CBS Allocations and Pricing

From our company president and CEO, Mike Stevens:


We feel that it’s necessary to address a few of the concerns surrounding the release of our Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS). We understand the frustrations stemming from the lack of availability of this beer and are looking forward to the day when we can produce much more of our specialty brands. As some of you are aware, we have been undergoing constant expansion for the past few years and have been working toward a master plan that will increase our annual brewing capacity by four times our current level. We are happy as hell to share that our new brewhouse is now on line and that we just recently started brewing into the new system. We plan to use this new system in 2012 to increase production of our specialty items to better service the demand for them. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the next couple of 750ml (Backstage Series) releases as well as the 2012 KBS release will still be scarce, because these beers were brewed on the old (smaller) system. But after that we should be off and running toward much greater availability.

On another note, there seems to be some concern or confusion on how are beers are allocated per state. We are proud to be a Michigan-based brewery and all specialty releases take this into consideration. We at Founders will never forget our home state market. In terms of CBS, the state of Michigan received an allocation of 21% of the entire batch of CBS. No other state saw more than 12% of the total availability. That being said, no state is treated more fairly than another (including MI). Distributor allocations are simply based on a representation of total number of accounts they represent for Founders. Should rumors of this exist to the contrary, know that they are just that: rumors.

Lastly, we’ve noticed that retail price gouging is also being discussed. I can only give you the brewery’s position on this, but please know that, legally, once we sell our products to our wholesaler, they in turn sell it to retailers throughout our states of distribution. We have no control over what this retailer will charge for the beer. We do establish our suggested retail pricing, but we cannot enforce this whatsoever. When we hear of retail price gouging, it annoys us as much as it annoys you. Our recommendation to our wholesalers in dealing with retailers that are gouging is to communicate that, if the retailer does not stop overcharging, they will jeopardize their ability to receive Founders specialty items in the future.

In short, we just want to set the record straight on these few items floating around on the blogs and make everyone aware that we are working day and night to fix the capacity concerns with our specialty products. We make this beer because we are extremely passionate about creating the best liquid we know how to produce. We started this business as home brewers and still look at ourselves as such. We know that some of you might never get your chance at a CBS bottle, but we feel it would be a greater disappointment to have never shared this product at all.


Mike Stevens | President & CEO


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34 Comments on “CBS Allocations and Pricing”
  1. Thanks for the clarification and the honesty.All of your beers are great and the specialty beer availability is welcomed.

  2. So… the problem is your beer is too good?

  3. Jay


    I think it’s awesome that you even bottled this stuff, but I’m in the Philly region. PA has ha crazy case law thing going on, where distributors can only sell full cases. In this case, there is one guy buying up a whole case, and everyone else getting shut out from the store. I know it’s not your fault, but I would rather see it not even come to the region rather than one guy getting a case because he waited outside a store in the dark, and then selling the bottles for $100 each on ebay (which is what the guy TOLD me he was going to do.) Same guy followed the delivery truck around with cash, buying up cases the day before. He offered more than what was being asked so he could be guaranteed to get the case.

    Just FYI about one of the markets.


    • JF

      Distro AND government problem there in PA, not Founders fault. In other markets, if a store let there customers buy cases at a time of this, then that would be the fault of the store. PA is a unique market in that you can only buy cases unless you buy individual beers from a restaurant (at a MUCH higher market up price, see comment below).

  4. Just want to thank you guys for all your hard work, and the deliciousness you continually produce.

  5. JF

    I for one have NEVER, even minutely, thought that y’all have handled your beer distributions in an unfair way. Anybody who thinks this has A: Never been to the brewery and met the people behind the process or B: Feels a sense of entitlement to getting ANY rare beers. Life is not fair, I wasn’t able to get any KBS this year and my go to beers even from the regular line-up sometimes aren’t replenished for weeks. But does that make me upset with the brewers? Why would it? The fact that Founders even distributes CBS now is an AMAZING accomplishment. I mean the beer is aged in a cave for Pete’s sake! And you don’t exactly cruise down to the market for spent bourbon barrels either. Once the beer is in the hands of the distributors, THAT is when things get overly complicated and there ends up being have’s and have not’s. I haven’t heard of any price gouging in my area. The only higher prices have been at restaurants that received an allocation, which is to be expected. The cost for any beverage at a restaurant has a HUGE mark up included in the price.
    OK, rant over. I really look forward to the coming years when your production hits full capacity and I wish you the best of luck! It couldn’t happen to nicer group of people!

