Trading: A Tricky Question of Etiquette

Beer Trading Tom Cramer

By Staff Blogger Tom Cramer

Admittedly, I haven’t been an active trader for quite some time. A couple of years ago, I was fairly active, completing in-person trades in the Chicagoland area. I’m still a member of many local trade groups on social media, but I don’t check them often, let alone daily, like I used to.

Usually I only check when one of my friends posts a new trade, and then sometimes scroll to see what’s going on in the trade world. This happened recently, and I saw someone trading bottles of the new batch of Rue d’Floyd (RDF), the collaboration between The Bruery and Three Floyds. The first batch was one of my favorite beers of all time. It was an imperial porter aged in bourbon barrels with added vanilla beans and cherries - delicious.
When the first batch went on sale a few years back, there was advance notice that sales would start on a Saturday, and my friends and I drove out to Three Floyds to pick some up. We arrived before the to-go kiosk even opened, but still, there was a long line of people already ahead of us. It was a long wait, and it was only one bottle per person. If I remember correctly, the bottles sold out either that same day or early the next.

A few weekends ago, I heard that the new batch went on sale, but it seemed like a surprise release from the social media chatter. I was bummed that I couldn’t make it out there that day. Checking at the end of the night, people reported it was still available, but it didn’t look like much left, so I didn’t make plans to try on Sunday. It takes me about an hour to get to Floyds, and I didn’t think I’d get there in time.

The buzz on Sunday was that they didn’t sell out, that they had some more cases in the back. I still couldn’t make it out there, but based on what happened for Batch 1, I never dreamed it would be available the following weekend.

So when I saw someone willing to trade RDF during that week, I responded. There was some negotiation back and forth, but we agreed on a 1:1 trade for Bourbon County Regal Rye. I had seen that trade close more than a few times locally. But due to the distance involved, the trade was set for Saturday.

The night before, I stopped by a local watering hole, and started talking to the bar tender, asking him about his trip to Hunahpu Day in Tampa. Somehow my trade came up, and he told me he was pretty sure the RDF was still for sale at the kiosk. We looked it up, and it was.

Now, I’m quite aware that it’s bad form to break a trade, especially because a “better offer” came along. I’m also aware that it’s my bad for not checking to see if the beer was still available for sale before agreeing to a secondary market trade.

Still, I felt manipulated. Many, many times I have seen proposed trades with the comment that one of the beers is still available for purchase, but either due to time or money constraints a person would rather trade what they already have rather than spending more money, or making the drive to get it, especially if it’s an hour away.

I texted a friend for advice, and he reinforced it’s bad form to break a trade, but not to bring up the situation. Another friend came in and offered the same advice. So, I messaged the guy and said that I wasn’t breaking the trade, but that I wouldn’t have agreed to the secondary market level trade had I known the RDF was still available for purchase at retail.
His reply - “Go get it homie.”

So the next day, I drove out to Three Floyds and purchased my own, saving my Regal Rye.
What do you think of this situation and how I handled it? Would you have done the same, or just gone through with the trade?

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  • David Meyers on

    I would’ve enforced the agreement. If I wanted the Regal bad enough I would’ve taken you to small claims court over the deal. Because you were too lazy to look up the fact that the beer was available at the kiosk the person who offered his beer should be penalized?

    Moreover, in many people’s opinion RDF is a much better beer than Regal Rye. Perhaps the person trading his RDF values them equally. The bottom line is you were offered an RDF for your Regal, accepted, and backed out. If that person can’t get another one or can’t trade the one he has he’s suffered some damages.

    So that’s the legal analysis of the situation (you are in the wrong). The ethics of the situation are even worse. You backed out of a deal when you saw that you had a better offer after being in agreement. That’s incredibly poor form. You indicate in this post that you don’t trade much at all anymore and that made it ok for you to do this. I think you are a cheater, a liar, a backstabber and an out and out unethical person. Who knows what else you are doing, but I can guarantee it isn’t good.


  • Ethan on

    It seems like you handled it well by letting him know what was going on and seeing what he thought. In the end, communicating is most important. If you were willing to trade the regal, maybe see if the guy wants to meet up and share both bottles?

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