Friday, 2 April 2010

unrealistic prices asked and realized on low range or substandard beverage bottlings

I wanted to discuss today the fact that certain beverages seem to realize prices that are in my opinion far beyond the quality level of the drink, due to various different reasons.

As an example I have chosen the brand Ardbeg. In no way whatsoever can Ardbeg be considered a poor quality producer, they produce some of the finest islay malt whisky in the world, and are justifiably famous worldwide for just that reason, I personally have been lucky enough to sample on several occasions the 3475 cask, and regard it as blowing another very well known islay producer out of the water.

However as all whisky producers they also produce less amazing bottlings in order to cover more of the market and cover more price points.

One of these that were produced for many years was the Ardbeg 17 years, an excellent whisky, but in no way outstanding, discontinued around 5 years ago it has now been replaced with the 10 year old at the original price point.

What I have found though, is that the 17 year old retails presently at upwards of £250 per bottle, for a whisky which originally retailed around the £35 price point, and which certain connoissuers feel the replacement exceeds in most respects.

Now obviously supply and demand needs to be taken into account here, as a dicontinued whisky obviously its price will rise, slightly, to perhaps £50 or £60, but £250? For a bottom-of-range bottling that used to be found in supermarkets? I thonk we must all agree that is a little excessive, for the same price one could get a 30year old Laphroig, perhaps not as fine a dram as the top end Ardbegs, but many times better than the 17year old.

And this can be seen in many other alcohols also, whiskys, brandys, cognacs, and particularly wines and champagnes, the unrealistic pricing in low range, and in some cases substandard beverages is most surprising.

It would be nice to see these prices be a little more balanced, as many normal consumers not in the know may buy the inflated price point products believing they are purchasing exceptionally fine alcohols, and risk embarrasment if demonstrating them to their more knowledgeable friends or colleagues.

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