Sam Adams Millennium sells for $4,910
Other limited edition bottles go for more than $1,000 in online auctions
Nov 30, 1999 - A college professor paid $4,910 for bottle No. 1 of the new Sam Adams Millennium beer from Boston Beer Co. in a charity auction at Yahoo.com.
"We were all very excited," said Boston Beer spokesperson Erica Darling. "We had no idea what it would sell for."
"We wish we had more bottles for (other) charity auctions," said Lucy Sholley of Boston Beer. However, all 3,000 bottles have been handed out as gifts or shipped to distributors.
The winning bidder, who prefers to remain anonymous, lives in Boston. He bought the bottle for his wife in celebration of their 10th wedding anniversary. Proceeds from the auction went to the Colorado Outward Bound School.
Enthusiastic bidding for bottles of the Millennium didn't stop with charity. Bottles sold for more than $1,000 at both Yahoo.com and eBay.com within the last week, although prices realized have dropped since.
Millennium is the strongest beer ever brewed for distribution. It is 20% alcohol by volume. The brewery released just 3,000 750 ml bottles of the special brew. The package contains a cobalt blue wine bottle with platinum lettering, finished with a natural cork and sealing wax, encased in a cherry wood box. All 3,000 bottles were signed and numbered by Boston Beer Company founder and Jim Koch.
Boston Beer gave bottles to each of its employees and reserved other bottles to use as corporate gifts. That left about 2,000 bottles to sell in all but the 16 states where they are outlawed. Many distributors passed on the opportunity to buy them.
"Now everybody is calling us and they want the beer," Sholley said. "They are all gone."
eBay banned the sale of alcohol at its site in October and was not interested in hosting the auction for bottle No. 1. It has, however, allowed individuals to put Millennium in auctions. The bottles are considered "collectible" and limited edition products.
In auctions that closed before No. 1 was sold, bottle No. 2020 brought $1,110 in a Yahoo! auction and a bottle fetched $1,025 on eBay. A few days later a bottle went unsold on eBay because it did not meet the seller's reserve despite drawing a bid of $560.
In two auctions that closed Tuesday at eBay, one bottle drew a high bid of $415 and another a bid of $500 but neither reached the seller's reserve. Several eBay auctions were scheduled to end Wednesday, some with reserves and some without. There are also several Yahoo! auctions featuring Millennium due to close in the next few days.
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