Beer’s Underbelly

If you will recall, in the last article we talked about the Beer Black Market. That journalistic pursuit led me deeper into the seedy underworld of beer. I share with you now the sordid world of Beer Muleing.

A Beer Mule is someone who has access and the means to acquire numerous bottles of limited or special release beer.  The Beer Mule then distributes this limited release cache across the country to other mules. Who knew the world of beer could be so clandestine?

You may be asking yourself, how does this work? You might even be asking, how can I become a beer mule? Well here is the problem you cannot just go to, create a sassy yet sophisticated profile and become a beer mule.  You wish it was that easy. Beer Muleing is a secret society like the Illuminati or the Stonecutters. You need to be invited to join.

Here is a quick example of how this all works. A brewer like Jester King located in the country side of Texas releases a beer called “Atrial”. This beer is in high demand. The beer mule group will tell the local Texas member how many bottles they need and the mule will get it. Usually each group has a few whale’s (rich people) that can help cover costs.

Some breweries have a bottle limit for their rare releases. Those crafty Beer Mules have figured ways around this. Some mules become really good friends with the brewers, but there are other ways. One great story I found while researching was a beer mule hired a bunch of local homeless bums to stand in line on a release day. Each bum was given cash to buy a bottle of the rare beer.  Then the Mule traded the bums a bunch of 40’s for the rare beer. To be perfectly honest that’s kind of genius.

Imagine trading a Steel Reserve for a 3 Floyd’s Dark Lord.

Beer Muleing is clearly a problem for those who would like to be a collector of rare beers. There is no real solution right now until brewers become stricter on the selling of rare beers or until there are looser laws on beer distribution enabling brewers to sell their beers across the country and not just locally. Until then all of us losers will just have to get lucky when super rare beers get released or maybe just get a second mortgage on our house in order to afford the Black Market prices.