Reading in South Jersey/Philly Grain buy thread, they seem to think it was a certain hbs in the Keystone state that caused NCM to cutoff homebrewers. They are starting to talk of a boycott over there.
I don't think so. The reason I say this is because they won't even give you an account if you are a homebrew. If they really wanted an online retail presense, they would have to let people actually order.Honestly it looks to me that NCM is trying to set up an online retail presence.
But even those grandfathered accounts are getting pushed out now if they dont order within a year. Which sucks too.I don't think so. The reason I say this is because they won't even give you an account if you are a homebrew. If they really wanted an online retail presense, they would have to let people actually order.
The only homebrewers that currently have accounts with them are ones that had accounts prior to their policy change in 2010 or whenever that was. Those accounts got grandfathered in.
I posted some of this already in the MD/DC/VA thread:
Country Malt Group bought BrewCraft in 2010, essentially acquiring an existing distribution channel for homebrewers. I think this coupled with some pushback by some of their larger homebrew shop customers likely led to the policy change.
Another distributor option in addition to GW KENT "might" be CARGILL http://www.cargillfoods.com/na/en/products/malt/malt-specialty-products-group/index.jsp I called Cargill re: setting up a food coop to see if they would sell bulk grain and was referred to a regional sales rep. Haven't heard back from her yet.
Personally, I see 3 primary options:
- Adapt. Circumvent NCM's policy by becoming a licensed entity like a brewing COOP. Downside, they can duck and weave and change the policy again.
- Boycott. Push back on NCM's customers, the homebrew shops themselves. Tell them we don't want to do business with NCM and encourage them to find a new grain supplier.
- Strategic support of a direct competitor. Band together in greater numbers and leverage our buying power with another bulk distributor. Take that business away from NCM and the lhbs directly. I have to think that if NCM is this big that there is a smaller company that wants that chunk of business. *I'm sure someone will chime in that we don't want to hurt the lhbs, but bulk grain is (or should be) a small profit, heavy item.
This is a terrible analogy. I can buy beer cheaper at the brewery, every brewery just isn't in one spot. It comes down to a matter of convenience at that point. And yes, places do call the ford plant and get special pricing when they buy vehicles in bulk, so i don't know what you're talking about. When say the police force needs vehicles, they go directly to the source and get better pricing on them.Have you ever noticed that a brewery doesn't really sell there bombers/6packs for that much cheaper then the liquor down the street? Its a bad business plan to undersell a liquor store...why you ask. That liquor store might stop carrying your product/go out of business. As a supplier you don't want to undersell your retailer.
Why can't you go to Detroit, walk up to the ford dealer and say" I would like to buy ten f150 trucks for $20,000 a piece???". Because the ford dealer knows that the cheapest a ford dealership can sell a f150 for is $25,000. the ford/manufacturing plant doesn't want to under sell its dealer. It's a bad long term business plan.
It's bad for the group/guy that has the cash to buy 10 trucks but good for the guy that only want one truck and has a local dealer to buy from.
The pro for keeping my lhbs in business as a consumer is I can drive down the street and get yeast,grain,hops at a moments notice. It's bad for the bulk buyer because he has to pay more because of the middle man.
Ps if anyone finds a supplier that will do cheaper group buys than my lhbs post it here
Actually your example doesn't work when it comes to municipal equipment. Private industry would work with a dealership on bulk pricing. States work out contracts with producers for equipment that cities purchase through typically. I work for a small town in Illinois. We buy all of our vehicles and large equipment on "state contracts."xjncoguyx said:This is a terrible analogy. I can buy beer cheaper at the brewery, every brewery just isn't in one spot. It comes down to a matter of convenience at that point. And yes, places do call the ford plant and get special pricing when they buy vehicles in bulk, so i don't know what you're talking about. When say the police force needs vehicles, they go directly to the source and get better pricing on them.
I think that you bring up a lot of valid points. However, I also think that a lot of this volume generated through group buys will go away instead of being funneled to LHBS. Most of us will be brewing less. As a result, I believe that in the future the distributors may have to make an exception to extremely large volume group buys or else they nor the LHBS will never see those sales dollars due to significantly higher prices. $0.02There are a lot of good points being made here. But the reality is that the industry is changing. There is an explosion of new homebrewers chugging along with, causing, the craft beer revolution. The AHA estimates there are over 1 million homebrewers in the US and 1,000 clubs. So it seems a bit presumptuous claiming that this forum represents the whole homebrewing community. I’d say the 700 plus LHBS and their customers represent the homebrewing community as much as, or more than, those on this forum. This will have no effect on the vast majority of the homebrewing community. It may even improve most brewers access to products. Many LHBS do not deal with NCM because they sold to clubs. When NCM bought Brewcraft they announced they would discontinue doing business with clubs. They are now merely conforming to what they promised then and what everyone else in the industry does. As a business NCM has to adapt to a changing environment to maintain competitive. Do the math guys. Clubs: 1,000 with 50 members is 50,000. One million homebrewers are going through a LHBS now. Next year there will probably be another double digit increase, 2 or 3 times the total in clubs just there. Many new LHBS are opening too.
