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Old 12-09-2008, 10:15 PM   #1
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Default Online vs. Local supply

Hey guys, new to this forum - just thought I'd put it out there. I brewed my first beer last week and just waiting for my two cases of conditioning beer to "ripen".

So far, I've been visiting my local "wine & hop shop" here in Madison, WI (also where I got my starter kit). Is it more economical to order online than local? If you guys order online, why do you do it and who do you prefer? Anybody who wants to, chime in!

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Old 12-09-2008, 10:17 PM   #2
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I tried many of the main online stores and compared them with my LHBS Home Brewing Home Beer Brewing Home Wine Making Beer Kegging Equipment Breweriana Beer Tap Handles Liqueur Making Making Soda Adventures in Home Brewing

With shipping involved my LHBS has always been cheaper.

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Old 12-09-2008, 10:19 PM   #3
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I think it really depends on what and where. My LHBS is WAY overpriced and equipment, but ingredients they are much better than online once you factor in shipping etc. Some folks don't have the option of a LHBS, and not all LHBS have large variety. I use a healthy combination of both.

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Old 12-09-2008, 10:23 PM   #4
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As long as your local Homebrew Supply has fresh ingredients, provides good advice, and is friendly, by all means do business locally. Many times, it's worth paying a little bit more for convenience and customer service.

If they don't have those necessary traits (IMHO) then any of the big online stores are the way to go. Here are some in alphabetical order.

Austin Homebrew Supply
Home wine making supply and home brew supply available on-line at Midwest Homebrewing Supplies. Search for wine recipes and beer recipes
Beer Making and Home Brewing Supplies | MoreBeer
NORTHERN BREWER
William's Brewing, Home Brewing Supplies, Winemaking Supplies, and Home Coffee Roasting. @ Williams Brewing

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Old 12-09-2008, 10:32 PM   #5
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I'm a huge advocate of support your community and buy local whenever you can. Some things will be cheaper online if you dig around but if you are fortunate to have a local homebrew shop (allot aren't) use it.

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Old 12-09-2008, 10:39 PM   #6
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My LHBS's prices are just about the same as Austin Homebrew Supply (my go-to place). I patronize both shops because there are always a few items that the LHBS doesn't stock.

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Old 12-09-2008, 10:41 PM   #7
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I use my LHBS for all of my ingredients as their grain is fresh and the hop prices are ridiculously low (hmmm, i wonder why ). However, I have put in a couple orders online through morebeer.com and AHS. For equipment it just seems that the online stores are cheaper...not sure why. When the prices are close, I like to support my local store, but if not I don't hesitate to order online. If a store owner doesn't care to price their stuff reasonably and in line with other vendors, I don't shop there...no matter if they are local or not.

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Old 12-10-2008, 12:00 AM   #8
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Thanks for all your input so far, I'll check out those online shops. If anybody else wants to weigh in, I would love to hear more - like who has good deals on what? What items can't you get at your LHBS?

I have been gravitating towards buying almost everything online from tea to clothing and etc, and haven't looked back. What's cost effective to buy online vs. @ your LHBS?

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Old 12-10-2008, 12:14 AM   #9
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It really depends on your shop or shops like everyone else says...I'm lucky Michigan is jammed packed with some awesome LHBS's big and small, so I don't order online. I can find just about everything I need at a decent price. Plus it's nice to have a relationship with the owners and staff of shops, rather than faceless and online...

For example, a lot of retailers both online and brick and mortar have restrictions on the amount of hops you can get right now with the shortage...I freely admit, that at two shops, those restrictions don't NECESSARILY apply all the time to all the customers. If they know you, on occasion those rules may be bent. The 6 ounces of hops I needed for an IPA recently when the rule are 3/5 gallon batches, can attest to the benefit of having a face to face relationship.

There's something to be said for having some people with more experience tasting your beers and critiquing them, especially if you think you have a problem.

It's really fun to hang out at an LHBS. I've walked in on numerous occasions and got to try some awesome beers out of their fridge...

If you have a brick and mortar shop a reasonable distance from you, and they aren't a$$hats (some are, or they don't know crap about brewing) then I think it's a good idea to support them....even if you gotta pay a wee bit more (I'm not talking overpriced/being gouged,but maybe not the best price) then I would encourage you to support them...Like any independant/small businesses it's a good idea to support them...otherwise the walmarts of this world win...

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Old 12-10-2008, 12:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soviet View Post
What's cost effective to buy online vs. @ your LHBS?
If cost is your only motivator - online will usually win every time you compare prices. the local option is just that - the LOCAL option. This person wants to help you brew better-- make a friend, get some freebies now and then - see if he/she sponsors a brewclub -- use the LHBS as a networking tool.

Keep that money local if you can.

That said, I split my orders 70% local, 30% online - simply because I can't always find what I need at the LHBS that sponsors the brewclub. The 10% discount covers sales tax nicely.

I am lucky in that fact I have many choices around me.
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