  6. Eric

    Personally, I just don’t care any more. I’m sick of even hearing about it. The price gouging on eBay, people calling up local establishments and yelling at the staff in order to secure their CBS. There’s too many great beers out there to waste such time and energy. Spend $150 on a bomber of CBS…no thanks. I’ll be taking my $150 to 3 Floyds this weekend so I can enjoy MANY great beers.

  7. Coming from the perspective of the Chicago release craziness I have to wonder:

    If people are hocking these for $100 each on Ebay, why isn’t the suggest retail price higher?

    Goose Island’s Bourbon County Rare was sold for $50+ pretty much everywhere and people still bought it regularly.
    The other nice side effect of that is that there was actually TIME to buy the bottles and they didn’t evaporate off shelves.

    I mean no disrespect (as I love your beer) but I keep wondering why the bottles weren’t priced higher so to avoid such corruption and greed.

    Then again if they sold for $50 a piece they’d probably just go for $200 on Ebay… can’t win I suppose.

  8. Pingback: Founders Brewing issues statement on CBS allocations, reported price gouging |

  9. Sean

    I wanted to thank you guys for producing this batch for us. I’m lucky enough to live in Michigan and was able to get my hands on a bottle. I wanted 2, but every store I called said they had a 1 bottle limit, which I think is actually the right thing to do despite my greediness for 2 bottles. I know that the recommended price was around $20 and I ended up paying $29. I don’t feel like I was gouged, but I do feel that the retailer was taking advantage of the demand.

  10. Are you able to divulge the “suggested retail” to us? I know I overpaid for mine at $35 a bottle, but am curious as to how much I overpaid.

    • Sarah

      We sold it for $18/bottle at the taproom release and suggested that retailers aimed for a price point close to that.

  11. Jim


    Unbelievable. I hate human beings.


    You guys do the best you can. Your true fans all understand it. Keep on doing what you do.

  12. Kurtis

    Founders is without a doubt my favorite brewery, love your entire line of beers! I was so glad I could get a bottle of CBS, (only 16.99! WOO HOO!) I would love to tell you how great it is but alas, I’m waiting until the Cardinals win the world series before I drink it!

  13. Jon

    As a retailer who received just one case (12 bottles) for the 60+ people who requested CBS, I guess I’d rather see Founders do something creative like Three Floyds’ Dark Lord Day. Keep all the bottles in Michigan, have a big festival and sell it all at the brewery — that would be a lot more fun. (Of course, you could still send the kegs around the country.) Don’t get me wrong — I’m happy to sell it, but it’s a pain to have to tell a large segment of my clientele, “Sorry, you didn’t make the cut.” This is not intended as a criticism, just an observation and a suggestion. Keep up the good work.

  14. Pingback: Founders CBS - Controversy Addressed by CEO |

  15. The 750ml bottling line was a mistake. Put it in 12oz bottles and you can make twice as many people happy.

  16. Speaking as someone that has driven 4 hours to purchase a case of KBS several years ago and drove the same for two bottles of CBS, Founder’s is in a no win situation. A great beer that by its very nature is limited in its supply (unlike dark lord or other none barrel aged beers). I wonder if a lottery system donating the sale of the tickets to charity might not only keep the beer in the midwest and for the “hoarders” make it more expensive and would allow the people that are wanting to try other rare beers sold only regionally to trade their other bottle. I would hate to see Founder’s go to a one bottle limit since a two bottle limit gives you the chance to share with a friend or have a bottle to share in line several years later. Anyone still have a Deca?

  17. Pingback: Founders Brewing issues statement on CBS allocations, reported price gouging — Craft Beer Journals

  18. Founders,
    Nothing wrong with having a sought after product, small and tasty is better than massive and garbage. Had CBS, it was good. Keep it up!

    Dan Reingold
    Homebrewer, beer lover

  19. Pingback: Breakfast Stout or Breakfast Doubt? | DC Beer - Washington DC, Beers in DC, Beer, Bars, Craft beer, homebrewing, happy hours, beer tastings

  20. For those of us who are Facebook fans of your page, I suggest that you post when a given seasonal is going to be released to stores. Surly does this for all of their seasonals and it’s great because you know about when to expect it in stores.

    • Sarah

      Thanks for the feedback, Matt!

