a product that might not be available for several months (#3). I recommend bribing them with cigarettes. The LDB is very similar to prison in some ways.

Lastly, be prepared to answer/clarify the employee’s common misconceptions about beer. I’ve had to explain:

  • “Yes, I’m sure it’s beer, even though it’s not in six packs”
  • “Yes, $10 does seem like a lot for a bottle of beer but it’s cool, I know about it”
  • And, most importantly? “No, I’m not saying Canadian is bad.” Trust me on this one, these people love their shitty beer, and you need them happy.

So why would you want to buy beer this way, when you can just walk over to the nearest Cold Beer & Wine and get singles plus great customer service? The price. The Upright mentioned above is $9.79/bottle, including deposit. Since that’s virtually the same price the CBW pays, there’s no surprise that they turn around and sell it for $12.50 – $14.00, or more. That’s a 33-50% savings, people. You can tip me later.

Written by chuck

November 18th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Posted in Beer and You

Tagged with ,