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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Wjy are you doing it?
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:18 PM   #11
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Even though I live in southern California, I live in the sticks, and the variety of craft brew I can find is limited. If I wanted something decent, I'd have to drive 2 hours. So, I started brewing to get more of a variety. It was initially cheaper, but then I "had" to buy all sorts of gadgets, including a kegging setup.

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Old 11-30-2012, 05:28 PM   #12
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IMO, if you brew extract kits you will always be able to buy commercial beers cheaper. If you buy in bulk you might save $.

If you progress to AG you will eventually be able to make beer cheaper. That is; if you don't count the time taken as a factor. I have kept track of all my expenses and after a year and a half I am at about $2/bottle but I just made a fermentation chamber that I have not figured into the costs.

Next will be a keezer.....

So to save money it takes time and you have to stop buying the latest bling!
Bingo...when you account for time there is almost no way you are coming off cheaper than buying it. Lets assume $20/hour x 6 hours for a typical AG batch...that is $15/6 pack, just in labor. Way cheaper to buy, and that's not counting equipment or ingredient costs.

Much like everything else ever said in a LHBS, saving money on beer by homebrewing is BS.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:48 PM   #13
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Being a hobby,I don't factor in labor costs like it's a regular job. Not the same thing. And I don't keep buying tons of equipment,so mine's paid for by now. And extract batches for me are usually 6G for an average of $35 all in. $25 for PM 5G batch. So cost is very reasonable compared to store prices around here. When I buy caps,I pick up 2 or 3 144 count bags at a time. Started buying hops in larger quantities or on sale. Grains are cheaper for me at midwest vs LHBS with shipping. Got 5lb of grains for $8.42. LHBS has the 3lb bag of plain dme for $12-$13,yeast $3.75. But all in all,it's great to brew a great tasting beer at home where all I have to do is stock pile it. then put some in the fridge now & then.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Being a hobby,I don't factor in labor costs like it's a regular job. Not the same thing. And I don't keep buying tons of equipment,so mine's paid for by now. And extract batches for me are usually 6G for an average of $35 all in. $25 for PM 5G batch. So cost is very reasonable compared to store prices around here. When I buy caps,I pick up 2 or 3 144 count bags at a time. Started buying hops in larger quantities or on sale. Grains are cheaper for me at midwest vs LHBS with shipping. Got 5lb of grains for $8.42. LHBS has the 3lb bag of plain dme for $12-$13,yeast $3.75. But all in all,it's great to brew a great tasting beer at home where all I have to do is stock pile it. then put some in the fridge now & then.
I'm gonna have to agree with you on it not being like a job. Also, I think a lot of the cost for equipment isn't that bad when you think of how much some other hobbies cost.
I brew cause it's fun and I can experiment with things that i can't get in the store. I haven't invested too much in equipment and when I move to AG I'm keeping it rather simple so I think I'm saving money.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:07 PM   #15
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I only count the cost of ingredients in my batches. As such, I typically spend $20-$30 for 6 gallons of finished beer (in keg). You can't buy the same quality of beer in a store for even close to that. I get the equal of about 11 6-packs of beer from each batch. Where I am, a decent 6-pack of beer is in the $8-$12 range (great beer being more). So, I'm easily getting $88-$132 worth of beer for under $30. I'll take that $100+ savings and run with it. If you actually look at it that way, all my gear has been paid off for some time now.

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Old 11-30-2012, 06:23 PM   #16
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I'll agree its a hobby and not a job so one shouldn't expect it to save money or be profitable (although the enjoyment of the hobby is a pretty good profit).

That being said, you can't not count labor as an expense and then conclude you save money compared to what you can buy it for. Labor is included in the cost of a purchased 6 pack; to do an apple-to-apple comparison you need to include it in on the "cost" for your homebrewed 6-pack.

One could at least concede the fact that the labor cost kills any sort of savings with homebrewing and thus discount it because its a hobby. Again the idea is the enjoyment of the hobby outweighs the loss you take in making it.

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Old 11-30-2012, 06:25 PM   #17
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If you are big into high gravity imports like Delirium Tremens or Samiclause and you make clones or beers similar to those you are saving around $350-400 per 5G batch compared to buying it in the store. If you try to make Sierra Nevada PA or around there then you barely save anything. If you try to compete with PBR or Steel Reserve you loose money(but get better beer). And this is not counting man hours. But if you are worried about the time spent brew bigger. 1BBL setups reduce hours and would more closely resemble purchased costs.

