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Old 10-05-2010, 04:30 PM   #1
GuldTuborg
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Default LHBS pricing

OK HBT, help me out with a little issue. I have a LHBS that got me into brewing originally, and is a decent store overall. I like it well enough, but the problem for me now is the prices. They charge $2.50/lb for all grains and $4-$4.50/oz for hops. I can get grain for half the price and a POUND of hops for the same money they charge me for 2-3oz. The Wyeast packs are $10-$11, which isn't so bad, but dry yeast (Notty, Fermentis packs) run $4.50 per packet for the cheapest ones. I know shopping online is cheaper, if you know where to look, but this strikes me as extreme. This didn't matter so much when I was brewing just a little, but I find myself brewing once a month anymore, and the costs are adding up. Help me put this in perspective:

What do your LHBSs charge for grain & hops? Yeast?

Would you do most of your shopping online, too, if you had to pay these prices?

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Old 10-05-2010, 04:41 PM   #2
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That's pretty high. Grain here is $1.35-2.10/pound. $2-3 /oz hops. Smackpacks are $7. Dry yeast is $2-4. I'd probably shop online, at least for hops if you still want to give them some business.

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Old 10-05-2010, 04:49 PM   #3
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I guess it depends on where you live. If you're in the middle of nowhere then it's probably a combination of high shipping costs for the LHBS and them taking advantage of being the only shop around. Another concern would be the freshness of the grains, hops and yeast if they don't turn inventory over quickly enough. We are dealing with perishable goods that often don't have an expiration date stamped on them (grains, hops).

Those prices are ridiculously high. If I was faced with those prices I wouldn't think twice about buying online.

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Old 10-05-2010, 04:50 PM   #4
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I use my LHBS for odds and ends, for little things I need and don't want to pay shipping for. Recipes, I get online.

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Old 10-05-2010, 04:51 PM   #5
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Those prices seem a bit high. However, I am a firm believer in supporting local businesses. If it's a good store with fresh ingredients and a knowledgeable staff I would continue to shop there for heavy bulky items and things like liquid yeast.

Do they offer a frequent buyer punch card or a club member discount?

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Old 10-05-2010, 04:58 PM   #6
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In Canada I pay 1.50/lb for grains, 2.00-2.50/oz for hops (cheaper in bulk) and $10 for smack packs.

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Old 10-05-2010, 05:04 PM   #7
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$10 for a smack pack is way too much. Prices do seem high for your ingredients. As much as I like to support the local shop, I'd do all my shopping online if they had these prices.

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Old 10-05-2010, 05:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascadia View Post
Those prices seem a bit high. However, I am a firm believer in supporting local businesses. If it's a good store with fresh ingredients and a knowledgeable staff I would continue to shop there for heavy bulky items and things like liquid yeast.

Do they offer a frequent buyer punch card or a club member discount?
I, too, am a firm believer in supporting local businesses. But those prices are off the charts compared to our local suppliers. Then again - I can't speak for the norm in the OP's area. If I felt the shop was constrained by the reality of their situation & forced to charge those prices to stay in business, I'd spend my $$ there. But they'd better darned well know their stuff in that case.
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:41 PM   #9
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I had the same problem. The closest LHBS charged 30-50% more than online. The only decent place was quite a drive away and they charged 15-35% more. I ended up shopping online for most things but still tossed the local stores a few bones for convenience. Now Brewmaster's Warehouse is my LHBS so it's win win

Sounds like someone needs to open up a more competitive store up there.

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Old 10-05-2010, 05:57 PM   #10
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Start buying your most frequently used items online, 50lbs of 2-row and hops by the pound are a good start. I do this and run to my LHBS for yeast, specialty grains, and hops that I don't have in the freezer.

Support them in any way that you can, you can even ask if they will pricematch (mine will on some items) on particular things to keep your business local. I used to buy DME/Grain from North Country Malt, but my LHBS can match their prices + shipping, so I end up paying the same overall, but supporting my local store!

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