The beer that broke Tavour – a $50 can of barleywine


No, Tavour isn’t really broken. I’m just using hyperbole for effect. The popular online beer store is still working just fine.  A Deal with the Devil (ADWTD) is a barleywine brewed by Anchorage Brewing and by all accounts it is outstanding, but c’mon man!

I should point out that at these trying times, it’s great that beer lovers are stepping up to so ardently support our nation’s small, independent breweries, which are the kinds of breweries with which Tavour works, so don’t mistake my words. Y’all keep on supporting breweries with this kind of adoration.

Regular readers of this blog know how I feel about beer hysteria. I mean, I love beer and especially good beer, but c’mon man. I mean, do it if you want, but the pokemonification of beer just ain’t my style. Anyway, I know that a lot of beer lovers out there cannot help but get excited about certain beer releases. And the more excited people get, the more people get excited. I think that makes sense.

No doubt, a story like this helps increase the already lofty reputation of the beer involved. When people hear about the beer that “broke” Tavour, that will probably just make people want it even more. It is human nature, I suppose, so why do I resist? You could argue that sharing this story is just another manifestation of the same kind of behavior. Maybe that makes me a hypocrite. I can live with that.

According to Tavour, this year’s release of ADWTD resulted in chaos as fans scrambled to secure their allotted $50 can of the coveted beer during its 2020 release on the Tavour app. People went to extremes in hopes of tricking the queue—using multiple accounts under different emails, convincing friends to order for them, and hitting the purchase button repeatedly until the entire stock sold out.  Someone even posted a photo of their fingers hovering over the Get It button on four different phones, simultaneously.

As far as the price is concerned, the value of anything is set by what people are willing to pay for it. By all accounts, this beer is sublime, it is rare, and people have historically traveled great distances to get it. If the price is too rich for your blood, you shouldn’t disparage your fellow beer lovers for whom it is not.

No doubt, some of those cans were destined for the resale market and are probably already fetching a handsome price. The beer is rated a perfect 100 on BeerAdvocate, 100 on Craft Beer & Brewing, 4.88 on Tavour, and 4.47 on Untappd. So yeah, people are gonna pay big bucks or make some pretty tempting beer-trading offers.

“We know how fantastic A Deal with the Devil is, how highly rated, how much collectors and beer enthusiasts love it, but we were still blown away by the community’s response when we released the 2020 vintage on our app,” Talia Shapiro, Content Manager at Tavour says. “They went absolutely nuts.”

Tavour, an online retailer that works directly with small breweries, saw the highest traffic numbers in its history. A Deal with the Devil Barleywine has historically drawn massive crowds to Anchorage when the brewery releases it at the taproom. Given the world’s current predicament, this time everyone flocked to Tavour.

Anchorage Brewing packaged the new 2020 vintage in wax-dipped cans for the first and ONLY time EVER, making it even more rare. It’s also extremely small-batch, with a mere 178 cases produced. In light of COVID19, Anchorage postponed their on-site release party and, apart from a small reserve they stowed away in the brewery cellar for locals, the entire batch came to Tavour.

“Next time just release it without a darn notification and Instagram post. LoL,” one fan wrote on social media. Countless others were left empty-handed: “DAMMIT THAT WENT FAST. I just refreshed once and it was gone!!” While others remained optimistic that there was still a fleeting chance: “Waitlisted! C’mon I need this!”

Tavour says the beer sold out in 15 minutes and it only took a few hours before the first ISO (In Search Of) pleas began to pop up on BeerAdvocate and other beer trade forums. Enthusiasts offered exclusive treasures from Floodland, Westbrook, American Solera, Holy Mountain, Side Project, and other word-class breweries for trade.

“It’s imperative that we not only continue to support breweries but also give craft beer fans something to look forward to,” Meghan Packard, VP at Tavour says. “And now, during a time like this, it is more important than ever.”

Tavour referred to the madness as a temporary distraction from the world’s current state of affairs. A delicious, 17 percent ABV distraction.

Distraction is good. Supporting small, independent breweries is good. We now return you to your regularly scheduled isolation and social distancing.



  1. Ha, no thanks! Everything I’ve had by them has been really solid, and I’m sure this one is good also, but no.

    Think about the support that could be spread around to other small local businesses at that price. Let’s hope the beer is great and also that people who choose to pay that much for this are also supporting other local establishments in need.

    1. That is a valid point. Alas, not everyone lives in a place like Washington where there is a brewery across the street from every Starbucks. I am personally a big advocate of supporting your local breweries above others, but that’s just me. I am keenly aware that some people LIVE for this kind of whale hunting. To each their own.

      1. Caution: Salty Comment Alert

        $50.00 a can…hmmm. I’m reminded of a beerfest I attended many years ago. The line at the urinals was ridiculous. Minimum twenty minutes. While I was waiting, and growing increasingly antsier, a fellow who made it to the front let out a terrific howl of satisfaction and relief. Someone further back in the queue loudly remarked, ‘I want whatever he’s been drinking’. Hilarity ensued.
        For $50.00 a pop I would expect a similar sensation. If I don’t get it, I would end up feeling rather foolish. But that’s just me.

  2. Any chance that you could try to get Gabe Fletcher to respond to this situation with Tavour?,
    in a reaching out to the lower 48 gesture? He has friends here in Seattle, and yet sometimes,
    he doesn’t fully understand his stature, for what it is worth… He did cancel his 2020 Culmination festival before Covid hit, due to an expansion of his brewery; and somehow I don’t think this Barley Wine release will fund the expansion… Believe it or not.
    Besides, the best way to drink this barley wine is in a four ounce glass at a bar, say at a place like Brother Barrel that serves food. I haven’t had the Deal with the Devil, and probably
    won’t, for I have always thought this was a product put out for people who don’t drink Barley wine, or don’t visit Anchorage, unless it is to pick up the yearly release of this beer.
    There is great beer being brewed in Anchorage these days, of which ABC is only one.

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