Here’s a new one: It looks like westvleteren12.com and the site that goes with it is for sale at Flippa.com. According to the site’s owner, he started westvleteren12.com back in April as a fansite of the widely-regarded “best beer in the world”. But after a few weeks on the web, the owner received a whole bunch of requests to buy the beer. Well apparently he was able to locate a drop shipper in Belgium with 50+ cases willing to sell the beer for $9 a bottle plus the shipping costs from Europe. In addition to the dot com and adjoining site, the sale also includes the domains www.westvleteren12.be and www.westvleteren12.net. As well as an accompanying Twitter account with more than 600 followers. The owner also claims, based on some of his own market testing, that the site will easily clear $1,100/month in revenue.
Now I certainly understand people wanting to get their hands on this beer; without hesitation it is certainly one of the best in the world. But does selling the beer online make it lose some of its mystique? Or for that matter, is it just downright wrong? For those that don’t know, according to Wikipedia,
Buyers of the beer receive a receipt with Niet verder verkopen (“Do not resell”) printed on it. The abbey is very much against resale of their beer, and it is their wish that the beer is only commercially available at the two official sale points. To this end, any Westvleteren beer which is sold anywhere else in the world is grey market beer, as no wholesalers or pubs are supplied with the beer, and the abbey is actively working to eliminate the illicit sales.
While the site does help promote the drinking of Better Beer — I’ll give it that — and it allows people who might not otherwise ever get to the abbey (or even Belgium for that matter), it also goes against everything the beer’s brewers (the monks) stand for and want in their beer.
So here’s the question, would you buy the site? And is the site’s existence (and sale) even right?