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Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
27,902
Reaction score
9,280
Location
Whitehouse Station, NJ
I'm sure you're all seeing systematic closing of many of your local homebrew supply stores recently (if not a year or two ago). The ripples of homebrewing shrinkage are even being felt via some larger mailorder houses like High Gravity and Northern Brewer deciding to close their walk in stores. Brewhardware.com and the associated walk-in brick and mortar store is still hanging in there as we absorb the customers of other nearby shops every few months. There are a couple more hanging on, but in the end, there are only so many brewers within driving distance. In the 14 years that I've been in business, I've let my customer's word of mouth sustain all of our growth and tried very hard not to be a salesman, until today.

Don't be mistaken, I'm not asking for anyone save my business. We're cash flow positive and doing OKAY so I'm not looking for handouts. What I'm asking of you is to consider taking a look at our offerings across the board and compare against the large mailorder houses. I'm going to make a few points for consideration.

  • We are a modest-markup, actual shipping cost business. This runs contrary to most in this market as most vendors offer free shipping at rather low thresholds because that's what marketing psychologists say customers actually want. No joke, if we baked shipping costs into the price of every item, we'd sell more. In the same turn, we'd be forcing our loyal local customers to subsidize shipping costs they will never use and that never sat right with me. The important takeaway is that heavy things will cost you more because the shipping costs more but our item prices are very competitive. Build a cart with items you normally buy and see the shipping cost. Compare. That's all.
  • I personally make all the decisions on what merchandise to stock and sell and I base those decisions on having the best equipment and ingredients available for my own brewing excellence. That's not to say I'm the authority on what's best but I'm showing motive. By all means, I'm listening to customers and bringing in things they want. Many times that resulted in a learning experience I used in my own brewing.
  • The owner of the company is in the building every day. You can get me on the phone or via email whenever you want. Take that for what it's worth.
  • Two out of the four employees that work here are BJCP certified judges. Three of the four brew more than once a month and enter every local BJCP competition. Sure, that's a bit of a brag but the key point is that experimentation, constant improvement, and process refinement is part of our culture. You don't have to be hardcore, but we won't judge either way.
  • We're not here to sling widgets. This gets back to the product selection point, but even further, we've tried being problem solvers. Long before I started the full service homebrew shop, we were creating solutions that didn't exist in stores. We were never going to be a shop that just moved merch from a manufacture's warehouse to the end customer as just another middle man. I bring this up so you can consider what kind of businesses you want to support, even if you're just buying yeast or a malt extract you can buy just about anywhere for commodity pricing. Just because you can find an item for slightly cheaper on Amazon, ask yourself if Amazon will ever innovate and add value to the homebrewing community. Can you send your kettle to Jeff Bezos to TIG weld a TC port in?
  • I've been an active member of Homebrewtalk since 2006 and a sponsor for at least 10 years.

Alright. That was pretty uncomfortable for me. Long story short, if you feel like the community is better off with BrewHardware.com being in business, all I'm asking is you consider us for your regular purchasing needs IF it makes economic sense to do so. In a lot of cases, we sell merchandise with MAP pricing such as SPIKE, BLICHMANN, KEGLAND, BREWBUILT and the like and there really is no disadvantage to the customer to buy them through us because the pricing is the same. The subject line is specific to the Northeast because I feel that the shipping costs remain relatively reasonable, especially if grain is in the picture. We're in talks with a few shipping carriers to get even lower rates, which will be reflected through the website. Lastly, we're moving into the warmer months and if you like liquid yeast packs, we can usually still get it to the N.E. USA for ground rates in 1-2 days which icepacks can handle.

I'll end the chit chat here and just paste some product stuff. Reply with any questions you might have.
Here's a full list of all the grains we have in pounds and ounces, you can specify batch groupings and how fine you'd like it crushed (we have two Monster Mill Pro mills with on the fly adjustability). Not shown are the "sack prices" but we do that too.

grainbuild2.png

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Thank you Bobby. I know this wasn't easy to do. I really appreciate the candor and am really glad you showed a bit of your complete offerings. I'm fairly ashamed to admit I wasn't even aware you carried ingredients.