There are give and takes and different views. I work a steady firm scheduled job and my time off is valuable to me to spend it on things I like. I enjoy making beer and it saves me from buying it most of the time so I see it as a money saver. Most of my big equipment I purchased just cause I want it, not cause it needed it to make good beer. As such the equipment can be cheaper or more expensive depending on how you want to do it.

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Old 11-30-2012, 06:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broadbill View Post
I'll agree its a hobby and not a job so one shouldn't expect it to save money or be profitable (although the enjoyment of the hobby is a pretty good profit).

That being said, you can't not count labor as an expense and then conclude you save money compared to what you can buy it for. Labor is included in the cost of a purchased 6 pack; to do an apple-to-apple comparison you need to include it in on the "cost" for your homebrewed 6-pack.

One could at least concede the fact that the labor cost kills any sort of savings with homebrewing and thus discount it because its a hobby. Again the idea is the enjoyment of the hobby outweighs the loss you take in making it.
Do you count the time it takes you to cook a great meal compared with going to a restaurant? I don't, and fell (100%) that the same principle applies.

While I don't brew beer to save money, I do enjoy spending far less on ingredients than I could ever dream of spending on bottles of the same (or even close) quality.
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:20 PM   #19
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Bingo...when you account for time there is almost no way you are coming off cheaper than buying it. Lets assume $20/hour x 6 hours for a typical AG batch...that is $15/6 pack, just in labor. Way cheaper to buy, and that's not counting equipment or ingredient costs.

Much like everything else ever said in a LHBS, saving money on beer by homebrewing is BS.
This topic (whether to count the cost of time in valuing the net benefits of brewing) has been done to death, however as an economist who does cost-benefit analysis for a living, I feel like this is the one place on these forums where I can weigh in with specialized knowledge. Feel free to skip this post if you're not interested.

Point #1: In theory, one certainly should count the "opportunity cost" of your time, which may be $10 or $20 or $50 an hour or more, depending on what the value of your next best option is--if you could be making $20 an hour at work instead of brewing at home, then that's a good estimate of the cost. Of course, most of us probably don't have the type of job where we can just work extra hours and get paid extra for them on a whim--we're either salaried or work hourly but with a fixed or semi-fixed schedule, and can't vary our schedule immediately if, say, we wanted to work an extra six hours on a Friday evening instead of brewing a beer. For that reason, the amount of value you place on an hour of "free" time is probably somewhat less than what you'd be getting paid in (post-tax) wage, although economists disagree on exactly how much the discount should be.

Point #2: if you're going to include non-monetary costs in brewing (like the opportunity cost of your time), you had better include non-monetary benefits as well, like the benefits you get from the act of brewing itself. A lot of brewers (like me) get real satisfaction out of going through the brewing process, and that has a value which is just as real as the value of time forgone in brewing, albeit hard to measure. This should be included in measuring the benefits of brewing even though you don't get any direct monetary benefit from it.

To me, the opportunity cost of my time is pretty well canceled out by the enjoyment I get out of the act of brewing--just like when I sit down to read a book, the enjoyment that I get out of it is at least worth as much as the cost of time I spend doing it, otherwise I wouldn't do it in the first place. If you assume that the non-monetized cost (opportunity cost of time) is about equal to the non-monetized benefit (enjoyment of brewing), you can basically disregard both when calculating net benefits.

Which brings us back to comparing actual monetary costs--the marginal cost of inputs (grains, hops, water, yeast, fuel) and the fixed costs (equipment)--with actual monetary benefits--the savings foregone by not purchasing more expensive beer. And according to that calculus, beer is certainly cost-saving, which is the point I was making earlier.

Of course, if you get little or no enjoyment out of brewing beer, then yes you would of course want to account for the opportunity cost of time in evaluating homebrewing's net value to you. For me (and, I suspect, for a lot of others) the benefits of brewing, as opposed to the economic value of the beer itself, are big enough to outweigh that. So yes, brewing is cost-saving.
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:25 PM   #20
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I brew because the gnomes grew restless with commercial beer. That and Cheezy dared me to.

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