Black market craft beer is bad for business

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Black Market Craft Beer Is Bad for Business

With all the things you can buy on the black market, from stolen Picassos to the occasional vital organ, you probably didn't think something as ubiquitous as beer could be covertly bought and sold.

But the world's most popular alcoholic beverage made its way to the black market and that could really screw up your enjoyment of your favorite craft brew.

CNN Money reports that the influx in demand for specialty beer is causing small batch brewers to sell in secret and online at high mark ups.

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Black market craft beer is bad for business
In this Sept. 11, 2014 photo, Tom Owens of Marion, Mass., left, buys Heady Topper from sales clerk Victor Osinaga at Craft Beer Cellar in Waterbury, Vt. Owens traveled to Vermont in order to buy the beer. Osinaga is one of the shop’s owners. Heady Topper, the intensely hoppy American double IPA by The Alchemist Brewery in Waterbury, Vt., is wildly popular, and famously hard to get. (AP Photo/J.M. Hirsch)
This Sept. 11, 2014, photo shows the exterior of Craft Beer Cellar in Waterbury, Vt. The story sells Heady Topper, the intensely hoppy American double IPA by The Alchemist Brewery in Waterbury, Vt., that is wildly popular, and famously hard to get. (AP Photo/J.M. Hirsch)
This Tuesday Aug. 26, 2014 photo shows Kate Lee, of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, using a microscope to count yeast cells in beer samples in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. The brewery in Richmond brought in Lee, a veteran from Anheuser-Busch to head its quality assurance program. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
This Tuesday Aug. 26, 2014 photo shows Kate Lee, of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, as she draws a sample of beer from a tank in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. The brewery in Richmond brought in Lee, a veteran from Anheuser-Busch to head its quality assurance program. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
This Tuesday Aug. 26, 2014 photo shows Kate Lee, of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, using a hydrometer to test beer samples in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. The brewery in Richmond brought in Lee, a veteran from Anheuser-Busch to head its quality assurance program. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
This Tuesday Aug. 5, 2014 photo shows Rick Grymes, a lab analyst at Anheuser-Busch’s Williamsburg, Va., brewery, testing samples at the brewery's lab in Williamsburg, Va. One of the major things that separate home brewers from professional brewers is being able to not only brew a great beer but the exact same beer over and over again. (AP Photo/Michael Felberbaum)
FILE - In this May 22, 2014 file photo, Blanton Webb, left, an employee at LUCK (Local Urban Craft Kitchen) walks by the large number of beer taps that serve a variety of popular and local craft beers in Dallas. In a rule change, announced in June 2014 by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, federal officials have simplified parts of the approval process for bringing new beers to market. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
In this April 12, 2014 photo, Grayton Beer Company owner Jamey Price discusses a proposed bill that could affect Florida's craft brewing industry in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. Florida allows breweries to fill quart and gallon containers, called growlers, at their tap rooms, but the half-gallon size that’s the industry standard in 47 other states remains illegal. The latest legislation proposed would force breweries to buy their own beer from distributors at a markup before they can sell cans and bottles to brewery visitors. (AP Photo/Brendan Farrington)
In this April 12, 2014 photo, Grayton Beer Company owner Jamey Price discusses a proposed bill that could affect Florida's craft brewing industry in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. Florida allows breweries to fill quart and gallon containers, called growlers, at their tap rooms, but the half-gallon size that’s the industry standard in 47 other states remains illegal. The latest legislation proposed would force breweries to buy their own beer from distributors at a markup before they can sell cans and bottles to brewery visitors. (AP Photo/Brendan Farrington)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, Josh Terrell organizes beer making supplies at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Birmingham, Ala. A beer revolution is brewing in Alabama. Drinkers thirsty for something other than Budweiser or Miller didn’t have many choices in the state just a few years ago, but a series of laws passed since 2009 has opened up Alabama to the world of high-alcohol specialty beers, neighborhood brew pubs and microbreweries. And unlike before, hobbyists can now legally make their own beer after purchasing supplies at stores like Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, which was raided by state agents in 2012 before the law changed. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, a customer sits at the bar at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Birmingham, Ala. A beer revolution is brewing in Alabama. Drinkers thirsty for something other than Budweiser or Miller didn’t have many choices in the state just a few years ago, but a series of laws passed since 2009 has opened up Alabama to the world of high-alcohol specialty beers, neighborhood brew pubs and microbreweries. And unlike before, hobbyists can now legally make their own beer after purchasing supplies at stores like Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, which was raided by state agents in 2012 before the law changed and they stock over 1,200 different kinds of beer. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, a row of beer taps stand ready to serve at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Birmingham, Ala. A beer revolution is brewing in Alabama. Drinkers thirsty for something other than Budweiser or Miller didn’t have many choices in the state just a few years ago, but a series of laws passed since 2009 has opened up Alabama to the world of high-alcohol specialty beers, neighborhood brew pubs and microbreweries. And unlike before, hobbyists can now legally make their own beer after purchasing supplies at stores like Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, which was raided by state agents in 2012 before the law changed. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, a row of beer taps stand ready to serve at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Birmingham, Ala. A beer revolution is brewing in Alabama. Drinkers thirsty for something other than Budweiser or Miller didn’t have many choices in the state just a few years ago, but a series of laws passed since 2009 has opened up Alabama to the world of high-alcohol specialty beers, neighborhood brew pubs and microbreweries. And unlike before, hobbyists can now legally make their own beer after purchasing supplies at stores like Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, which was raided by state agents in 2012 before the law changed. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, Randy Posey of Jasper, Ala., shops for beer at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Birmingham, Ala. A beer revolution is brewing in Alabama. Drinkers thirsty for something other than Budweiser or Miller didn’t have many choices in the state just a few years ago, but a series of laws passed since 2009 has opened up Alabama to the world of high-alcohol specialty beers, neighborhood brew pubs and microbreweries. And unlike before, hobbyists can now legally make their own beer after purchasing supplies at stores like Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, which was raided by state agents in 2012 before the law changed and they stock over 1,200 different kinds of beer. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, shoppers search for their favorite beers at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Birmingham, Ala. A beer revolution is brewing in Alabama. Drinkers thirsty for something other than Budweiser or Miller didn’t have many choices in the state just a few years ago, but a series of laws passed since 2009 has opened up Alabama to the world of high-alcohol specialty beers, neighborhood brew pubs and microbreweries. And unlike before, hobbyists can now legally make their own beer after purchasing supplies at stores like Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, which was raided by state agents in 2012 before the law changed. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, Josh Terrell discusses his beer making supplies at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine in Birmingham, Ala. A beer revolution is brewing in Alabama. Drinkers thirsty for something other than Budweiser or Miller didn’t have many choices in the state just a few years ago, but a series of laws passed since 2009 has opened up Alabama to the world of high-alcohol specialty beers, neighborhood brew pubs and microbreweries. And unlike before, hobbyists can now legally make their own beer after purchasing supplies at stores like Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, which was raided by state agents in 2012 before the law changed. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2013, file photo, cans of Heady Topper roll off the line at The Alchemist in Waterbury, Vt. As craft brews gain an intense following, a black market has bloomed. A Burlington woman was charged with illegally selling five cases of Heady Topper for $825 on Craigslist. Heady Topper, which retails for $3 a can and $72 a case, was recently ranked No. 1 by Beer Advocate magazine out of the top 250 beers in the world. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
Brewmaster Larry Sidor describes the extra ingredients and aging that went into producing the 11 percent alcohol by volume Black Butte XX, known in the trade as a big or extreme beer, at the Deschutes Brewery warehouse in Bend, Ore. Extreme brews are among many craft beers that are grabbing a growing market share in the United States from their mass-produced heavily advertised counterparts. (AP Photo/Jeff Barnard)
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"Whether it's a top-rated brew or one with new or seasonal ingredients, everyone wants to get their hands on exclusive batches," beer cicerone Anne Becerra told CNN Money. "The demand is certainly there, and people are stepping in to fulfill that need in unsavory ways."

