Short Pours #1: Introduction, Market Volatility, Rare Beers

beer flight short pours

Welcome to Short Pours, my new short-format series of posts that will allow me to publish a little more frequently, and get a bit more creative with my content.

Introduction

What is Short Pours?

I don’t publish as frequently as I’d like to, mainly because I’m a perfectionist. My boss used to complain that I took too long to write the papers I would deliver at industry conferences. He wanted something “quick, dirty, and full of marketing” (bullshit). That’s not something I’m capable of. Likewise, I seem to take too long delivering my posts, because I want them to be perfect.

I’m never going to write four times a week. (Side note- how the hell do people publish four times per week when they have a full time job and a family?). Hopefully Short Pours will get me to 3-4 posts per month, which is about as much as I’d like to publish.

Short Pours Format

I want this series to be casual and informal. I’ll use Short Pours to cover shorter topics that don’t deserve a full length article. It’ll also be an opportunity to share more charts, graphs and data, which I can’t get enough of.

There will be often be a Good Reads section, featuring some of the best material I’ve come across recently in the blogosphere. I will provide my own take on these topics, and hopefully foster some discussion in the comments section.

Finally, I will leave you with some beer talk in the What’s Brewing section. This blog is supposed to be about beer and homebrewing, and I barely mention it. What gives!? So from now on I will talk about what I’m brewing, or something interesting that I drank recently.

Market Volatility

market volatility
Panic ensues..

If you pay any attention to the economy, you’ve noticed that there has been some turmoil in the markets recently. Wait, let me say that in sensationalist media terms.

“Dow Plunges, Volatility Soars as Interest Rates Spike”

-CNBC headline

Now let me annotate that same headline. 

“Dow Plunges (comes down a few percentage points from all time highs), Volatility Soars (closer to the historical average) as Interest Rates Spike (but are still too low for a ‘good’ economy)”

-CNBC headline, adjusted

I know, hyperbole sells. But it also roils regular people who don’t follow financial markets on a day-to-day basis. People hear that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and they start dumping their investments. At the exact wrong time.

I follow financial news and the economy fairly closely, but only because I find it interesting. Sure, seeing a stock or fund you own drop 4% in a day is a little unnerving. But unless you’re planning on retiring in the next year, it’s no big deal. In fact, you should welcome lower equity prices, because it will mean that you’re getting a better value when you invest.

Trying to time markets is typically a losing game. But paying attention to macro trends and being aware of the bigger picture is prudent.

We’re in the midst of a nine-plus year bull market since the financial collapse of almost a decade ago. We’re entering an inflationary cycle, where credit will begin to tighten and eventually we’ll see another recession. This is inevitable. Although I don’t know when it will happen, I’m preparing for an eventual downturn.

I’ve mentioned in my net worth updates that I’ve been selling riskier assets and slowly building up a cash position. I’ve trimmed most of my cyclical stocks and am currently holding equities that should perform well through good and bad times. Our cash (and cash equivalents) totals approximately 7% of our invested assets, and I’m taking a “wait and see” approach before adjusting this value.

If you’re interested in reading more about the stock market, investing, and asset allocation, I suggest you check out jlcollinsnh’s “Stock Series.” It has pretty much everything you need to know as a casual investor. Also, check out Freddy Smidlap’s take on investing in volatile markets. 

What’s Brewing?

Lately I’ve been drinking my fair share of Sip of Sunshine from Lawson’s Finest Liquids. Lawson’s Finest is based Warren, VT, but contract brews Sip of Sunshine out of Two Roads (Stratford, CT). It is a double IPA loaded with juicy, floral hops. But unlike the latest New England IPA craze, this beer has a solid malt backbone and bitterness to balance the hoppiness. In a time that beers are starting to taste like fruit juice milkshakes, I welcome the “beer-ness” of this brew.

The reason I’ve been drinking a lot of Sip lately is due to its newfound availability. This beer is exemplary of the life cycle of a hard-to-get, or “white whale”, beer.

The 3 Stages of Rare Beers

  1. Impossible to get. An insider has to tip you off about a secret release, then you wait in line for hours, only to find it’s sold out before you can get any. You then pay $20 per can on a secondary market, or trade your first-born. 
  2. Limited availability, ridiculous pricing. The beer becomes more regularly available, but there is still a supply-demand imbalance. You pay $5 a can to drink it, and you start to wonder why you try so hard to obtain it. 
  3. Available, and reasonably priced. Finally, the beer is on shelves at the local liquor store, and the price gouging relents. By now, nobody cares about this beer anymore. People on Facebook beer trade groups tell you it used to be awesome, but the recipe changed and now it sucks. THIS IS WHEN YOU BUY!

Sip of Sunshine followed the exact trajectory I just described. For a few years it was nearly impossible to get. Then it was occasionally in stores, but sold for $18-20 per 4-pack. These days, it is regularly sitting on shelvesand can be found for $12, which is close to the MSRP. Hence, I’ve been drinking a lot of it lately.

That’s it for the first of my Short Pours series. Feel free to join my various discussions in the comments section. Cheers!

2 thoughts on “Short Pours #1: Introduction, Market Volatility, Rare Beers

  • hey, thanks for the shout out. the same thing happens with wines that fall in and out of favor. lately rubes have been buying up rose (pink) wines like crazy just because monkey see, monkey do and marketing. they’re also buying “natural” wines that are often cloudy. that leaves a bunch of great wines i’ve been having for years at a reasonable price for me and they haven’t changed. i tell everyone to taste whenever they can and decide for themselves.

    you ever have pliney the elder from ca? people were going crazy over that for awhile.

    • I don’t drink wine (yet) but I have heard that the wine world follows similar trends. I was mildly interested in natural wine at one point, but lost interest when I learned it’s really just “cloudy, unpredictable wine.”

      I did get to taste Pliny the Elder once; my friend got it through a beer trade. It was definitely good, but I think the hype and mystique probably overshot the reality. Such is life, I guess!

If You Read Something, Say Something!