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Three Floyds Warns Against Black Market Dark Lord Sales

By Chuck Sudo in Food on May 3, 2012 4:00PM

Photo Credit: Liz Bustamante
Three Floyds posted a note on its website Tuesday regarding secondary sales of Dark Lord, i.e. any bottle not sold on premise on the day of the event. It reads:

"Part of only selling beer at the brewery guarantees that it goes to the consumer at a reasonable cost and that everyone has an equal opportunity to purchase Dark Lord. We do not condone black market sales of Dark Lord, DLD tickets or any other beer that is purchased at our facility. The best way to ensure that black market sales do not happen is for consumers to not patronize the illegal sellers, (this also goes for retailers who engage in price gouging.) There unfortunately is not a practical, legal or cost effective way for us to police after market sales of our limited products or tickets. We have reviewed many options but have found that all of them would affect our mission of making the best beer we possibly can at a reasonable price to the consumer. If you find Dark Lord for sale on a day other than Dark Lord Day and other than at the brewery please understand that without exception, the sale is not legitimate. It is on all of us as a community to try to prevent black market sales. Thank you for your continued support."

Therein lies the problem. We've expressed our complaints about Three Floyds Dark Lord Day when warranted. To the brewery's credit, they've worked to make the annual event a more pleasant experience for all.

But the main issue that still mars the experience the most for many remains: the hype over the beer. Bottles of Dark Lord make their way onto eBay, Craigslist and other online sites for sale far above what were paid for them at the brewery within hours of their sale. Retailers also sell them for far above cost. A search for Dark Lord on eBay as of post time shows auctions of Dark Lord and limited edition barrel-aged and flavored versions of the Russian Imperial stout at prices ranging from "that's reasonable" to "no fucking way is a beer worth that much!"

As the brewery mentioned, they have no way of controlling what buyers of Dark Lord do with the beer once it's in their hands, other than to warn against paying above cost for the beer. But Three Floyds has contributed to this by brewing the beer to be sold once a year and hyping the event surrounding it to the point where it's become a beer geeks' Calcutta. That's the Catch-22. But this situation isn't unique to Three Floyds. Surly Brewing's Darkness Day is facing similar problems, and Half Acre has lines around the block whenever they announce the release of a new beer or collaboration with another brewery.

Sometimes we simply need to remind ourselves that, in the end, it's only beer.