Originally Posted by abracadabra
Conversely I wonder if the savings are worth the extra hassle.
So any advise or opinions from anyone who's done this type of thing before would also be welcomed.
I put together a group buy back in the summer. To answer your question if it's worth the hassle, it depends. How much grain do you forsee using in the next 6-12 months? What are the prices for a 50# bag of 2-row from your LHBS?
I figured that I would use 6-8 bags within a 6-8 month time frame. My LHBS was charging $61 out the door with tax for 2-row. By doing a grain buy from NorthCountry, I got my Domestic 2-row Pale for something like $24 a bag. I'd say that was a pretty good savings. Prices are a little higher now, but if you can get enough people interested to fill a pallet (60 bags) it works out in the long run. They give you a discount if you fill out the pallet and the shipping charges worked out to just a few dollars per bag. I ended up taking 11 bags to help fill out the order and am still sitting on 7 bags unopened plus what I have in plastic storage bins.
If I could do it over, I would probably take a few fewer bags, and try to order in another 6 months. It also meant I had to lay out $350 in advance, but I figure that it was worth the savings.
I would also suggest trying to get in touch with any of the local brew clubs to see if they do bulk buys. After we had ours up and rolling, I found that one of the local clubs puts one together every 6 months or so. I had just missed their last order, but will be going with them next time around as they ended up filling out 2 pallets.