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View Poll Results: Do you patronize your LHBS?
Yes 422 80.23%
No 66 12.55%
Can't: there isn't one, but if there was I would probably buy from it 36 6.84%
Can't and wouldn't 2 0.38%
Voters: 526. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-05-2009, 07:03 PM   #1
Jul 2009
Posts: 503
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Do you shop at your local homebrew shop over shopping for your supplies online? Why or why not?

For the most part we all know that buying brewing supplies online can be a bit cheaper then buying them at your LHBS, especially now that many of the major established sites have flat rate shipping. So, what keeps you from saving a few extra bucks and going the online route, or do you do it sometimes when it's more convenient for you to do so?

I'm curious because where I live (Lexington, KY), there are no homebrew shops within an hour + drive. The greater Lexington area has a population exceeding a million people, so I figure a homebrew shop might do quite well here. There is a local brew club that has quite a few members (I believe its somewhere around 80 off and on) and i personally know at least 10 people who are not in the club but who dabble or do a lot of homebrewing. I've been tossing around the idea of starting one up, though I'm just curious what you all do in your areas when it comes to shopping for your homebrew supplies.

Also, if anyone has started up a shop that posts here, some bits of info about roughly how much start up money it cost (just for the stock to get started) and your experiences starting one up, would greatly be appreciated!

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Old 10-05-2009, 07:08 PM   #2
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Revvy's Avatar
Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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I have several LHBS in the metro detroit area, including one in walkign distance from my loft, plus a liquor store about 2 miles away that has an aisle of supplies, that is good for a last minute run for bottle caps at midnight, and a wine on premises place that has some brewing supplies and liquid yeasts. Then there is a "suprestore" homebrew shop (cap n cork) about 40 minutes from my, that is actually convenient to stop at coming home from work. And there's several other LHBS in the greater detroit area that I have maybe visited but never bought from.

So I never have needed to mailorder anything.

I really throw most of my money to either Cap n Cork or the Lhbs in Walking distnce (I've become good friends with the owner of that one. It's really tiny, but I try to support him as much as I can.)

It's really all about inventory, customer service and knowledge/experience that makes a store for me...the two I frequent are places where you find yourself hanging out for an hour talking and maybe even sampling beer.

There's a couple people on here who have opened brick and mortar homebrew shops in the last 2-3 years who post regularly.
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:10 PM   #3
Apr 2009
Posts: 172
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I've probably spent over $500 at my LHBS this year. I've never ordered ingredients online, only equipment. You just can't beat the convenience of hopping over to the store to buy some last-minute specialty grains or yeast, or a replacement hydrometer. I like to be more spontaneous with my brewing, though, so the few bucks saved online isn't worth having to plan things out so far in advance.
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:13 PM   #4

I do, but usually for 'emergency' items or liquid yeast during bouts of extreme weather since I do most of my buying in bulk or using HBT vendors.

The owner hosts our homebrew club and gives a generous 10% discount on everything - so I like to support him when I can. His shop is an hour away from where I live, so I don't get there too often except on club meeting nights or special events.

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Old 10-05-2009, 07:17 PM   #5
petep1980's Avatar
Nov 2008
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:20 PM   #6
Clayton's Avatar
Apr 2008
NE Oklahoma
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Originally Posted by petep1980 View Post
I've learned what they are good at, and what they are not.
yeah me too its a great place with really good prices on most stuff
but there hops are just crazy high , i just got 61$ worth of hops from puterbaugh farms the same hops from my lhbs would cost 383.20 i compared it before pulling the trigger of 7Lbs of hops
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:20 PM   #7
Feb 2009
Flagstaff, Arizona
Posts: 134
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I've done the calculations and it's usually cheaper to get my supplies from my LHBS than online. However, that is on a per recipe basis. If I were to buy ingredients in bulk (e.g. pale malt, hops, etc) it would most likely be cheaper online. Unfortunately, I am not to the point of buying ingredients in bulk yet.

Also, I like to support the local, Mom and Pop type businesses in my town in general. My LHBS has always been helpful and courteous to me when I shop there, which is rare these days. It also makes sense to support them so they stay in business so when I need an "emergency" supply or ingredient, they are there for me.

However, I will definitely be getting my hops from; $3.50/oz at my LHBS is just ridiculous.

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Old 10-05-2009, 07:21 PM   #8
bluegrassbrewer's Avatar
Sep 2009
Lexington, KY
Posts: 48
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I also live in Lexington KY. And I support the closest thing we have to a LHBS. We have a chain of liquor stores that have a large selection of home brew supplies at two of their three locations in town. They stock just about any grain (including 55lb bags of base grains), most hop varieties in whole and pellet form, all the common dry yeasts, and most Wyeast yeast strains. They are wonderful to work with and will special order anything I want that they do not normally stock. I try to buy locally because I want them to stay in business both for the convenience they provide, and for the jobs they provide in my community.

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Old 10-05-2009, 07:23 PM   #9
Sep 2009
Detroit, Michigan
Posts: 802
Liked 8 Times on 8 Posts

I haven't brewed yet at home, but at school I used to go to a place all the time until they stopped offering home brew stuff. I guess they didn't have the right permits... Woops. Recently I have been getting stuff online, but once I get back to Michigan, I'll probably by local again.

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Old 10-05-2009, 07:27 PM   #10
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Whitehouse Station, NJ
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I'm not driving 45 minutes each way to overpay.
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