Adam James Dickinson has a good taste in beer, but a bad taste in life choices. The former Avery Brewing Co. brewer was arrested last Thursday in Fort Collins following a Boulder police investigation that said he was selling pilfered beer on eBay; Dickinson was fired from Avery Brewing a year ago.
According to the Coloradoan: “Some of the bottles were worth $300 each, police said. At the time of his arrest, Dickinson was the assistant brewer at Black Bottle Brewery. He is not accused of any crime connected with Black Bottle, and police said Black Bottle cooperated in the investigation.”
According to the same article: “More than 570 bottles were recovered during a search warrant executed at Dickinson’s home in Fort Collins and included several cases of Isabelle Proximus beer [$200/bottle]; bottles of Duck Duck Gooze beer [$100/bottle]; bottles of Rogue Old Crustacean beer [$100/bottle] and one bottle of 2001 Rogue Old Crustacean Barley Wine [$100/bottle], police said.”
The police estimate the beer is worth $15,000. Some beers recovered as evidence had been given to Dickinson’s new employer as a gift and included rare bottles of Black Tot Barrel-Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout and Sui Generis Barrel-Aged Sour Ale, which now go for $200-$300 a bottle.
Why is Avery Brewing Co.’s beer valued so highly? Supply, demand and crazy complex flavor profiles. Let’s take its Sui Generis Barrel-Aged Sour Ale. Only 128 cases were ever produced. The complex ale is aged and artfully blended from several types of oak barrels, displaying a delightful lactic sourness complemented by hints of brett, oak and acetic. Intricate yet bold, Sui Generis was crafted in the tradition of perennial Tap Room favorites De Vogelbekdieren and Voltron. This brew was drawn from a most unique group of oak barrels: It is a blend of ales from 39 percent Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, 35 percent Chardonnay barrels, 13 percent Port barrels and 13 percent Bourbon barrels.
Collecting, selling and (yes) stealing rare craft beers is a reality that’s here to stay, especially as barrel aging becomes the new infatuation of American craft brewers and customers.