AMA Adam Vavrick - Siebel Teacher/Consultant/Judge/Ex-Binny's/etc

Discussion in 'TalkBeer AMA' started by vav, Jun 6, 2015.

  1. vav

    vav

    Joined:
    May 11, 2014
    Location:
    Chicago
    Hi,

    I'm the former Beer Manager at the flagship Binny's in Chicago, where i did stuff like help create the nonsense that is now Black Friday, started a proper beer cellaring program, etc. I've also consulted for various restaurants and bars including Rick Bayless's newest, Xoco Bistro in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. I've spoken on panels at CiderCon and the Craft Brewers Conference and am a member of the Brewers Association. Aside from all that, i'm a beer judge for both the World Beer Awards and the Beverage Testing Institute and teach New World Beer Styles for the Siebel Institute Of Technology.

    Breweries looking for advice on bringing product to market/marketing suggestions? Beer fans wondering how the three tier system works? What my favorite Coil record is?

    Ask me anything!
     
  2. shadowane

    shadowane

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Former Beer Manager? What are you doing now?
     
  3. vav

    vav

    Joined:
    May 11, 2014
    Location:
    Chicago
    Playing State Of Decay on xbone :D
     
  4. sacrelicio

    sacrelicio

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Location:
    MPLS
    do u have prop
     
  5. Scalzo

    Scalzo

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Location:
    Barrington
    Do you have gumballhead or zombie dust
     
    rrrjjj, CansIn2022, NRCards and 12 others like this.
  6. BadJustin

    BadJustin Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Combos or Pringles, choose wisely.
     
    jivex5k, sliverx, schmidlove and 2 others like this.
  7. cry me

    cry me

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Location:
    Delaware
    How do feel about the clusterfuck releases that you've taken responsibility for?

    Also, what's your favorite Coil record?
     
    claaark13 likes this.
  8. Scalzo

    Scalzo

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Location:
    Barrington
    Would you rather have aids or bbq spare ribs
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
  9. vav

    vav

    Joined:
    May 11, 2014
    Location:
    Chicago
    I don't, i never bought one.

    Not currently. I had a Gumball at Big Star the other day though. Also Louisville Beer Store just tweeted they have Gumball.

    Pringles, Sour Cream & Onion.

    I feel overall pretty good about it with a few caveats.

    Black Friday was myself at Eric Hobbs (who worked for Goose as the key account manager before leaving to start Penrose) trying to figure out how the fuck we were going to execute the $42.99 price point of Rare. Remember, in 2010, the most expensive beer on the shelf in Chicago was high end ridiculous (Sink the Bismarck/Tactical Nuclear Penguin,) highly allocated sold as specialty spirit (Utopia) or sold rather quickly (Cantillon Iris etc....and yes, they used to be shelf beers.)

    When i was offered that much Rare, i was thinking long game. I figured if it didnt all sell, cellaring was going to be very popular in a few years simply due to how many BA imperial stouts and such were starting to trickle through, and with the extraordinarily slim chance of infection due to Goose's amazingly solid barrel program, it'd hold. It also offered me the chance to buy the most amount of BCS and related for an account ever, which i kinda liked as a notch on the belt and also would hold well if it didn't sell. Also recall, before this, BCS was basically a once a year brew but you could find it all year at various slower locations. That said, to their credit, Binny's gave me enough rope to hang myself with this one. I actually called Eric i think on Thanksgiving kinda freaking out over the sheer amount of money i'd spent on that beer wondering if anyone would actually show up. I went to some weird vegetarian Thanksgiving that night, introduced everyone at the table to Monk's Cafe, and barely slept that night.

    I was shocked to see that line when i got there in the morning. Then the media showed up. Then we sold out in two hours. I was just shocked. It was crazy.

    Black Friday since has been fun, but i'll tell you right now 2014 felt different and i'm pretty happy i dont have to do it this year. 970 people in line just felt different than the 600 or so they year before. The setup felt different. The Goose people felt different. I guess it's like seeing a concert in some club and then watching the band get big enough to play an arena. I had no idea the concept was going National until i saw the social media stuff...not that i was surprised, but that was kinda strange.

    I think it kinda set the bar for beer releases, though. And i was able to translate that to other breweries i get behind, like the Perennial Abraxas release we did.

    But i also feel like i'm a victim of my own success with that. Anyone who drank CBS at the Lincoln Park Bar knows that. It was the most quiet and chill CBS release ever, precisely because everyone THOUGHT it would be a shitshow, so no one showed up.

