Trading Beer for Bags -- NYT Article

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/07/fashion/07beer.html?ref=fashion




    Trading Brews for Bags? High Five!

    [​IMG] Tom Sandler/Getty Images for The New York Time

    Ale of a Sale Trading beer for bags at Crumpler in Toronto. The promotion comes to New York on Saturday.


    By: STEPHANIE ROSENBLOOM
    Published: June 7, 2007

    WHILE many city dwellers are escaping to the beach this weekend, the irreverent owners of two Crumpler bag shops in Manhattan are planning a promotion seemingly devised by Homer Simpson: Bring them beer, and in exchange they will give you one of their practical carryalls.
    This, reader, is not the Barneys warehouse sale. It’s Beer for Bags — the “sale with ale” — at which international brews and the occasional food item are swapped for laptop, camera, messenger and other bags. And while you won’t find Fendi or Gucci, you’re still likely to encounter a crowd.
    If last year’s inaugural New York sale is a guide, customers will arrive at the SoHo and West Village shops during the promotion, June 9 through 17, in cars so heavy with beer they will scrape the asphalt, and pushing baby carriages brimming with cases.
    The stores have set a fixed rate of barter, like one case of Coopers and four Foster’s Oil Cans for the Barney Rustle Blanket messenger bag (all the bags have oddball names), which is normally $95. As there is no limit on the number of bags that can be acquired, beer is aplenty.
    Even though New Yorkers live in a city where you can see elephants walk through the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, last year some wandered into Crumpler dumbstruck that beer was being accepted as currency. They then left to go buy some.
    Crumpler’s New York shops, at 45 Spring Street and 49 Eighth Avenue (West Fourth Street), were transformed into bars as swappers stayed to imbibe. Cases of imported brews like Coopers and Leffe and bottles of Chimay piled up inside the shops.
    “We couldn’t get people out of the stores at nighttime,” said Lindsay Cousley, the general manager for Crumpler USA.
    The same Beer for Bags promotion is taking place at Crumpler’s Toronto outpost this week. In Melbourne, Australia, where the brand was founded in 1995 by three former bicycle messengers, the exchange has a cultlike status, with thousands of beer-toting customers lining up with cases, kegs — even, once, a barrel.
    “It goes berserk,” said Dave Roper, one of Crumpler’s founders. “At the sale last year there were certain beers that were just sold out of the city. We dried it out.”
    As Mr. Cousley put it, “Beer is the universal language.” Besides, he said, the price of the beer used to barter represents a 40 to 50 percent savings over the bags’ full retail price. “It’s a complex mathematical equation.”
    The swapping happens to be as easy as playing a game of quarters: Choose the bag you desire, then use the Beer Wheel (available at www.crumplerbags.com/b4b/ and in Crumpler stores) to determine the brand and quantity of the beer needed to acquire the bag. In New York, the Status Belly messenger bag will go for a case of Grolsch; a Thirsty Al digital electronics bag will cost four cans of Boddingtons; a Moderate Embarrassment computer bag costs two cases of Asahi and one packet of ramen noodles. (The noodles, it seems, are to sop up the abundance of soy sauce employees requested during last year’s sale.)
    Crumpler is the brainchild of three beer- and pizza-loving guys who say bartering is commonplace in their bike-messenger circles. Their rugged, colorful products are practical, not status bags — unless of course that status is laid-back. As Mr. Roper put it: “We like to party.” Beer for Bags is not a result of strategic marketing sessions, but rather, thirst. On a sticky afternoon in the owners’ native Australia, they told some customers that if they brought them some beer, they would trade them some bags.
    Last Saturday, Jennifer Dines, 35, her husband and a friend drove 45 minutes from Oshawa, Ontario, to the inaugural Crumpler sale at Queen Street West in Toronto. On the way, they went on a hunt for Colt 45.
    “We ended up going to three different stores for one particular brand because they were all out,” Ms. Dines said. She and her husband ended up swapping beer for five bags. Then they went back again on Sunday to meet a character known as Pineapple Ju-Ju, who was at the first Beer for Bags sale last year in New York and appears in a Crumpler YouTube video. “It was really fun,” Ms. Dines said. “It was a very relaxed atmosphere. They had beer everywhere, cases stacked up everywhere.”
    So where does all this beer end up?
    Some is consumed at after-sale parties organized by the stores. (Your admission ticket is a Polaroid photograph the Crumpler staff takes of you and the beer you brought.) Crumpler also gives cases to charity, sporting and art events, especially to student artists. “To pay for the booze for your opening night can be quite costly,” Mr. Roper said. “We’ll donate 20 cases or whatever it is. We spread the love.”
    A spokesman for the New York State Liquor Authority, Bill Crowley, said it is a misdemeanor for a business or an individual that does not have a license to sell alcohol to use it as barter. Enforcement is left up to local police.
    Mr. Cousley said that last year the stores attracted no attention from the police, despite cases of beer stacked inside. In anticipation of this year’s exchange, he said, local beer distributors have been warned to stock up. And beginning Thursday, four fit, tan Australian men will be riding around Manhattan on bicycles attached to billboards that read “Bring Us Your Beer.” For now, the only Beer for Bags rule is don’t attempt to trade the cheap stuff.
    “People have tried to bring us Bud a lot,” Mr. Cousley said, “which we kindly refuse.”
     
  2. Thanks for the article Sonya!

    If only you could do that at Hermes.......
     
