Paste ran a story earlier today about the booming online beer trade community, which is a perfectly legal practice because no money is changing hands. ABC News recently investigated the far from legal practice of selling rare, hard to get beers on sites like Craigslist and eBay. Turns out, there’s a booming black market for brews from small, respected breweries like Russian River and The Alchemist.
According to ABC News, a woman was recently busted for selling five cases of The Alchemist’s Heady Topper for $825 on Craigslist. Last year, the owners of Russian River regularly saw bottles of their Pliny the Elder on eBay selling for between $15 and $50. The booming black market prompted Russian River to have state alcohol regulators set up a meeting with eBay, which ultimately ended the practice of selling alcohol of any kind on that site.
The problem isn’t just that sellers are marking up the beers to unreasonable prices, it’s that they’re selling the beers without a license to do so. “People were running liquor stores without any accountability,” said Russian River co-founder Natalie Cilurzo in the article.
The moral of the story: Trading beers with friends=cool. Selling beers=lame