Back in 2008, we discovered the Bierstick. Simply put, it was a beer bong alternative that was a giant syringe that delivers two beers rapidly by depressing the plunger at the back end. A new and unique way to pound beers in the tailgating parking lot that didn’t rely on gravity. Pretty cool product… or so we thought.
We reached out to the Bierstick people and requested a sample so that we could test it out and write a proper and thorough review. All of our emails were either ignored or rebuffed. Apparently the creators had built such an awesome product, they didn’t need any more publicity.
In December 2014, we received this email:
We recently became the new and proud owners of a unique beer drinking device, the Bierstick! This is a new product that we would like to offer to you at a wholesale price. Our prices are currently low until we establish a good name with our customers.This device sells for $43 on our website. Sell it in your store for whatever you think is best. The Bierstick team is hoping to create a long lasting relationship with you and we look forward to doing business. We see you have novelty items like ours on your site and we feel like this could potentially help the both of us.
Apparently the “search” button on our website was not prominent and hard to find because had these new owners bothered to click it and enter in the term “bierstick” they would have learned we discovered their product six years prior. Despite that glaring oversight, we opened up an email conversation. I requested a sample of the Bierstick so we could thoroughly test it in a tailgating environment. Their reply:
Ya we can do that, we can do 19$ free shipping does that work? Where do I send the invoice via paypal?
We are the young new owners with different business ideas for the BierStick. Quick responses, good quality, professional business.
Seeing how these new owners are self-admittedly “young new owners with different business ideas” I politely explained to these new owners that Tailgating Ideas is not in the business of buying products just to see if they will be a good fit, are made well, will sell to our audience, etc. Their reply to my email was an admission of their naiveté to the business world and they offered to send a sample gratis.
Upon receipt, we did a review and a video review that we uploaded to YouTube:
(We have since edited the video to update viewers on the business relationship that has gone sour.)
We liked the product and thought it might be good to offer the Bierstick for sale in our online store. We priced it at just under $30 which is lower than most retailers would price a product. Normally, retailers will price a product for double their landed costs. (Landed costs include cost of the product, freight, etc.) Priced at $19 per unit we would need to price the product at nearly $40 even if Bierstick folks picked up the shipping. They didn’t and we paid for the units to arrive via our own FedEx account.
In addition to offering the Bierstick in our online store, we took them to outdoor street fairs and open air marketplaces and tried to sell them there. Of the 10 initial units we purchased, we sold three or four in a year. Not the stellar product that was supposed to fly off the shelves as the new, young owners had promised.
Because the sales of the Bierstick had been so underwhelming for so long, we decided to try and sell the remaining units on Amazon. The thought process was to just liquidate the Bierstick from our inventory. Cut our losses and move on and treat it as a learning lesson.
The Bierstick product was up and available for sale on Amazon for 24 hours before we received this email:
We are the owners of the Bierstick and do not give any consent to sell the Bierstick product on Amazon. A few weeks ago we contacted Amazon and stopped all other sellers from listing our product. A few of them got there accounts suspended. We would like to contact you before we do this and give you a chance to take down your listing. Please do this ASAP and let us know. Just would like to give you a heads up before we move to Amazon for further action. We will do this in 48 hrs.
Thanks for your compliance
Nothing like coming out of the gate with claws and fangs. Not the way we would have opened up a business conversation but they are free to run their business the way they want. Our response:
This is Dave from Tailgating Ideas. I purchased these Bierstick units a few years back. I purchased a quantity of them and they have not sold very well. We have tried selling them in our online store and at open air marketplaces like street festivals and swap meets. The Biersticks we have still inventory have not sold in over a year. We were using Amazon to liquidate the inventory and recover some revenue that is tied up in inventory that has not and does not sell.
If you would like to buy back our remaining inventory we would be happy to do that. We would like to continue to sell these remaining units in the Amazon marketplace to clearance these items and clear the inventory. Thank you for your understanding.
Apparently reasonable and professional responses are not part of the Bierstick team’s business plan. They quickly responded with:
Sorry we can’t take the Biersticks back. We sold them to you with the intention that you were going to sell them on your own website. We have amazon contacting us when someone new comes on Amazon and asks if we would like to kick them off. We can’t allow people to be on Amazon. So we will have no choice but to send a dispute against you through Amazon. I don’t want to do that so please just remove your listing. You can continue to sell any other place but amazon. Or we will buy them back at 3.00 each
Buy back our remaining inventory for $3 a unit? We paid $19 plus the freight to have them shipped to us. We can only assume we will be the ones picking up the shipping costs to ship the remaining Biersticks they are willing to buy back at $0.16 on the dollar. How gracious of the Bierstick team!
We have since removed the Bierstick listing from Amazon in order to be in compliance. But in an effort to rid ourselves of these remaining Biersticks, we are now discounting them 50% off the regular price. That’s right, we are now selling them for below what we paid for them.
Best of luck to the guys over at Bierstick. We hope you sell a truckload of these on Amazon. We only wanted to sell the remaining stock we had on our shelves. Instead of looking the other way and letting us get rid of the Bierstick you chose a different route.