Edit: I should correct - I just recalled you talking somewhere on carrying WL yeasts. Forgotten is a better word than didn't know. Memory thing, as weird as it seems.
 
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Thank you Bobby. I know this wasn't easy to do. I really appreciate the candor and am really glad you showed a bit of your complete offerings. I'm fairly ashamed to admit I wasn't even aware you carried ingredients.

Edit: I should correct - I just recalled you talking somewhere on carrying WL yeasts. Forgotten is a better word than didn't know. Memory thing, as weird as it seems.

I've made an effort to participate here as a homebrewer more than anything else and selling really isn't my thing. Here's a bit more of a comprehensive list:
Weyermann
BestMalz
Avangard
Briess
Rahr
Crisp
Simpsons
Muntons
Dingeman's

Malt/Grain is always going to be the shipping go/no go for people at increasing distances from NJ and I'm fully accepting of that fact. If it doesn't work, you need to find a closer outlet.

Hops - 1oz, 2oz, 8oz and 16oz typically sourced from YakimaChief (YCH) with lot numbers on packages, YakimaValleyHops, Michigan Hop Alliance and in relatively rare cases, LD Carlson repacks if things get desperate. We also stock Lupomax/Cryo. Full list on one page here: https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/hopsbulkadd.htm

Yeast: Lallemand, Fermentis, Cellarscience, White Labs (primarily for brand recognition), Omega Labs (my personal favorite for shipping locality, call count value/$ and innovation).
 
FYI, I'm in the midwest and even after adding shipping expenses my total cost from Brewhardware is no more than some of the "free shipping" supply houses nearer to me. There is no longer a LHBS near me so all my shopping is online.

I've always been happy with the variety of product and quick turn around. Long live Brewhardware!

BTW, If you'd add some MJ yeasts I might never shop anywhere else :) (I usually use dry yeasts due to the distance).

Cheers...
 
I must admit, that I have been purchasing from MoreBeer, which sells BrewBuilt. I was not aware that you sold their products, too.
I also frequented Northern Brewer (I was gifted my original homebrewer starter kit from there back in December of 2014). There were also some other online shops that I have purchased from.

My first experience with Brew Hardware was when I purchased the Cold Crash Guardian, which I still use to this day... a great investment.

I had a conversation on HBT with @Bobby_M about my dissatisfaction with grain crush and the online stores listed above. Bobby was very convincing on how well he does with his grain crush, he even mentioned that customers would come into his shop and have him run the grain through the mill when purchased from another store and had poor crush. I ended up giving him a shot and am very pleased with the results.

From that point on, Brew Hardware became my online LHBS. I wish he was a little closer to me (he's an hour and a half away), since I would have him add heating capability to my Icemaster Max 2 glycol unit.

Keep up the great work, Bobby!
 
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I've made an effort to participate here as a homebrewer more than anything else and selling really isn't my thing. Here's a bit more of a comprehensive list:
Weyermann
BestMalz
Avangard
Briess
Rahr
Crisp
Simpsons
Muntons
Dingeman's

Malt/Grain is always going to be the shipping go/no go for people at increasing distances from NJ and I'm fully accepting of that fact. If it doesn't work, you need to find a closer outlet.

Hops - 1oz, 2oz, 8oz and 16oz typically sourced from YakimaChief (YCH) with lot numbers on packages, YakimaValleyHops, Michigan Hop Alliance and in relatively rare cases, LD Carlson repacks if things get desperate. We also stock Lupomax/Cryo. Full list on one page here: https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/hopsbulkadd.htm

Yeast: Lallemand, Fermentis, Cellarscience, White Labs (primarily for brand recognition), Omega Labs (my personal favorite for shipping locality, call count value/$ and innovation).
Bobby after this thread I went to your site and combed through your ingredients. I'm glad I did and again I'm glad you posted the thread.
 
