Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our Stupid Laws Don't Seem Quite So Stupid

The sage David Lowery, once said:

I don't know what the world may want,
but a good stiff drink it surely don't.
So I think I'll go and fix myself a tall one.

Cause, what the world needs now
is a new kind of tension.
Cause the old one just bores me to death.
Cause, what the world needs now
is another folk singer
like I need a hole in my head.

I don't know what the world may need,
but a V8 engine is a good start for me.
Think I'll drive to find a place,
to be surly.

Surly: Sullenly ill-humored; gruff; threatening, as of weather conditions; ominous; arrogant; domineering

Surly: a small, but rapidly growing, American craft-brewery based in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, a northwestern suburb of Minneapolis. Surly has a stellar reputation among craft breweries. But, as of January 1, 2009, Surly will have to cease sales of growlers and growler fills at the brewery. Not only do Surly's license fees increase eight-fold (from $500 per year to $4000 per year) merely for selling 3,500 barrels (instead of 3,499), but this model of business growth and community support and reputation must cease direct interaction with consumers and stop filling growlers.

It's a ridiculous clause that does not seem to serve any function. I'd love to know what public policy, social good, or even distributor-related benefit (because I assume that the distributors lobbied for this one) is gained by having Surly Brewing Company stop selling growlers of its products. Are distributors really afraid that growler fills are going to do them in? If so, why don't the distributors sell in growler packages themselves and "compete" with the brewery? (not that it's really "competition" at all).

So, to "celebrate" the ignominious 3,500 barrel milestone and have a proper Irish wake for the growler-fill policy (and SurlyFest, and Darkness Day), Surly has brewed 30 barrels of a one-time-only Double IPA. For $17 you can bring in your growler to the brewery on December 27, 29, 30, and 31 and Surly will fill it directly from the fermenting tanks.

The good news is: now that Surly is bigger they are starting to distribute in Wisconsin. The first tapping will be today (Wednesday, November 19th) at Paddy Ryans in Hudson, WI. Surly's Bender will be tapped all night and Darkness, Surly's Russian Imperial Stout, will tap at 7:00pm. After the 19th you can find Surly on tap in and around Hudson and Eau Claire. No cans yet.


  1. Surly isn't competing with a distributor for sales anyways as they self distribute.

  2. they can distribute personally to themselves just drink it all, how is that for a stupid law? Some interesting albeit stupid laws can be browsed.


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