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Old 08-22-2011, 03:33 PM   #1
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Default why do friends think homebrew is FREE?

probably talked about before, but a quick search did not show any recent threads, so I thought I would put it out for discussion. It seems when friends stopped over "for a few" in the pre-homebrew days, we would all kick in a few bucks and someone would make a beer run. A couple of sixes, chairs on the porch or deck, great conversation. . .

Now, with known homebrew in stock, they stop by to "try the latest brew" and hang out, drinking three or four. I have never asked for money from them, yet homebrew is NOT free, and some of the more extreme ones probably cost $2-$3 per pint in ingredients alone, let alone the time and energy and equipment that went into it (a recent Pliny clone and the present Noble IPA each used over a pound of hops in five gallons). I am not trying to be an arse about this, but would it be too much if I asked for a buck or two per beer to cover these costs? How do you handle the freeloaders?

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Old 08-22-2011, 03:35 PM   #2
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probably talked about before, but a quick search did not show any recent threads, so I thought I would put it out for discussion. It seems when friends stopped over "for a few" in the pre-homebrew days, we would all kick in a few bucks and someone would make a beer run. A couple of sixes, chairs on the porch or deck, great conversation. . .

Now, with known homebrew in stock, they stop by to "try the latest brew" and hang out, drinking three or four. I have never asked for money from them, yet homebrew is NOT free, and some of the more extreme ones probably cost $2-$3 per pint in ingredients alone, let alone the time and energy and equipment that went into it (a recent Pliny clone and the present Noble IPA each used over a pound of hops in five gallons). I am not trying to be an arse about this, but would it be too much if I asked for a buck or two per beer to cover these costs? How do you handle the freeloaders?
I have to say that I am on the opposite end of the coin. I offer unlimited free homebrew to all that visit my place.

That being said, I think a good way may be to explain to them and show them the process and the casually mention the price of hops, yeast, fermenters, grains...etc..etc...tell them it is quite time consuming and moderately expensive. Maybe they will then start to pitch in.
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:36 PM   #3
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Ah, the ultimate homebrewer's beef.

Thank god 95% of my friends and family brew or make wine so we're always sharing. It all balances out eventually in my life. Same with food and everything else. To me it's about sharing the bounty.

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Old 08-22-2011, 03:38 PM   #4
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I look at it this way: I am furthering a cause (good beer), and I'm enjoying my hobby. I'm glad to help turn other people on to the cause and the hobby. In terms of cost, it's a rather inexpensive hobby. Compare it to golf, for example. So, my beer is free. Now, if somebody wants me to prepare an entire batch for them then, yeah, they have to buy the materials; I donate the time and effort, and I get to keep some for myself.

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Old 08-22-2011, 03:42 PM   #5
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and some of the more extreme ones probably cost $2-$3 per pint in ingredients alone,
You're doing it wrong.

I brew more than is humanly possible for 2 people to drink, I love giving it away.



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Old 08-22-2011, 03:42 PM   #6
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I'll usually have my friends pick up a few things on the way over to my place such as munchies, meat for the bbq, wood for the fire pit, or stogies to go along with the brew. I enjoy sharing a few brews among friends if I can get a little bit in return.

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Old 08-22-2011, 03:44 PM   #7
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It's not an easy issue. I don't think you want a strict charge every time they take a beer from your fridge. Better would be for them to pay you back in a non-cash fashion, e.g., buy you a case of beer every now and then, bring over food.

One thing you have to be conscious of is whether you're 'freeloading' in some other area. e.g., a friend invites you to his cottage for the weekend, or something like that.

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Old 08-22-2011, 03:47 PM   #8
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If people don't know how much homebrew actually costs, they would logically assume that it costs next to nothing ("why else would someone go through the effort if it isn't any cheaper?")

Most people probably think the per bottle cost of BMC that sells for $15/case is a couple of cents for ingredients and 50 cents for marketing, so homebrew probably only costs a few cents per bottle without all that overhead. Everybody knows they can go to a restaurant and pay $35 for an 8 oz steak that they could get for $10/lb at the grocery store so why should beer be any different?

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Old 08-22-2011, 03:53 PM   #9
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My friends and family usually bring something to snack on while we are drinking so it balances out. I also brew way too much to drink myself so I don't mind. Next time friends are coming over tell them to pick up some brats or something. They get the meat, you provide the beer.

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Old 08-22-2011, 03:53 PM   #10
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Yeah, I'm with permo on this. I love to brew and I love my beer (well, most of it), but I really love sharing it with others. But even if I didn't brew my own, any guest in my house (friend, relative, etc...) is welcome to refreshment that I have on hand. That's just the way I am. For me, charging people for a beer is kinda.... tacky.

Now, if you have a limited supply brew (specialty, or the Pliny clone you spoke of), I can see holding that back a bit - I did that with an RIS that I only did 2.5 gallons of (first mistake) that took a year of aging. Not every Tom, Dick, and Harry got some.

Now, you mention they come by, hang out, and try the latest homebrew... That's one of the big reasons homebrewing is so cool to me - people make excuses to come by and hang out. I would LOVE it if more people did that.

So how do I handle freeloaders? I invite them in.

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