Recently, my LHBS (40 mins away) didn’t have the malt or yeast I wanted, being not very far away, and having very fair pricing, I bought from you. I’m happy with my purchase.
PS maybe check/answer a private message here? If you have a moment.
 
Bobby is my “local” even though he’s 35-40 minutes away. I pop in at least once a month and end up talking to him almost every time. In fact, I’ll be there again next week to grab my next round of ingredients and some small parts.

His customer service rivals any retail business, not just home brew. If I was to move away, I’d mail order from him. There’s another store nearby (maybe even slightly closer). While I won’t speak negatively of them because they are great, for me, the choice is still clear.
 
Good stuff, I will admit I am a Morebeer client but I will give your company a looksee. In looking at your ale kits, you IPA is priced very very reasonable so that might be a good place for me to start. Glad you posted.
I'll be the first to admit that we can't really compete on price with shipping to the West Coast on ingredients especially when Morebeer has a CA warehouse.
 
I'll be the first to admit that we can't really compete on price with shipping to the West Coast on ingredients especially when Morebeer has a CA warehouse.
Not worried about it. I would like to try and support a small business and one who is active on this board. Good stuff. I will certainly order from you next go around,
 
I've spent more at brewhardware.com than any source of brewing stuff, except for my long time favorite LHBS in Portland, OR where I get most of my ingredients. There are other fine suppliers, but Bobby's simply the best.
 
I just compared More beer to Bobby’s shop for grain and for 40 lbs of 2 row shipped to me it’s $64 from More Beer and $102 from Bobby. Either More beer has special shipping rates or they are losing money selling grain. If I was in the area, I’d buy whole sacks of 2 row from Bobby’s store for $52.
 
FYI, I'm in the midwest and even after adding shipping expenses my total cost from Brewhardware is no more than some of the "free shipping" supply houses nearer to me. There is no longer a LHBS near me so all my shopping is online.
Just did a comparison and for grain, Bobby’s price is much higher. Perhaps for lower weight items like hops and yeast, its more competitive.
 
Just did a comparison and for grain, Bobby’s price is much higher. Perhaps for lower weight items like hops and yeast, its more competitive.
It depends a lot on shipping cost, which is fairly location-specific.

For me, it's about break even on most orders, but I like the personal touch orders get from brewhardware, and they have grain that morebeer doesn't carry (e.g. barke).

I'm also close enough that I get 1 day delivery, which helps with liquid yeast in warm months.
 
That was well written and informative. Though I'm just a 'small potatoes' cidermaker, I'm glad to know about your shop and I love your business philosophy. I'll surely put you first on my list. Here in central Vermont, we had three LHBS and now we have none. I'll pass the word about BrewHardware.com. Best wishes for continued success. -Rich
 
Thanks. I have an order on backorder with you right now. So stick around at least until it is filled. Yes, I am glad to send businees your way for items my LHBS doesn't stock or maintain predictably.
 
So, I basically built an order for a single hop pale that I have done a few times. Using the same ingredients and ordering on Morebeer and Brewhardware and actually Brewhardware came in a few bucks cheaper for the ingredients. I did not add shipping simply because I am sure that is the kicker, but for me, I am going to place an order with Brewhardware next time and see how it goes. Like I said, I dig supporting the independent shops and I am more than sure Morebeer isn't going to go broke losing one order from me. LOL One thing I like is that you can order ounces of grain vs having to order a pound and end up with stuff left over.
 
