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Old 01-18-2013, 04:44 PM   #1
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Default LHBS prices vs buying online

Last night, I went out and purchased brewing ingredients for my next three batches.

Being the tightwad that I am, I decided to compare the prices that I just paid locally to two popular websites - Northern Brewer and Morebeer.

While comparing, I took into account local taxes for the LHBS and shipping charges for online orders. Here are the results for my shopping list. (the prices reflect different quantities. For instance, I may have purchased a couple ounces of one hops and only one ounce of another)


Conclusion, The LHBS is 12% more expensive than NB and NB is 26% more than Morebeer.

In other words, More beer is 42% cheaper than my LHBS, considering all factors. (In addition, I don't hafta drive 15 miles to take it in the A)

On a side note, it was much cheaper to buy my bulk american 2 row locally, only because the shipping costs of 50#

Anyone else do a similar comparison with other eCommerce sites? Any better ones out there?

I understand that the 42% difference between the LHBS and Moore beer is due mostly to additional overhead costs but as a craft beer consumer on a malt liquor budget, buying online only makes sense to me.

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Old 01-18-2013, 04:57 PM   #2
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Despite that in my opinion you should support local business.
Having a friend locally can save you and be very rewarding. Plus paying for shipping is a bitch.

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Old 01-18-2013, 04:59 PM   #3
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I kick this around.
It's 2 1/2 hours to my "local" homebrew store so there are other factors for me.
I'm in the city where the store is one to three times a month, so if things work out on the weekend, I can make it there but it is another factor.

One more ting to think about is if you don't buy bulk amounts, the local brew store will sell you 1 lb, 2 oz of a grain weighed out.
The online places don't sell in less than even pounds.

As soon as I get my mill though, I think I am going to get most grain online.
The "local" guy has a fair selection but I don't have it memorized and I don't always think to email in advance to check so sometimes I get there and they don't have what I want.

I'm not a master brewer so trying to figure substitutions on the fly isn't something that I want to do.
Online I can make a list, order what I need from whoever stocks what I want.

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Old 01-18-2013, 05:01 PM   #4
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My LHBS is pretty close on pricing to online for common items like ingredients and basic equipment. The shop is near me and I get honest opinions on samples I share. That said, I save lots of money on kegging equipment and bulk hops by shopping online.

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Old 01-18-2013, 05:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PastorofMuppets View Post
Despite that in my opinion you should support local business.
Having a friend locally can save you and be very rewarding. Plus paying for shipping is a bitch.
IMHO, supporting local is about the same as the government subsidizing Amtrak. Local shopping is a dying breed as eCommerce sites can deliver the goods for much less.

Even with the cost of shipping, the overall price (when you make a large order) is much less when compared to the local price.

As the diehard anti-technology crowd dies off, brick and mortar stores will be a thing of the past.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:10 PM   #6
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I did a similar comparison between NB and Midwest Supplies and pretty much came to the same conclusion. I still buy my grains at the LHBS, especially since I can buy a bulk card and then just pick up the grain when I need it. I got frustrated buying hops there though because they always seemed to be missing at least one of what I was looking for. I have just started buying hops online and storing them at home. Not to mention the guy at the LHBS is a bit of an ahole

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Old 01-18-2013, 05:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrdinaryAvgGuy View Post
IMHO, supporting local is about the same as the government subsidizing Amtrak. Local shopping is a dying breed as eCommerce sites can deliver the goods for much less.

Even with the cost of shipping, the overall price (when you make a large order) is much less when compared to the local price.

As the diehard anti-technology crowd dies off, brick and mortar stores will be a thing of the past.
I don't agree.
Buying local supports your community with jobs.
Every dollar spend local makes it's rounds through the local community several times.
When that dollar is making it's rounds, it may come back to where you work and help keep you employed.
It's the same theory as buying American made products.

When we get to the point of ecommerce taking over, you won't be able to shop local.
When you need another vial of yeast, there will be no place local to buy it. Same will go with a T.V. or a pair of shoes.

I do think however that the local guys have to do their part.
Sometimes the attitude of I'm the only game in town causes price gouging. If they don't play fair, I don't feel the need to support them.

With the volume of sales and the overhead of a brick and mortar store, your local store isn't charging in excess.
They probably eek out a living at what they charge.
They will also be there if you need something and don't want to wait a week or pay huge costs to get it in two days.
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In secondary
Pumpkin ale

In primary
Honey wit

Up next.. Firestone Union Jack clone

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Old 01-18-2013, 05:15 PM   #8
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I only have one LHBS in town and he is much cheaper that buying online. Problem is catching him when he is open since it is run out of his garage.

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Old 01-18-2013, 05:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tflew View Post
I did a similar comparison between NB and Midwest Supplies and pretty much came to the same conclusion. I still buy my grains at the LHBS, especially since I can buy a bulk card and then just pick up the grain when I need it. I got frustrated buying hops there though because they always seemed to be missing at least one of what I was looking for. I have just started buying hops online and storing them at home. Not to mention the guy at the LHBS is a bit of an ahole
I agree. Yet another problem with B&M stores. They seem to have a difficult time keeping items in stock. Not to say that this isn't an issue online but appears to be more common locally.

As far as the LHBS guy being an ahole, I couldn't agree with you more. I visited my store 2 times and the ones that I encountered were some cocky SOB's that believe they know everything about making a beer and looked down on the newcomer.

I rather save money & time by ordering online and as for friendly advice, I turn to Home Brew Talk ONLINE.

BTW have I ever said that you guys are awesome?
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:17 PM   #10
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It would be interesting to do this with the big 4. Northern,Midwest,Austin and Morebeer.

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