Sunday, 11 November 2012

Returnable?

I recently opened a bottle of Oktoberfestbier bought from an independent off-licence where I have been a regular customer for many years. It was as flat as a fluke – absolutely zero carbonation – and so went straight down the sink. The lack of that tell-tale hiss when levering off the cap was an obvious giveaway before I even started pouring. So should I take the empty back and complain, or just write it off to experience?

15 comments:

  1. Personally write off to experience, one off is not a problem.

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  2. I'm inclined to agree, but it's annoying when you're looking forward to drinking it.

    And beer must be one of the very few food products where, if it's faulty, it's well-nigh impossible to take the evidence back to the shop.

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  3. I'm having the same problem. Two bottles of the same beer bought weeks apart from the same off licence. Both were shockingly bad, absolutely no carbonation. Poured down sink. The problem is that the brewery is one of the best IMHO and everything else I've had has been superb.
    I think I might email said brewery to alert them to a potential problem though I am not sure.
    I do not want to come across as derogatory for a brewer who is brilliant.

    What does anyone think? Write it off (£5)

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  4. If it's happened more than once and it's a British brewery I think a polite e-mail would be justified.

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  5. But at the end of the day it is the responsibility of the retailer, not the brewer, to provide a product of merchantable quality.

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  6. Definitely take them back. When I ran my off-licence I had the odd bottle of beer returned empty. I either refunded the customer's money, or gave them another bottle of their choice at a similar value. Then I complained to the brewery, or wholesaler concerned. If you are a regular customer at this off-licence, then I'm certain they will act in the same manner.

    I do remember though one customer who returned wine, just that little bit too often, claiming it was "corked". Virtually every time I could find nothing wrong with the wine, and I doubt if this person would have known what "corked " was, even if it were to jump up and bite him in the face! Oh the joys of maintaining good customer relations!

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  7. Old Speckled Hen in cans is very variable - it is often completely flat.

    At the other extreme, I had a bottle of Hook Norton Double Stout recently which had way too much fizz. It would not stop frothing out of the bottle for a while after opening, and wsa hard to pour. It was as if it was still fermenting.

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  8. My God, the Mudgie curse strikes again! This time it's not a British BCA either! How do you do it?

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  9. Learn from experience, Mudge, and stick to cheap Tesco lout.

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  10. Take it back. The customer is king.

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  11. @John Clarke - it was a very rare experience, although once or twice before I have had obscure German imports that were slightly hazy and a bit "off"

    @Cookie - you're sounding like a stuck record there, pal :p

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  12. Okay then, how about pointing out supermarkets require utilisation of shelf space and high turnover meaning the shelves of your local 24 hour tesco are restocked 3 times a day.

    Unlike your local independent beer geek offie, you won't pick up a bottle that has sat on the shelf for 3 months.

    So learn from experience, Mudge, and stick to cheap Tesco lout. You can pick up a decent lager Vratislav for 99p rather than the £2.80 for a bottle in the independent and it will not be shit. Club card points too.

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  13. If it's this year's Oktoberfestbier by definition it will be well within date.

    Slow morning in the office today, Cookie, given the torrent of trollery?

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  14. Ah well, in the end I took it back and it was exchanged with (reasonably) good grace. And I bought a few other bottles as well to underline the point I wasn't just taking the piss.

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