It is often referred to as the best beer in the world and it comes from an unlikely source: Belgian monks at St. Sixtus Abbey. The beer is traditionally only available for purchase at the abbey in the Belgian countryside. Since 1945 the Trappist monks have brewed just enough of their Westvleteren beer to sustain the abby – approximately 3,800 barrels. The limited access and availability has created an unrivaled folk-lore of the beer, even prior to the advent of beer blogs and ale advocate websites. It parallels the quest for the holy grail to beer enthusists from around the world have traveled deep into Flemish pig-farm country in their quest to find the abbey. All of this hype is something that has made living a life of seclusion difficult for the monks.
The monks who live a minimalist lifestyle intentionally do not carry cash reserves and so when it came time for some expensive renovations to the abbey, they made the decision to sell outside of their traditional rigid restrictions. For the first time ever the monks are making their beer available through purchase at select retailers around the world. Today, marks the first day that the beer has been made available and beer fans around the world are rejoicing. Rejoicing without flinching from sticker shock of $80 for a six-pack.
Why is it that people all over the world are so ready to pony up the $80? Is this beer so unbelievably delicious that it is ten times better than most craft beers that sell for $8 a six pack? Probably not. What has been created is a story around a product. There is something incredible about power of story. So, I would encourage you to head to your local specialty beer store, purchase a six pack of Westvleteren and while you sip on some suds, sit back and think about the story that your brand embodies. Is it convincing enough to make people travel around the world to try your product? Or is it time to seriously re-think how your taking your brand to market?