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Old 10-31-2011, 09:57 PM   #1
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Default New Home Brewing Store

I am in the process of opening a new home brewing store. I have owned many small businesses during my life so I have tons of experience running a successful business but this is a market that I have never been involved in. I would love to hear any suggestions that this community would have to do this the right way.

Please let me know what you would like to see in your ideal store along with any other thoughts that you might have on this project.

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Old 11-01-2011, 03:47 AM   #2
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I think there is a spot for a HBS that hosts classes and home brew clubs. A brew on premises place would be nice. How about a place where you can buy grain by the sack for a decent price. Good luck with your endevour.

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Old 11-01-2011, 06:48 PM   #3
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I think there is a spot for a HBS that hosts classes and home brew clubs. A brew on premises place would be nice. How about a place where you can buy grain by the sack for a decent price. Good luck with your endevour.
Great suggestions! I know that many of you are advanced beer makers but what do you think the mix of beer kits vs all grain customers do you think I can expect?
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:54 PM   #4
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Depends on your local market and presence of competition. In Edmonton there is one LHBS that caters to all grain brewers. The other LHBS don't even try to carry AG stuff and deal in wine kits only, perhaps a beer kit if you are lucky.

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Old 11-01-2011, 07:00 PM   #5
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Great suggestions! I know that many of you are advanced beer makers but what do you think the mix of beer kits vs all grain customers do you think I can expect?
There are all-grain kits that "advanced" beer makers use. What do you mean by beer kits?

What is your plan with competing with the online homebrew shops? Online shop prices are typically very competitive, their selection is usually excellent (at least much, much better than my LHBS) and my feeling is that they command a significant market share, particularly among the "advanced" guys who know what they want and what they should have to pay for it. Between that and flat-rate shipping, its a tough sell for the local guy who has to pay rent and maintain a show room.
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:14 AM   #6
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There are all-grain kits that "advanced" beer makers use. What do you mean by beer kits?

What is your plan with competing with the online homebrew shops? Online shop prices are typically very competitive, their selection is usually excellent (at least much, much better than my LHBS) and my feeling is that they command a significant market share, particularly among the "advanced" guys who know what they want and what they should have to pay for it. Between that and flat-rate shipping, its a tough sell for the local guy who has to pay rent and maintain a show room.
Thanks Broadbill. I guess I didn't ask the question correctly. I am just wondering how many pre-made beer kits (Brewer's Best or other brands) will sell compared to the number of people that will come in with recipes and buy bulk supplies to make their own. I know its hard to say as this community is much more advanced than just the normal guy coming in off the street that used Mr Beer last Christmas.

The other point you bring up is a great one. The giant advantage that a LHBS has over the online stores (I will open an online store as well) is that I will also offer advice on brewing and even allow the customer to brew it at the store using my equipment (for a premium price of course). I will also work to get an active brewing club in the area and have tasting competitions monthly which should bring in quite a bit of repeat business.

My real job is director of wholesale sales of a very large US based seller of poker supplies so I will also have a large section of the store devoted to poker supplies. I am hoping that market sector brings in enough to pay the bills and the brewing section of the store can roll all that profit back into expanding the store and inventory.

Mike
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Old 11-02-2011, 01:50 AM   #7
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Having worked in a small specialty retail (bicycle shop) store I can appreciate the local shop versus online retailer debate (I've posted about it too).

As far as kits, brewers best are good, but they are way expensive compared to Northern Brewer and Midwest. I have ordered my last couple kits from Midwest because of this. When talking to the owner of my local shop about this he showed me how much it would cost to build the kits from scratch as opposed to the BB kits. It was pretty shocking. He can't touch the kit price but by the time you pay for shipping on anything else it's pretty comparable.

Having said that, I have spent the bulk of my cash on this endevor at my local shop. The reason, the respect I have for the staff. When I first walked in there I knew nothing about this. Tim, the owner, spent 2 hours showing me around the store, explaining the process and what he found helpful and what he said I could hold off on. I bought a book. Every time I've been there, he's been super helpful and welcoming, never putting me off as a "newbie" which so many people who work within their hobby can do.

There are places you won't be able to compete pricewise and that's ok. You probably won't have the volume that one of the larger online retailers do. I think the biggest place you can set yourself apart will be service. Welcoming newcomers will be huge. Anytime someone is starting a new hobby it is daunting. Having a staff that is welcoming, rather than elitist, will help you grow the business and develop a loyal customer base.

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Old 11-02-2011, 01:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by HomeBrewOhio View Post
Thanks Broadbill. I guess I didn't ask the question correctly. I am just wondering how many pre-made beer kits (Brewer's Best or other brands) will sell compared to the number of people that will come in with recipes and buy bulk supplies to make their own. I know its hard to say as this community is much more advanced than just the normal guy coming in off the street that used Mr Beer last Christmas.

The other point you bring up is a great one. The giant advantage that a LHBS has over the online stores (I will open an online store as well) is that I will also offer advice on brewing and even allow the customer to brew it at the store using my equipment (for a premium price of course). I will also work to get an active brewing club in the area and have tasting competitions monthly which should bring in quite a bit of repeat business.

My real job is director of wholesale sales of a very large US based seller of poker supplies so I will also have a large section of the store devoted to poker supplies. I am hoping that market sector brings in enough to pay the bills and the brewing section of the store can roll all that profit back into expanding the store and inventory.

Mike
I'm no expert, but my $0.02 as I would consider myself an advanced home-brewer:

Don't even try to reach out and get the advanced home-brewer business. I don't think you can be competitive on the products I/we need and use. Frankly, I don't need the advice/guidance of the guy at the LHBS. Also, I'd probably not even bother coming into your store for brewing stuff once I found out were were stocking both brewing and poker products. To me that screams "Jack of all trades and master of none" and it a good indicator that your homebrewing inventory would be limited and your prices high (at least for my needs).

I have access to a LHBS that only does home-brewing/wine-making and even his inventory is limited and his prices are too high for what I need.

In my opinion you'd be best off going right for the beginner home-brewing business, selling the kits and equipment and offering that advice/guidance on the side. Heck, you might have a niche by combining the poker with the homebrewing products (Kind of a "outfitter of the man-cave" deal). The outreach with the brewing club/demo/lessons would be a nice touch for a beginner.

Just my 0.02....FWIW. Good luck!
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:33 AM   #9
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This morning I signed the lease and with the help of a couple friends did most of the demo tonight. Hopefully we will be open in about 2 weeks. The next time you find yourself in Northern Ohio please stop in and say hi!

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Old 12-01-2011, 04:30 AM   #10
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Where are you located? I have family in Sandusky that I will be visiting for the holidays and would like to stop by and say hello.

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