You wait and wait and finally the time comes and goes too quickly. Limited release beers are lovely but often gone too soon. Wouldn’t you love that brew to be available all the time? Here’s why you may not want your favorite limited release/seasonal beer to become year-round.
Leave Limited Limited
Though the life of limited release beers is often far too brief, there are lots of positive thing about those that come into our lives but leave too fast.
The craft beer world has become very focused on the next new thing. The newest releases of the month, the newest breweries in town, the newest popular styles. When a beer is a limited release, or even seasonal, it still retains that newness craft beer fan fawn over. This has a number of positive effects on the beer and drinker.
First, that newness and limited availability help move product. You know you’re getting fresh beer because it’s only been out for a short time and limited/seasonal releases tend to sit on the shelves for far shorter periods of time than year-round brews do.
Items that are limited (including seasonals) also have a positive phycological impact on our overall enjoyment. Studies have shown that we not only value things that are limited more than the less-rare, but the enjoyment center of our brains light up brighter when we consume them. This means we may actually gain more pleasure from drinking a seasonal beer than a year-round one. The simple act of making a limited-release beer year-round may be enough to cause us to feel less enjoyment from it, even when nothing else about that beer has been changed, besides the release schedule.
Disadvantages Of Being Year-Round
As much as there are advantages to remaining limited or seasonal, there are disadvantages to going year-round too. They could sadly lead to you falling out of love with a favorite.
While limited availability beers tend to sell quickly, year-round often sit on the shelves for longer periods of time. People know they can get them anything they like, so they go for the limited stuff they may miss out on instead.
This leads to product sitting on the shelf for longer. While a good liquor store and distributor should take care of anything past date-code, that doesn’t mean the beer is as fresh as can be. With styles that are better as fresh as possible (IPAs for example), even the difference between a week and a month can be noticeable. With year-round product sitting longer, you may find you enjoy the brew less than you did before it became more available.
We’ve all done it. We see that awesome year-round beer on the shelf (maybe it’s an old favorite or the one that turned you on the craft in the first place) but then find ourselves buying the brew of the moment instead. “I’ll buy this one because I can only get it for a limited time, while those others I can get any time.”, you justify to yourself. The problem is there’s always a new limited release, and you never/rarely return to those year-round offerings. You’ve just gone from buying a beer in as large of quantities as possible when it’s a limited release, to rarely (if ever) buying it when it becomes easily available.
It’s sad that seasonal and limited release beers are only around for a short time but there are downsides to becoming year-round that may be worse than limited availability.
Part of the magic of these beers is their limited availability. We shouldn’t be crying about it, but rather celebrating it.
Enjoy the limited/seasonal releases while you can and don’t always wish you had more. Being year-round may not be awesome as you think. And when you run out, be sure to grab one of the many amazing year-round brews you haven’t had in a while. The next limited-release will be out soon enough.