I'm in Canada, so I'm gonna emphasize the hardware: "IF it makes economic sense to do so." ... It does. I often find myself using the phrase: "Buy Once, Cry Once." I've bought your T-port 3-way valves, Hot Pods, True Bulkheads, Spin Cycle, custom-bent RIMS element and high-flow camlocks.. Apart from the valves, you make these things for us and I deeply appreciate it..as to the t-port valve; No other seller bothers to state if their T-port is full-bore and some even pass off BSP or DIN threads as NPT and I've been burned trying to go cheap on scamazon. I've got a current shopping list for my next order..as I'm in Canada, I have to wait until I have a full enough list to justify the cross-border shipping; It'll include your false-bottom and a Wilser bag (more items other sellers don't carry).. I'm just waiting till I make a final pot choice, though I am considering ordering a cross-boarder Spike from you. (The official Canadian dealer has a very poor website and can't seem to answer for the port-layout I want).
Even though I'm DIYing my my gear to save money, putting a value on safety (Hot Pods), and ideal bulkheads and recirculation far better than I can cobble together, it makes long term economic, as well as peace-of-mind sense to buy from you.
Just sayin: From Canada; I deeply appreciate all you do and your making it available to us.
Looking forward to my next order!
:bigmug:
 
I just compared More beer to Bobby’s shop for grain and for 40 lbs of 2 row shipped to me it’s $64 from More Beer and $102 from Bobby. Either More beer has special shipping rates or they are losing money selling grain. If I was in the area, I’d buy whole sacks of 2 row from Bobby’s store for $52.

It's probably a little of both. We just signed on for lower UPS rates, but I'm guessing Morebeer does at least 4x the shipping that we do.
 
I am also recently discovering the economy of building a custom grain bill where my ounces are combined with the pounds rather than hanging on to small quantity grains and wondering what to do with them.
 
I am also recently discovering the economy of building a custom grain bill where my ounces are combined with the pounds rather than hanging on to small quantity grains and wondering what to do with them.
The Batch Builder interface on Brewhardware is pretty awesome for that. The ability to custom design 4 different batches down to the oz and then have them milled accurately and separately bagged is fantastic.
 
Just remember there is also SOMETHING that DOESN'T get added to the total cost when you purchase items from small out of state retailers. Not sure how long this will last as sellers switch to updated systems but take advantage of it and support a small business at the same time.

Yes I know you're supposed to report it on the April paperwork but I'll pass.
 
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Just remember there is also SOMETHING that DOESN'T get added to the total cost when you purchase items from small out of state retailers. Not sure how long this will last as sellers switch to updated systems but take advantage of it and support a small business at the same time.

Yes I know you're supposed to report it on the April paperwork but I'll pass.

That's one advantage to using small businesses. We don't hit the threshold for most states to require collection.
 
My rule is if I need equipment or even a small part/adapter from brewhardware.com then I buy my ingredients for my next batch too. Shipping to CA is pricey but it’s worth it to me to support a business I like and trust.
 
I'd like to be able to support, but for now I have to go the other direction. I'm in BFE Texas, and 10 lbs grain for $15 costs $21 shipping.
 
I have spent a lot of money at brew hardware and have been happy to do so. They have products that no one else has, and they work well. I am glad they are still around.
 
I'm in Mass and with my LHBS closing 2 years ago, I do my shopping online now and have to say BrewHardware has always been a great site to buy from!
 
As I actually mentioned to Bobby in-store yesterday: My closest LHBS (<10min away) closed down during Covid. Saddened, I then switched to a less-local LHBS in Pennsylvania (~50min away), and grew to really like them. A few months ago, they switched owners and move even further away. I was sad to have to switch LHBS yet again, but Brew Hardware was now the closest store to me so I gave them a shot.

I've now been in-store three times and have been very happy with the switch. Their customer service is top-notch. The prices are also way cheaper than I got at my previous LHBS, I'm sure partly because of the true-cost shipping Bobby mentioned, and I benefit from the free local pickups. I am now making 100% of my homebrew purchases through Brew Hardware.

Bobby, I hope you stay open. Thanks for your service to the homebrewing community.
 
I was there today and had to *try* to convince Bobby that this post was a good thing. He’s that humble.
I definitely think the post is a good thing. I would like to see him not only thrive, but do very well for himself. He's earned it both personally and professionally. It never hurts to make sure people know you're out there, and without a little advertisement, you can get buried under the big-box stores. None of us want to see that happen to him.
 