A specialty bottle of Stone Brewing Company beer that was sold in 2002 for around $8 was seen retailing for a grand online.

Aside from the price gouging, there are legal issues to take into account depending on which state you live in. Not to mention, since retailers are inflating the prices of the products, the actual breweries aren't profiting from the high demand.

Typically, price gouging is most frequent after natural disasters. Areas of Hawaii saw a huge uptick in the cost of necessities after a hurricane swept through the region this summer.

The overpriced sale of bootlegged beer isn't good for the breweries or the consumers -- it just lines the pockets of the seller. So, as much as you might be dying for a bottle of that fall harvest specialty brew, do you fellow beer drinkers a favor and skip the back alley buy.

RELATED: Cheers! The cheapest (and most expensive places) to catch a good buzz
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Baton Rouge, Louisiana -- $7.41 per six-pack
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma -- $7.48 per six-pack
Omaha, Nebraska -- $7.62 per six-pack
Buffalo, New York -- $7.70 per six-pack
St. Louis, Missouri -- $7.81 per six-pack
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania -- $9.95 per six-pack
Anchorage, Alaska -- $10.26 per six-pack
New York City -- $10.28 per six-pack
Chicago, Illinois -- $13.32 per six-pack
Aurora, Illinois -- $13.32 per six-pack
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