    As for favorite Coil record, i'm gunna have to go with Gold Is The Metal With The Broadest Shoulders. It's not really a proper album per se, it's bits and bobs/outtakes/random shit from the Horse Rotorvator period. To me, though, i find it to be a truly cohesive record. It's chaos makes it complete.



    Hmmmm.....spare ribs.
     
    ChaQuiseman, NRCards, Noots and 12 others like this.
  10. mixed_master7

    mixed_master7

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    Location:
    Fort Morgan, CO
    So all this is your fault?

    :p
     
    sacrelicio likes this.
  11. BadJustin

    BadJustin Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    State of Confusion

    Lol
     
    jivex5k likes this.
  12. vav

    vav

    Joined:
    May 11, 2014
    Location:
    Chicago
    Not entirely!
     
  13. tinypyramids

    tinypyramids

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    i know you've posted about "bomber fatigue" in the chicago market (it's certainly something i felt and wasn't sure if it was unique to me before you posted it), but did the 'bomber fatigue' trend continue, or has it more or less flatlined?
     
    Lognar and The Coming of Gose like this.
  14. SeaWatchman

    SeaWatchman

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2013
    Location:
    Oceania
    Do you regularly make a fuss over inappropriate beer labels or was it just an Asian thing?
     
    The Coming of Gose, Treebs and Scalzo like this.
  15. LSMroz

    LSMroz

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2013
    Location:
    NW Burbs of Chicago
    It seems like 2014 Bourbon County prices were much higher in Chicagoland than every other market. IMO every bottle shop sets it's prices off of what Binny's sets their prices at. Basically my question is: Is it all your fault that all of Chicagoland was paying $28+ for a 4-pack of Regular?
     
  16. Scalzo

    Scalzo

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Location:
    Barrington
    #shouldhavegonetocostco.org
     
  17. vav

    vav

    Joined:
    May 11, 2014
    Location:
    Chicago
    Oh it's still very much in effect, and it's hitting everyone, from the smaller Chicagoland breweries to giant regionals/nationals like Deschutes, where even some of there stuff i'd be hesitant to order more than a case or two of.

    The big thing is that people are getting tired of being burned on decent to good beer. There are only so many times you're gunna buy *INSERT LOCAL TINY GUY HERE*'s beer and go "Well, that was better than homebrew." at $9 a bottle when everyone you KNOW is making solid, quality beer is coming around $9 a six pack. Customers are more educated about pricing, and also a lot of you guys & gals that have been doing this for a few years are settling down, nesting, about what you like, and you're buying less variety, or at least being more cautious.

    In general i'm of the opinion that beer should be sold on it's own fucking merits, rather than lazy & pandering marketing, so yes. This wasn't the first time i'd called a brewery out on that behavior, and i'm sure it won't be the last.

    The only reason the Happy Ending thing went apeshit nuclear is because it happened literally the exact same day they were in town for their "Hey look we're new in the market let's go talk to the media" tour. However, something like this was bound to happen because the craft beer market's gotten large enough where the people that agree with me are, by and large, becoming the majority opinion, and the cultural swing on the pendulum is currently on the tolerant side. The support for the stance i took was overwhelming, from customers to industry. More than one brewery owner called me to say thank you.

    100% no. I fought that price increase tooth and nail and was completely outvoted.
     
    Lutter, Moondog, Noots and 10 others like this.
  18. claaark13

    claaark13

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2013
    Location:
    Indiana
    Did you ever promise anything to people in line, such as donuts or a specific allocation, and then not fulfill the promise? Both of those things happened in Indianapolis at an overhyped Black Friday release and I swear I thought MordorMongo was going to finally fly off of his rocker over some bismarks.

    The ongoing concept of the Black Friday GI release annoys the shit out of me because I have to make an annual choice between a sale on men's jeans at JC Penny or a combination of 4 entire bottles of a Goose Island beer in a 12oz format. I don't even shop at JC Penny. The original concept for the release of Rare and Vanilla seemed OK, but the spread to Indianapolis has helped play into the joke of the current Midwest craft beer scene. Indy is a complete joke, and a couple buddies have expressed the same of the recent past 2 Chicago releases.

    I hate people, not Binnys. Binnys doesn't chase indianapolis trucks around town if they don't have scheduled releases to only flip them for $ or whalezbrah.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
    Moondog, willseph, Noots and 20 others like this.
  19. yeahnatenelson

    yeahnatenelson

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago
    So. What transpired to make you part ways with Binny's?
     
    The Coming of Gose likes this.
  20. Knifestyles

    Knifestyles

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Location:
    New York
    Did you really sell your QMMG for $600?







































    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015