  21. Kevin

    “We know that some of you might never get your chance at a CBS bottle…””

    Way to sugarcoat it. Don’t you mean “most people” wont get a chance? I don’t really understand how you can “connect to [your] core beer enthusiast” by alienating most of them. Why not just brew more of what people want? Most of us love the staple of the brand, Dirty Bastard, but when I see 6-packs sitting on shelves for months, any kid with a semester of high school economics understands that the market has been saturated. If you really want to connect with your core beer enthusiast, brew less of what sits on shelves, and more of what people get put on waiting lists just to get a single 4 pack (KBS anyone?). When bottles of CBS are going for five times the reccomended price on ebay, its painfully obvious how many of your customers are being left out by poor planning.

  22. Chuck

    What is the Best way to purchase some CBS? I am assuming that you can purchase at brewery.

    • Sarah

      Hi Chuck,

      Our taproom release of CBS was on October 1, and we sold out that day. It might be a bit late to find any, but you can try contacting your local distributor to see if they can help you locate some:

  23. Pingback: Craft Beer Poll! The Founders CBS Dilemma: Has Limited Release Craft Beer Pricing Gotten Out Of Hand? « It's just the booze dancing…

  24. Hey Guys!!!!
    Man, what a problem to have. Capitalism allows us the ingenuity, as a nation, to enjoy top-notch product. “Scalping” is only a problem if you are the best. Kudos!! Beverage world, here in the N.Georgia (Chattanooga, Tn.) area is doing you an incredible service. They are holding a raffle to see who GETS to buy CBS. No prizes offered….one bottle per customer….spread the wealth and joy. Sometimes capitalists have a heart as big as their need to profit and, therefore, exist. They also DO NOT gouge. BEER LOVERS UNITE behind solid distrib’s!! Really, it is good old fashioned business sense. They know that WE know and they get our loyalty. The end product of capitalism is that the smartest, fastest, most fair usually win in the long run. Luckily, my watering hole understands this eternal truth. Keep on Rolling FOUNDERS!!!!

  25. Regardless, If I ever get my hands on a bottle of this brew, I think you all have a great brewery. Founders was the first craft case of beer I have ever had. I thought those brews were amazing. Then I have had other greats on and off tap such as KBS and Double Trouble. Such amazing brews.

    Then I was at the Founders Event during Beer week in Philly, at Capones Resturant where I not only got to try brews that don’t even exist yet, but I got to actually meet Mike and chat with him for some time that evening. That was great for me since I have become a huge fan of craft brews and want to try everything that is out there. So I thank you for that.

    I did see comment above PA and I hope that I can get my hand on a bottle CBS at some point because I want a chance to taste and review this brew. But again, this whole post is really saying that regardless if I ever get my hands on this brew…your brewery puts out amazing brews and is a huge part of the why the craft brewing industry is so great right now. Thanks.

  26. Just wanted to make you guys aware that I waited most of the day at Little Brothers Beverage in Flemington, NJ for the distributor to drop off their allotted case of CBS. When they brought those of us who waited our bottle (it was FCFS) the folks at the register were instructed to ring them up at $100 a bottle. I spoke with the manager and he told me this was the price he was instructed to charge by the owner. I know you cannot control prices at that level, and I am raising this with the distributor (Hunterdon Brewing) and anywhere else I can. I am/was a regular customer there and abandoned not only the bottle of CBS but another $150-200 of other beer in the cart and won’t be returning unless I get a call back from the owner tomorrow with an apology, a price adjustment, and a bottle held for pickup. The re-selling on eBay is one thing, but when retailers take advantage of us it’s time to stop using them.

    Thankfully I was fortunate to have both CBS and KBS at the Kite and Key event during Philly Beer week. Love your beer. Might just need to move to Michigan.

  27. Just wanted to add a price gouger to the list….New England Beer & Wine in Newburyport. Mass.
    Just as an example….when KBS came out…they were charging $8 per single 12 oz. bottle.

  28. Just scored a case of this today in Philadelphia…I paid an arm and a leg for it!

    Can’t wait to try it!

  29. I’m thankful I got a bottle of CBS and my local shop sold it for $19.99, which I find fair.

    On the KBS bottles, my local shop (West Springfield, MA) was selling it for $8.50/per bottle, which I also find fair since it is a specialty beer. I am in regular contact with their beer dept. manager and several of their beer guys and I’m confident the prices are fair. Massachusetts can accept the blame for high prices with their exorbitant taxes on alcoholic products.

    So unless Founders comes out and states this was a gouging, we just have to accept that the specialty beers are simply going to cost more, and it’ll sometimes be out of our comfort range (like Bourbon County Rare for me).

  30. Good to hear you address the shortage of CBS and potential for same with KBS. I hope the Breakfast Stout willbe available. Have experienced some problems with that one as well. Great beer. It would be a shame not to be able to enjoy one of the best!

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