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Old 08-27-2010, 04:43 PM   #21
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I say go where you can get the best combination of service, ingredients, and price. If that isn't the LHBS then so be it. I shop at A LHBS but it isn't MY LHBS. My LHBS is a beer/wine store that happens to sell HB gear and supplies. To me it is an emergency stop only. I drive 25 minutes to go to my fav LHBS. I walk in there with a list, hand it to the guy and they put the order together with a smile. I may pay 2-5% more than online, but it is worth it to me. However, since I am a HBT user, I took "knowledgable" off my list of criteria. If you can't get the answer here, then you're not asking the right question.

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Old 08-27-2010, 04:43 PM   #22
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I only go the the homebrew store for yeast. They only sell grains in 1lb increments so I'm always having to buy more then I need and have all these random amounts left over. Buying extract there at $4 a lb would just be insane, the same with hops. An increase of $10 a batch (which I'm guessing is on the low side) is an increase of nearly 33%. I don't have the cash leftover to do that.

I've bought a full recipe there once or twice and it was $45 and it was a basic pale ale (only 2 oz of hops). My recipes now average around $20-$25 a batch (even IPAs and stouts), so for me its nearly a 50% increase. Add to that there is a toll road and both a brewpub and dogfish on the way to the homebrew store, I usually spend another $20-$30 on the way there or back.

Actually the more I dwell on it the more reasons I come up with. Traffic being another. Its at least an hour round trip although I used to work nearby and could swing on my lunchbreak. Another, once they mill my grain they don't vacuum seal. They simply just throw it in a plastic shopping bag. So I have to brew within a week to feel comfortable. I don't have that much forethought to have everything planned on such short notice.

Don't get me wrong, the guy who runs it is great and helpful but thats not enough for me to support it for all its inconveniences. I'd rather have everything show up at my doorstep.

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Old 08-27-2010, 04:59 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by mosquitocontrol View Post
I only go the the homebrew store for yeast. They only sell grains in 1lb increments so I'm always having to buy more then I need and have all these random amounts left over. Buying extract there at $4 a lb would just be insane, the same with hops. An increase of $10 a batch (which I'm guessing is on the low side) is an increase of nearly 33%. I don't have the cash leftover to do that.
This reminds me of something I wanted to say in my previous post... Some businesses SHOULD go out of business. The $4 extract and the only 1lb increment thing are an exmple of a business who isn't in touch with the needs of their consumers, and the pricing structure of their competition. If you can't compete on some level, you shouldn't compete.
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:03 PM   #24
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I agree with Wingdigstadt... A reasonable business model would be not to be either/or but to be both.
I agree completely
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:03 PM   #25
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I get almost all of my supplies from my LHBS, the chat is great, they have almost everything I need in stock, the bulk grains are 39 to 50 dollars for a 50lb sack, yeast prices are great, it is also on my way home from work, I just IM them a list of what I need and it is ready to go when I walk in. the assistant manager also drives past my house to drop her daughter off at preschool, and has stopped off at my place to drop off brewing supplies on her way to or from there so I wouldnt need to make the 60 mile round trip to get something I forgot to pick up.
For me that level of service is worth the few dollars I may spend over an online shop for some things.

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Old 08-27-2010, 05:10 PM   #26
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A good business model is key. An LHBS that goes the extra mile for their customer is something you can't attach a dollar amount to. azscoob has a wonderful example of that.

My LHBS breaks down my grain to any amount that I need and will give me any amount of hops I need, 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce, no problem. Granted his measuring has always been on the high side, but no complaints here. This little extra has impressed me as it shows he knows what the costumer base wants. I really can't put a price to his service and advice and that he's just a good guy.

I'm thinking of talking to him about adding a brew on site and maybe doing some classes. I would totally voluteer my time to help him if he asked.

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Old 08-27-2010, 05:22 PM   #27
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It's simple for me. The LHBS charges far higher than what I pay online. On top of that, they only sell by 1#, 5# or 50# increments. When I need a quarter pound of specialty grain, I don't want to buy a $2.30 1# bag of it. I want to buy 1/4 pound. If they did that I would have no issue buying from them. I would gladly pay their price if they split it.

It seems to me that they are doing exactly what you are saying. They aren't really catering to what I (the consumer) want. So I shop elsewhere.

Shipping costs are almost negatable. When I buy ingredients online I buy enough for several batches. The cost of tax at the LHBS is almost the same as shipping.

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Old 08-27-2010, 05:34 PM   #28
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i buy almost all my stuff on the internets. my LHBS is a beverage store first and foremost, with a little brewing stuff, its out of the way in a downtown walking mall and a little overpriced, but...if i just need some yeast, or an airlock, or even an ale pale or better bottle, I'll swing in there at lunch and get it and talk to the guy a bit and get some beers or a bottle of wine.

I never see anybody else in there for brewing stuff, of course that doesn't mean anything, but if nobody's buying it, his rotation wont be fresh or he'll stop carrying it all together, so then when I do need something today, I'd have nowhere to get it. its kind of a catch 23, but just how i deal with it.

if i had a full service LHBS I'd be more apt to use them for everything, assuming the service was good.

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Old 08-27-2010, 05:45 PM   #29
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If I had a LHBS that didnt suck incredibly, I might feel bad.

But I get great prices, fast shipping, and incredible service from my favorite online shop which the local doesnt even compare to.

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Old 08-27-2010, 06:01 PM   #30
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I shop exclusively at my LHBS. Hop prices are cheaper than online, grain prices are about the same (except I can buy grains by the gram if I want to do a real small batch) and they usually have what I want in stock.

If not, they will order it and it will still be cheaper than ordering online.

In addition to that: I can taste the grains before I use them, I can smell the hops, check the date on the yeast and I can talk shop with the guys working.

All around I don't see a point in ordering online with this store.

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