  3. Hilarious!!!!
     
  4. I wonder if they would take rootbeer in trade....hmm...
     
  5. OK - so i can't exactly picture some of our favorite bag makers having a similar promotion (maybe using Cristal to barter instead? ;)) but this story made me smile!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/07/fashion/07beer.html?_r=1&ref=fashion&oref=login

    ***************************

    June 7, 2007
    Trading Brews for Bags? High Five!

    By STEPHANIE ROSENBLOOM
    WHILE many city dwellers are escaping to the beach this weekend, the irreverent owners of two Crumpler bag shops in Manhattan are planning a promotion seemingly devised by Homer Simpson: Bring them beer, and in exchange they will give you one of their practical carryalls.

    This, reader, is not the Barneys warehouse sale. It’s Beer for Bags — the “sale with ale” — at which international brews and the occasional food item are swapped for laptop, camera, messenger and other bags. And while you won’t find Fendi or Gucci, you’re still likely to encounter a crowd.

    If last year’s inaugural New York sale is a guide, customers will arrive at the SoHo and West Village shops during the promotion, June 9 through 17, in cars so heavy with beer they will scrape the asphalt, and pushing baby carriages brimming with cases.

    The stores have set a fixed rate of barter, like one case of Coopers and four Foster’s Oil Cans for the Barney Rustle Blanket messenger bag (all the bags have oddball names), which is normally $95. As there is no limit on the number of bags that can be acquired, beer is aplenty.

    Even though New Yorkers live in a city where you can see elephants walk through the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, last year some wandered into Crumpler dumbstruck that beer was being accepted as currency. They then left to go buy some.

    Crumpler’s New York shops, at 45 Spring Street and 49 Eighth Avenue (West Fourth Street), were transformed into bars as swappers stayed to imbibe. Cases of imported brews like Coopers and Leffe and bottles of Chimay piled up inside the shops.

    “We couldn’t get people out of the stores at nighttime,” said Lindsay Cousley, the general manager for Crumpler USA.

    The same Beer for Bags promotion is taking place at Crumpler’s Toronto outpost this week. In Melbourne, Australia, where the brand was founded in 1995 by three former bicycle messengers, the exchange has a cultlike status, with thousands of beer-toting customers lining up with cases, kegs — even, once, a barrel.

    “It goes berserk,” said Dave Roper, one of Crumpler’s founders. “At the sale last year there were certain beers that were just sold out of the city. We dried it out.”

    As Mr. Cousley put it, “Beer is the universal language.” Besides, he said, the price of the beer used to barter represents a 40 to 50 percent savings over the bags’ full retail price. “It’s a complex mathematical equation.”

    The swapping happens to be as easy as playing a game of quarters: Choose the bag you desire, then use the Beer Wheel (available at www.crumplerbags.com/b4b/ and in Crumpler stores) to determine the brand and quantity of the beer needed to acquire the bag. In New York, the Status Belly messenger bag will go for a case of Grolsch; a Thirsty Al digital electronics bag will cost four cans of Boddingtons; a Moderate Embarrassment computer bag costs two cases of Asahi and one packet of ramen noodles. (The noodles, it seems, are to sop up the abundance of soy sauce employees requested during last year’s sale.)

    Crumpler is the brainchild of three beer- and pizza-loving guys who say bartering is commonplace in their bike-messenger circles. Their rugged, colorful products are practical, not status bags — unless of course that status is laid-back. As Mr. Roper put it: “We like to party.” Beer for Bags is not a result of strategic marketing sessions, but rather, thirst. On a sticky afternoon in the owners’ native Australia, they told some customers that if they brought them some beer, they would trade them some bags.

    Last Saturday, Jennifer Dines, 35, her husband and a friend drove 45 minutes from Oshawa, Ontario, to the inaugural Crumpler sale at Queen Street West in Toronto. On the way, they went on a hunt for Colt 45.
    “We ended up going to three different stores for one particular brand because they were all out,” Ms. Dines said. She and her husband ended up swapping beer for five bags. Then they went back again on Sunday to meet a character known as Pineapple Ju-Ju, who was at the first Beer for Bags sale last year in New York and appears in a Crumpler YouTube video. “It was really fun,” Ms. Dines said. “It was a very relaxed atmosphere. They had beer everywhere, cases stacked up everywhere.”

    So where does all this beer end up?

    Some is consumed at after-sale parties organized by the stores. (Your admission ticket is a Polaroid photograph the Crumpler staff takes of you and the beer you brought.) Crumpler also gives cases to charity, sporting and art events, especially to student artists. “To pay for the booze for your opening night can be quite costly,” Mr. Roper said. “We’ll donate 20 cases or whatever it is. We spread the love.”

    A spokesman for the New York State Liquor Authority, Bill Crowley, said it is a misdemeanor for a business or an individual that does not have a license to sell alcohol to use it as barter. Enforcement is left up to local police.

    Mr. Cousley said that last year the stores attracted no attention from the police, despite cases of beer stacked inside. In anticipation of this year’s exchange, he said, local beer distributors have been warned to stock up. And beginning Thursday, four fit, tan Australian men will be riding around Manhattan on bicycles attached to billboards that read “Bring Us Your Beer.” For now, the only Beer for Bags rule is don’t attempt to trade the cheap stuff. “People have tried to bring us Bud a lot,” Mr. Cousley said, “which we kindly refuse.”