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Over the past couple of weeks I've had a couple of bad beers from a couple of NZs best craft brewers. On both occasions I decided to be proactive and flick the brewery an email letting them know of my experiences.
- The first brewery responded immediately and more than compensated me for the bad beer.
- The second brewery hasn't responded yet or has chosen not to respond.

I can't help but feel like a whinging beer geek even though I paid $6-8 for a drain pour.

So my questions to all you beer lovers out there are:
- Do you provide feedback to breweries when you get a bad beer (or a particularly great one for that matter)?
- Also, If you had a brewery, would you want to hear about every bad experience from crazy, over-excitable beer geeks & lovers?

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I'd want to hear. Good feedback keeps the spirits up and bad feedback keeps your arse in line.
I'm slowly becoming part of the industry and I am sure that any serious brewer would love to hear from the customer. If it's good that's great, if it's bad we need to make it better. That being said, I am not very good at it myself and often I don't provide feedback if the beer is not to my liking but it's something I'm working at:)
Most of us are over excitable beer geeks ourself, so don't be shy.
I'd like a mechanism for providing feedback without making the brewer in question feel like I'm out for "compensation". If I give negative feedback to a brewer, I try to be as constructive as possible, and also make it clear it's for information purposes only, rather than a complaint.
Don't you feel like you should be compensated for a drain pour though? How many uncompensated drain pours would it take before you stopped buying that brand?
I have an interesting view on that one. I've had many an argument with Kempicus over it too, since we disagree totally on this one. Basically, to me, it's a question of intent. The brewer doesn't intend to serve me a bad beer. They are out there, trying really hard to make great beer. That counts for a heap in my book, and especially in NZ. If I get a crap beer, you can be assured I'll remember that. If I get two, I'll probably get in touch with the brewer. If I get three, I'll again let the brewer know, and stop buying it for a while. I always go back though - abused wife syndrome? ;)

There are some breweries who started off poor, and now make consistent, tasty beer. If I'd written them off because of a couple of drain pours, I'd be worse off now. Also, it's pretty rare that I have to pour out a beer. Many "flawed" beers I've had are just a bit off their game, not worth pouring out. I can think of a few overly phenolic, and one infected beer in the last three years, and with my sampling rate, that's not too bad! :)

So yeah, if I thought they were taking the piss, you can bet I'd want compensation. What's important to me is that they are provided with the information to fix the problem, as I don't want to look like a dick recommending formerly great beer to people only to be told it was shite. That matters far more to me as a "beer educator" than does getting a refund or a free beer.

There's one more point I'd like to make - and this is directed at brewers who may be reading.

NZ Craft Beer is fantastic. Quality however is variable. I really think the best thing all NZ brewers could do for themselves and the industry is to really lift their game on the quality of the product at the point of sale. I know stock turnover is a nightmare with 99% of the market buying boring stuff from the big boys. I know some pubs haven't yet learned how to treat craft beer, or what to expect from it. I regard my NZ craft beer spending as "experimental". I know I'm taking a risk when I buy many craft beers in NZ, and that fact colours my view expressed above. As with any risk, sometimes I lose, and because that's the nature of the game, I don't feel "ripped off". The majority of consumers out there aren't like me though. Once bitten, twice shy.

OK, long enough rant now! I'm going back to my sickbed. Maybe I need beer?
Well put Greig!
Agree with you there Greig.
I think providing feedback is a good thing whether its good or bad. But in saying that, I never do. What I tend to do is take that beer off my mental list of stuff to buy for a while. Its probably fair to the brewer to let them know and have the chance to respond, if they dont then chalk them up as inconsistent or just stay away from them for a bit. If it was my brewery i'd want to know.
Feedback is Gold, any business that thought otherwise is kidding themselves,
If you get treated badly by the business for giving them feedback thats worse than just getting a bad beer..
I had a few unusual pours on the weekend rang the brewer and talked it through on monday (batch numbers etc..)
Worked out it had nothing to do with the quality of the beer being produced and everything to do with how it was being bought, stored and delivered. That has now changed a few things with the venue that I was at on the Saturday night..
So without me asking the question I could have gone along thinking the brewery had slipped-up and its beer wasn't up its usual standard.
It also saved the beer from not being served next time...
Yes, definitely, to both questions. Good and bad feedback is essential.

I don't expect to be compensated but I'd hope they take my feedback on for their benefit. It has to be pretty bad before I'd give feedback. Three strikes and you're out - that's three brewery strikes, not retail strikes. I've also given feedback to breweries where I thought the bar or store was serving/storing their beer badly. This is absolutely essential. Great beer can leave a brewery and end up as slop in your glass.
Happened to me as well. I sent an email to a brewery, they said they were gong to send a replacement. I am still waiting, six weeks latter.
Any feedback is positive feedback. Ok, sometimes its hard to take but we should listen to our consumers! As for 'compensation', I dont look at it that way - its more like showing the consumer your beer IS good and they have just had a rogue bottle!

However, as Stu said, the quality of the beer at the retailer is not always the brewers responsibility. We can get it right at the brewery but once it leaves there we have little control on its 'treatment', although we do try our best to educate. A day in the sun and heat doesnt do any beer any good....maybe a change of retailer might be the first step!


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