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Old 03-24-2007, 11:12 PM   #1
Bernie Brewer
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Default Another LHBS Rant

OK here's the deal: I had to be in Sheboygan today (that's in Eastern WI for you non Cheeseheads) on unrelated business, and I also would like to brew tomorrow if possible. So I do a search to find the nearest LHBS to Sheboygan so I can pick up some ingredients for brewing. My search yields a hit: Grapes, Grains, and Beans in Manitowoc, about 1/2 hour north of where I was. Sounds good, I'm in business, right? Well I get there, and I ask the proprietor if they have any 50# sacks of two-row that they can sell me.
Answer: "No, but we can get it." Well, I'm from out of town, I won't be coming back, so I'll just get enough for this couple of batches and call it good. So I need, for starters, 30# of 2-row.

"Oh, my goodness no, we don't have that much on hand! we only order 20# at a time!" She opens the little barrel and there's maybe 5 pounds of 2-row in there.
That's all you have, I say? "Well, yes", she says " Most homebrewers only brew 5 gallons at a time, so we don't go through that much."

I told her that since most 5- gallon batches use close to 10 pounds of 2-row that she is only able to keep two customers happy at a time at that rate.

Honestly, what self-respecting LHBS only has 20# of BASE MALT on hand at one time???? That's ridiculous!!!! Grrrrrrrr! I told her not to expect to be in business much longer if they keep that up........

The irony of it all is, this LHBS is only two blocks from one of Budweiser's biggest malting plants!!!!! And they only carry 20# at a time! Sheesh! Ok, rant over..........

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Old 03-24-2007, 11:36 PM   #2
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That's sad. They must support only extract brewers. /shrug

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Old 03-24-2007, 11:45 PM   #3
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My LHBS is pretty much an extract only shop. I'm sure they'd special order if the demand was there, but there doesn't seem to be a big interest in homebrewing here in "paradise". One of the big reasons I'm waiting before I try AG.

I think some LHBS's would do far better if they carried a wider range of products and actively promoted the hobby instead of just carrying enough to call themselves a LHBS. I understand it costs them money, but....

Special order doesn't do jack for you when you are on brew day and realize your missing something.

I plan on being at the point in a year or so, where I will have enough supplies on hand that if I get the itch to brew, I'll be able to throw something together with what I have.
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Old 03-24-2007, 11:54 PM   #4
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Yeah, I can more easily buy pool filters (but not the kind the Monster Mash uses) and knick knacks at my LHBS than actual brew supplies - it's a pool supply shop, gift store, gaming shop, and HBS.

They actually quit stocking grain almost altogether, but they are pretty willing to take special orders. I'm going to see about ordering a 55 lb sack of 2-row through them - if it's less than $50, that's better than I've done online.
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Old 03-25-2007, 12:06 AM   #5
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Sounds like they don't do much business and it also sounds like they don't know what they are doing. We have had a few folks post on here about LHBS that don't know what the heck they are doing. What is going on?
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Old 03-25-2007, 12:15 AM   #6
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And curiously enough- the LHBS that seemed stunned when I asked about milling the grain (a 5 pound bag on the shelf) is in the state of ..........Wisconsin. They didn't have any yeast, either, beyond a couple of leftover lager yeasts.

Maybe the Wisconsin stores that are the "bait, gas, deli" stores are trying to break into the HBS game thinking it'll be an easy way to make extra cash. I don't know- I still have to either order online or drive all the way to Appleton (2 1/2 hours each way!).
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Old 03-25-2007, 02:35 AM   #7
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If I want anything but Extracts and DME or specialities grains I have to order it online.
My LHBS has the dried yeast hung in nail hooks above the counter so you can see whats in stock. Been the same stock for that last year or so..

I can pick up carboys, funnels, Irish moss, caps.... at the LHBS for the same price as online, and not have to pay shipping, so there is a bright side..
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Old 03-25-2007, 04:19 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by McKBrew
My LHBS is pretty much an extract only shop. I'm sure they'd special order if the demand was there, but there doesn't seem to be a big interest in homebrewing here in "paradise".
Well you do have the Kona brewing co....the maker of the absolutely killer Kona coffee porter( at least I think that's the name). I'd have a hard time brewing if I could get my hands on that year round

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Old 03-25-2007, 01:25 PM   #9
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That does suck. So what did you end up doing?
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Old 03-25-2007, 02:01 PM   #10
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isn't there an online shop that sells with FREE SHIPPING over a certain dollar amount???buy 100 pounds at time of base, won't it keep??

planning: red ale, sunshine wheat clone, cherry stout, another blue moon clone
in primary: all grain octoberfest lagering
Lagering fridge: " "
Conditioning: AG Sam Adams Ale clone, PG German Weissbier
Drinking: not much left
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