Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

UPDATE: The $7.50 pint of Pliny

By William Brand
Monday, January 26th, 2009 at 10:54 am in what's on tap.

A glass of Pliny, exquistely photographed and posted on The restaurant is in Bernal Heights, CA.

A glass of Pliny, exquistely photographed and posted on The restaurant is in Bernal Heights, CA.

And furthermore….On the cost of a pint of Pliny the Elder at Barclay’s, the great beer pub at 5940  College Ave. in Oakland…They’ve raised the price of a pint of Pliny to $7.50, causing consternation among some regulars and Pliny lovers.

Haven’t reached Gene Bromstead, the pub owner yet. But I did talked to Derek Krebs, who is handling beer orders these days. (GM Ryan Westerman has left Barclay’s. Will miss Ryan).

Derek pointed out that Barclay’s pours an imperial pint: 20 ounces, while other good pubs like Cato’s, Ben & Nick’s in Oakland and Hopyard in Pleasanton and San Ramon pour 16 ounce pints.

Doing the math, a 15.5 gallon barrel of Pliny now costs $180, up 33 percent. “We pour 20 oz. pints, it comes up to 98 to 100 glasses,”  Derek said.

That comes out at about $5.55 a pint. (My math.)  So that’s less than a $2 profit a pint; the profit has to pay for everything, the pub rent, taxes, employees, equipment, upkeep.

Derek adds that Vinnie Cilurzo,, Russian River’s brewer-owner, tells them he signed hop futures contracts last year, which means he now pays more for hops than he had been.  So there were are, our economy sucks, doesn’t it. Everybody’s caught in the same squeeze. Damn.

But I’d rather drink a 20 ounce glass of Pliny at $7.50,  than any corporate beer ever made. Period.  You know what I mean, there you are stuck in a hotel or chain restaurant with friends, you look at the menu and they have:  1. many light beers. 2. Heineken. 3. Stella. 4. Guinness…the mind reels and the palate is sickened.  What would I be willing to pay for a glass of Pliny right then.  $7.50? Damn right.

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  • Antonio

    Wait. Math alert!

    180 divided by 100 = 1.80
    5.55 times 100 = 555.00

    That said, I agree. A $7.50 pint of Pliny is waaaayyy better than $5 pint of corporate dreck.

  • William Brand

    Yeah, my math sucks. You shold have seen me in high school (managed to avoid all math except in chemistry in college.

  • craig

    at 4$ a pint it is still 100% profit…these days nothing(except beer)can claim 100% profit …i can’t enjoy any beer when i fell i’m getting “reamed” while drinking it!!…it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth…

  • Antonio

    In that case, let’s go drinking together. Don’t worry, I’ll do the math when it comes time to split the bill. You are trusting, right? Bad at math and trusting sounds like the making of a fantastic drinking buddy. 😉

  • erik_flannestad


    While some of my friends might like my house to be a restaurant or speakeasy, for better or for worse, that’s just my kitchen table.

    Cheers and thanks for the shout out!


  • William Brand

    Great photo Erik.

  • William Brand

    Bad at math, trusting and er–chronically short of cash.

  • Antonio

    Yes, I am short of cash as well. I blame the exorbitantly high price of craft beer…

  • Jim Smith

    Any bets on how much a small glass of Pliny The Younger will run?

  • William Brand

    $5. My guess.

  • Mike

    I heard PTY was going to be $4.50 for a 10oz glass at their brewery.

  • Mike P

    I wouldn’t pay $7.50 for a pint of Pliny… but that’s just because 20oz of an 8% DIPA would get me buzzed pretty quick, and I enjoy having at least 2-3 beers when I go out :) I guess if that’s your goal though… how much are they selling Bud Light for? If you’re counting ABV, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth

  • Thomas

    “So there were are, our economy sucks, doesn’t it.”

    Or think of it as hop growers finally being able to pay the bills and that is something as a beer drinker and homebrewer I can whole heartedly support.

  • William Brand

    Coming from a farm background, I agree Thomas. Higher prices suck, but maybe they’re necesssary.

  • craig

    how for “blind pig”…i’ll gladly drink that for less…

  • James

    Had lunch at Pizza Antica in Straberry Village last week, saw Pliny on the Menu and was very excited. That is, until I noticed the price at $15+ for a 750ml bottle. All in all they had a good selection, Unibroue’s Fin Du Monde $12? (don’t remember this price for sure and isn’t posted on their website), Fantome $25, AVB Summer Solstice 12oz $6.50 & Pliny, but all seemed over-priced to me. Oh yeah, they have good Pizza too

  • William Brand

    $15? I’d draw the line unless I was stuck in hell and gone for a long time and desperate. Don’t beliee they bottle Pliny in 750s. 12 oz. only.

  • anon

    16 oz

  • MoragaMike

    I dropped by The Hopyard in Pleasanton yesterday evening. I ordered a pint of Pliney. The bartender said apologetically, “the price is $6.50″. I said “do it”. She provided a sample of the other DIPA they had on tap…I’m sure glad I didn’t order a pint of that one. Pliney at $6.50 is better than the so-so DIPA at, say, half the price.

  • William Brand

    Yeah, I’mn with you. Pliny is just about impossible to duplicate and when I’m in the mood for a big DIPA and Pliny is available, I go for it.

  • William Brand

    But it will be fun next Saturday at the Bistro Double IPA fest to try some others. Ya’ never know….