I just compared More beer to Bobby’s shop for grain and for 40 lbs of 2 row shipped to me it’s $64 from More Beer and $102 from Bobby. Either More beer has special shipping rates or they are losing money selling grain. If I was in the area, I’d buy whole sacks of 2 row from Bobby’s store for $52.
Don't go by the initial shipping estimate. IIRC you can't get to the shipping options until you enter payment info, but in all my past orders, I've been presented with significantly cheaper options than what was originally suggested, and for me in CT, a final total competitive with the "big boys".

Bobby, if you could let shoppers see the actual shipping options and costs before entering a CC#, you may not scare off some potential customers.
 
I just went back to my last order and did stare and compare with a few online places - I order grains for 2-3 recipes at a time, milled BIAB for 4G batches. My last order was around 25lbs of grain plus yeast, hops, and a few other things I needed. Even with the Brewhardware shipping I still came out at or below the costs from several other well known sites. Usually I see grains at $1-2 less per pound. Liquid yeasts $3+ less per pack, and hops at 25 cents or so less per ounce. Just for a few recipes my ingredient costs were $25-30 less which covered the higher shipping. In the end it was about equal and I had my order in about 4 days. I don't usually do liquid yeasts because of the distance, but otherwise it's been great.

I would probably get different results if I was ordering large quantities like whole bags of grain, but ordering enough for 3 or so recipes at a time Brewhardware really works for me and I appreciate the mill quality (BIAB) since I don't have my own mill. The milling is a big deal for me. I emailed several suppliers and while some would double mill on request, some did nothing different for BIAB vs traditional mashing. Brewhardware does a great job for BIAB brewers who don't mill their own. Plus, if I have a question I usually get an email back from the owner, how cool is that.

I'd say, keep it up Bobby and while I know your post was focused on Northeast area brewers who would likely see the most savings, don't forget about the rest of us. You are still competitive beyond your local area.
 
I just went back to my last order and did stare and compare with a few online places - I order grains for 2-3 recipes at a time, milled BIAB for 4G batches. My last order was around 25lbs of grain plus yeast, hops, and a few other things I needed. Even with the Brewhardware shipping I still came out at or below the costs from several other well known sites. Usually I see grains at $1-2 less per pound. Liquid yeasts $3+ less per pack, and hops at 25 cents or so less per ounce. Just for a few recipes my ingredient costs were $25-30 less which covered the higher shipping. In the end it was about equal and I had my order in about 4 days. I don't usually do liquid yeasts because of the distance, but otherwise it's been great.

I would probably get different results if I was ordering large quantities like whole bags of grain, but ordering enough for 3 or so recipes at a time Brewhardware really works for me and I appreciate the mill quality (BIAB) since I don't have my own mill. The milling is a big deal for me. I emailed several suppliers and while some would double mill on request, some did nothing different for BIAB vs traditional mashing. Brewhardware does a great job for BIAB brewers who don't mill their own. Plus, if I have a question I usually get an email back from the owner, how cool is that.

I'd say, keep it up Bobby and while I know your post was focused on Northeast area brewers who would likely see the most savings, don't forget about the rest of us. You are still competitive beyond your local area.
I did much the same thing. I input one of my basic SMASH beers and noticed right away that Brewhardware was much cheaper with their grains and S05 yeast that I typically use. The end result of the order minus shipping was that they were about 5 bucks cheaper. Now, if they were more expensive, would that matter? Not really. I am lucky enough where my "accountant" does not do annual audits of the crap I buy. LOL. So, for me, if it cost a few bucks extra to support a small independent business, I am in. I will input my next order of probably two recipes and use Brewhardware. Only suggestion would be, I hope to see BRY97 on the yeast list,, but if not, there are plenty of others to choose from. Rock On!!!!!!!!
 
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