I’m with Homebrew Emporium. Our stores did not deal with NCM until they purchased Brewcraft and announced a change in their policy. No one store is responsible for this change by NCM, but lots of us have been urging NCM to do so for quite a while. So singling any one store out is ridiculous. With NCM as a vendor we’ve increased the variety of products we offer. I’m sure other stores will also now be more likely to work with NCM. They have some nice products not available elsewhere that our customers can now find here.
All in all clubs circumventing the LHBS have been hurting the industry. That’s why LHBS want NCM to conform to industry standards, which are similar in most industries. For most LHBS, what clubs do is take just enough so that the business struggles. Not until it’s gone do you miss it and wonder why it failed. NCM’s action will help your LHBS.
Some of the schemes proposed here are, let’s say, a bit unrealistic. From all the comments it seems no one out there owns a business or they’d understand. You want to be treated like as business, but not be one. You all want the benefits of being in business without the responsibilities; skim the cream without doing the work. You guys think it’s easy to run a store? You should try it. We have to deal with the IRS, Ag & Markets, the Health Department, insurance, CPAs, sales tax, workers compensation, the fire marshall, store rent, banks, utilities, IRA’s, lawyers, and on and on for our customers and employees. The average store owner probably works at least 80 hours a week, has their life savings tied up in the store and hasn’t had a vacation in a year or two. They possibly taught a lot of club members how to brew. Then they watch as you go and buy from NCM. Think they’re happy to see you, telling all about how much you saved on the grain you bought in bulk through the club. Then hear remarks about the lack of variety and new products. Two hop bags and a hydrometer later and you want a 10% club discount too. That’s why many owners refuse to give discounts to clubs. We’re all about the beer, but don’t you think our employees and LHBS owners deserve to make a decent living?
I imagine that most clubs with a decent LHBS will likely find the LHBS happy to work with you. We have an annual grain buy for our customers with significant discounts. But if as a club you want a pallet another time during the year? Come and talk to us, we'll work something out. Plus we’ll be more likely to offer a club discount on other items. So you’ll get more back from us. We know who our good customers are and we reward them. And we give back in other ways: Big Brew Day we give the ingredients free to brewers at our stores, enough for 750 gallons last year, as well as raise money for local food pantries.
For those without a good LHBS, well here’s an opportunity perhaps. The homebrew market is growing double digits. Maybe one of you guys complaining about your LHBS should show them how it should be done and open a store. Or if they are too far away maybe now's the time the area gets a LHBS. That would let you to run it the way you think it should be run.
No, I don't think we want to be treated like a business, certainly not one that is operating to turn a profit. I think a decent sized contingent of us, as a like-minded group of consumers, want to leverage our collective buying power to purchase one unique item in bulk. Much like a farmers' co-op, we have a shared interest in organizing a break-even entity that exists for the sole benefit of fulfilling a need for our local members. And we are willing to donate our time and effort to that end.Some of the schemes proposed here are, lets say, a bit unrealistic. From all the comments it seems no one out there owns a business or theyd understand. You want to be treated like as business, but not be one. You all want the benefits of being in business without the responsibilities; skim the cream without doing the work. You guys think its easy to run a store? You should try it. We have to deal with the IRS, Ag & Markets, the Health Department, insurance, CPAs, sales tax, workers compensation, the fire marshall, store rent, banks, utilities, IRAs, lawyers, and on and on for our customers and employees.
Is it just me, or do both sides of this argument make sense? I'm really torn because my LHBS has good prices and awesome people. On the other hand I'm a cheap bastard and would love some group buy savings. Either way I'm still going to brew!Maybe it's just me, but a brick and mortar hbs holds zero value to me. All of my needs are met through purchasing online, and through group buys. LHBS operators might be great people, but that's not enough of an incentive for me pay extreme markups to cover their overhead. The retail industry (and many others) are facing this shift en masse. I suspect that the ones that resist change rather than trying to adapt will eventually be left behind.
Yea what happened? I made a post at 2pm then I checked back an hr later and it was gone.Dschuetz said:
All we want is a fair shake. That's it.Yea what happened? I made a post at 2pm then I checked back an hr later and it was gone.
What I posted was, if Keystone really was the driving force in this price change then they could be breaking some laws. It looks to me like corporate price fixing, and both companies could get in a lot of trouble.
PLUS while you're there you can have a pint or fill a growler!I don't think they are price fixing since they are just coming in line with other suppliers. But honestly I think just talking to your local nano or brew pub will get you what you want. It helps the small brewery to get better pricing.
We're buying in wholesale quantity, so why shouldn't we be entitled to that pricing structure? It isn't that they've decided not to sell to homebrewers anymore at all. Which in that case it would make sense. It's that basically the same services and products that we were able to get a week ago, have all of the sudden jumped in price by 35% for no reason other than to bang homebrewers for some extra cash. Im pretty sure there's no way some of the smaller homebrew shops go through 126 bags of grain in a month. Just a thought.Well, yes and no. People seem to have a pretty strong (and unjustified) sense of entitlement here, IMO.
Everyone who has been involved in these grain buys over the past several years was really getting a deal that they should have never been able to get. We were buying at wholesale prices, but we are not the retailers, or businesses. We should be paying retail prices.
Now that we have to pay retail prices, people feel they are getting ripped off. That's simply not the case.
Believe me, I don't like the price increase either, but I don't feel like I am being screwed. I feel like we have just come to the end of a sweet run that we were lucky to have had.