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Old 12-11-2012, 01:33 AM   #1
Rapchizzle
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Default I want to open a home brew shop...

I've got a lot of questions and would love to get some opinions. The city I'm in has nowhere to buy equipment and only one brewery selling grains. There's a booming beer scene and three breweries have opened in the past 3 years. I think it could be a success but I'm trying to do some research first.

To the customers:

-Where do you buy most of your supplies, equipment, ingredients, etc?
-How much do you spend on equipment annually?
-What would convince you to buy from a local shop over ordering online?
-Are you in a brewing club and does your club have any connection to a local brew shop?
-What would you like to see in a home brew shop?
-Anything else to advise?

To the brewery and shop owners:

Please PM me your email address (or email me directly at chrisrapchick@gmail.com) and I'd love to send you some questions pertaining to the business side of things.




I just found HBT and this seems like a great forum. I can't wait to get more into it!

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Old 12-11-2012, 01:43 AM   #2
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where are you?

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Old 12-11-2012, 01:51 AM   #3
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1) Most of my ingredients are bought locally (except for hops)
2) If you average it out, I've probably spent $750 a year on equipment, but most of that has been in the last year
3) I try to support local business when I can, but the bottom line is the bottom line. In this economy, the greenbacks are the deciders.
4) No and by extension, no
5) Sell grain by the pound like normal, but for customers who want to buy in bulk, do a group buy instead of selling sacks to individuals. This will reduce your costs and the customer's
6) Be personable and knowledgable, not just about your product, but about brewing in general. There's nothing I hate worse than walking into a shop where the guy at the counter (typically the owner, but not always) is an asshole and has no idea what he's talking about.

Best of luck to you, I hope everything works out. Cheers!

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Old 12-11-2012, 02:05 AM   #4
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Service. If people have a good experience in the store, they'll want to keep coming back. Engage customers and ask what they're brewing. Not many people want to listen to a store-owner's brewing prowess, they want the store owner to think what they're doing sounds good.

Obviously prices have to be competitive. Not the lowest, just competitive.

Oh, and cash flow. Have cash to run the business, lots of it. Like oil in your engine.

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Old 12-11-2012, 02:53 AM   #5
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-Where do you buy most of your supplies, equipment, ingredients, etc?
LHBS

-How much do you spend on equipment annually?
$100 (approx)

-What would convince you to buy from a local shop over ordering online?
I love my LHBS for the employees. They are friendly and knowledgeable without being condescending.

-Are you in a brewing club and does your club have any connection to a local brew shop?
Our local club is affiliated.

-What would you like to see in a home brew shop?
I'd love to see more activities. Maybe a "teach a friend to brew" day. Sometimes they have an informal "contest" where some of us homebrewers bring in beer for tasting.

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Old 12-11-2012, 02:59 AM   #6
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I've been trying to convince my wife to let me open a homebrew shop for her to run. NYC only has 2 LHBSs. As crazy as that sounds, it's true. I can't justify it because of the job I have and where I'm at in my career, but she's not working right now and I think it's a good idea for us.

Best of luck to you whatever you decide. As far as your research, I'm not so sure that my input would matter. I would shop exclusively at my LHBS if I didn't have to pay a toll to get to it. As it stands, I can wait until I have a decent sized order, place it online, and with shipping it will cost me less than the trip to Brooklyn.

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Old 12-11-2012, 03:11 AM   #7
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my #1 advice: if you have a local homebrew club, get in it and get known as a good guy. when you start 1, they'll follow you. i saw a new startup put an old favorite out of business by being affiliated with a club

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Old 12-11-2012, 03:43 AM   #8
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To the customers:

-Where do you buy most of your supplies, equipment, ingredients, etc?

I buy all my grains and about 85% of my dry goods at the LHBS. I almost never buy hops there as they don't have a single variety below $2/oz. Last I looked Simcoe and Citra were almost $3/oz.

-How much do you spend on equipment annually?

Equipment? See above. I probably spend $300-500 annually, but probably 75% of that is consumables (grain, hops, yeast etc)

-What would convince you to buy from a local shop over ordering online?

Staff knowledge and friendliness. I've gotten recipe and process feedback, been given samples to try and never felt rushed even when they were busy.

-Are you in a brewing club and does your club have any connection to a local brew shop?

There is a local brew club, that gets 10% off all dry goods at the LHBS for $35/yr dues. I'm not currently a member due to lack of free time.

-What would you like to see in a home brew shop?

Willingness to special order. My LHBS will special order yeast for me, though it took them well over a month to get Pacman in after I ordered and paid for it. When Vinnie bottles were starting to hit the market I tried to get them to order me a case or two and they refused to even look into it as they felt no one else would want them.

-Anything else to advise?

Never forget your customers have choices, and generally aren't stupid about competitive pricing. If you're the only LHBS in the area you can like have terrible service and cheap prices or stellar service and expensive prices and survive, but not both. If you have competition nearish find something that sets you apart. If you have the expertise and staff, offer cheap or free classes of varying skill levels.

If you have a local club, make friends with them. Offer discounts to their members, offer them group buys on grain, etc.

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Old 12-11-2012, 01:02 PM   #9
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I appreciate all of the advice here fellas. I'm also looking into the BOP side of things as well in combination to the home brew shop. We'd sell all the supplies for making beer and wine, as well as offer classes and try to get a good club going/reinvigorate the club that seems to have gone underground.

Anyone else want to chime in?

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Old 12-11-2012, 01:08 PM   #10
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For me it is service. I will happily pay more money and shop local if the business has good people who are knowledgeable and actually care about helping their customers make good beer. I'm not going to gripe over a few bucks extra per batch of beer, I want to make good beer and having a local shop that actually teaches the processes would be nice.

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