Feeling bad about not using my LHBS

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BlueSunshine

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So for my last 4 batches or so I've ordered all my supplies online even though I have a great LHBS not to far from me. I'm starting to feel bad for not giving him the proper business, however supplies in total are about $10 cheaper online (even after shipping). I go there for odds and ends sometimes when I need them, but I haven't put in a "full" order of stuff in over 6 months. Does anyone else feel kinda bad that they shop online even when you can get the same things at your LHBS?

Then again, last time I was in there he expanded and doubled the store in size, so he can't be doing that bad. :eek:
 

cheezydemon3

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I feel worse.

I drive past the LHBS to go to the megastore which is on average $10 cheaper per batch.
 

PVH

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Do you think they feel bad when they charge you more than you'd pay elsewhere?
 
OP
B

BlueSunshine

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Do you think they feel bad when they charge you more than you'd pay elsewhere?
Good point.

I like the place, everyone is really nice and helpful. They also play obscure classic rock on their sound system and the owner is kind of a hippy dude. I enjoy the vibe there but I save a significant amount of dough by shopping online.
 

WCrane

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I'm the opposite. I use my LHBS almost exclusively. I don't mind a few bucks extra support main street. Plus I brew on such a small scale that shipping orders even out or even costs more. Plus the owner is a really nice guy, super helpful. I sometimes just stop by just the shoot the bull with him.
 

JetSmooth

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Do you think they feel bad when they charge you more than you'd pay elsewhere?
That's such a consumerist attitude. :p Maybe the smaller store can't get things at cost enough to make a profit at the same price point as the mega store (or online distributor).

What you have to ask yourself is who is in worse position when they don't get your business.

My LHBS sells used cornys for like $45. I found someone online here selling them for $14, uncleaned and I needed to drive six hours to get them. I was on my way past anyhow, so I picked up four. Told my LHBS guy about it and he was thrilled for me. But I also bought about $200 worth of stuff that day, so that loss wasn't a biggie for him.

I have a great time talking with him and can spend HOURS in there just shootin' the breeze, which would be worth an extra $10 for me. Because I know if I were in a bind or needed his advice, I could get it much easier than an online web commerce site or mega store.
 

LooyvilleLarry

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I feel worse.

I drive past the LHBS to go to the megastore which is on average $10 cheaper per batch.
That is interesting. I have noticed that the "megastore" has dropped the bulk, and were out of Wyeast 1056t the last two times I checked.

I go down to MyOldKentuckyHomebrew for most of my stuff, and I think his prices are good.
 

Brewing Clamper

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When my favorite LHBS was still open, I would always go there, even if it was a little pricier. The couple that ran that store was awesome. They were crazy helpful and had great attitudes, but then they closed. My LHBS now is B3 and if I'm going to get stuff from there, it's actually cheaper for me to order from AHS most of the time. I guess what I'm saying is that it depends on your relationship with the LHBS folks.
 

cheezydemon3

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When you are doing well financially, it is easy to say "what's $10?"

But when you are running tight, getting the OK to brew at all is tough, and $10 means I can brew every other month rather than once every 3 months.

TANGIBLE DIFFERENCE.

That is interesting. I have noticed that the "megastore" has dropped the bulk, and were out of Wyeast 1056t the last two times I checked.

I go down to MyOldKentuckyHomebrew for most of my stuff, and I think his prices are good.
:mug:

I need to check that place out.

The party mart in the summit is the mega I am referring to, and they seem well stocked for what I need.
 
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I would go to a LHBS if I had one if the prices were comparable. But $10/batch more expensive even after the 8 dollar shipping. That's a bit much.
 

Zamial

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My LHBS prices on grain are within pennies of what I can buy online, in bulk, and have it shipped to me but I can get exactly what I need and not have to store it. I just ordered some specialty bottles from them because the guy cut me a deal and ordered what I wanted and it cost me $5 less than If I would have ordered them from online (shipping bottles is a #&@$!). I also get my yeast from them and use them for emergency supplies but that is about it.

Nearly everything else they have is WAY overpriced. The advice they give is good for a laugh but they mean well. They are always friendly and recognize me so, I like to go.
 

dogtailale

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Screw online shopping for me. My LHBS is a fifty mile round trip from my house. That's 7 bucks in fuel.

Real nice people. prices seam fair. Advice best price in town.
 

Memorex88

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I go to my LHBS exclusively for yeast and kegging equipment. Also for some specialty grains and sanitizers, hoses and such.
My hops are online and drive 1/2 hour to get my base malts.
They loose on just those 2 things, everything else I buy there.

So yes, I try to do what I can for my LHBS, would hate to see them close and have to do ALL my shopping online.
 

Windigstadt

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One point the economist in me has to make: I don't see the need to support an outdated business model simply because the people running it are nice. A brick-and-mortar store has inherent limitations (mainly a higher overhead cost and a smaller customer base which means a smaller selection) that an online shop doesn't. That being said, a brick-and-mortar store can also have advantages over an online store (no shipping time or cost; personal interaction; fresher product, especially when it comes to yeast). It's up to the owner to maximize the advantages that make it worthwhile. If those advantages don't justify the added cost for you, then there's nothing to feel bad about.
 

Special Hops

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I pretty much get all my grain, yeast and hops form my LBSH. I send them an e-mail with a recipe and they will have it all ready for me, milled and all. I just walk in, pay, and head out. I can literally decide to brew in the morning and brew that afternoon without pre-ordering anything or waiting on something to arrive by mail. I probably pay a few bucks more but you can't beat the convenience. Plus they are only like 3 miles form my house.

For equipment I typically look on line at various sites.
 

Richabt

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I love my LHBS, but because I travel so much, it is sometimes easier to stop at a shop while on the road to pick up this and that. I do shop there as much as possible, but have to admit I like having some flexibility. I have ordered some things online, but only items my LHBS doesn't carry or have priced out of my comfort zone.
 

NorCalAngler

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I do a fair amount of business with both. The LHBS is about an hour round trip. When I'm in the mood to just brew a kit rather than build a recipe the LHBS doesn't have much of a selection so I get kits online. I get liquid yeast local because it gets north of 100F here in Northern Cal and I can't have it sitting on my porch all afternoon in a UPS box. With a truck that gets 15MPG it's just about a wash between online and LHBS when I factor in the cost of gas. With AHS ability to build a custom grain bill with fractional amounts it takes another benefit away from the LHBS. I guess when it comes down to it the only REAL reason I go to the LHBS is when I want something immediately or for liquid yeast.
 

cheezydemon3

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My LHBS owners are "just off the boat" (like 20 years ago) Germans. Good advice on traditional beers, friendly, don't know what e-mail is, I can get 2 oz of crystal 120 if that is all I need, they cost 30% more than the party mart...........

CRAP.
 

daugenet

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I have no loyalty either way. If someone wants your business they will earn it with prices or service. My LHBS is about $5 in gas for me.

Do I want to support them over some place online? You bet I do.

i will order online though if it saves me a couple of $$$ because they out of my way to get to. I am not the kind of person who just wakes up one week and says "i think i will brew today". I like to plan things out ahead of time.

Bottom line is do whatever makes you more comfortable. When I bought all my gear i ended up geting things from 5 different places. (I have a bit more of a restriction on kettles since I wanted to brew inside and have an induction cook top.) It was a little more work for me but I saved ~$75, conservatively, from doing that. (and thats after shipping costs)
 

JerseyBrewer

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One point the economist in me has to make: I don't see the need to support an outdated business model simply because the people running it are nice. A brick-and-mortar store has inherent limitations (mainly a higher overhead cost and a smaller customer base which means a smaller selection) that an online shop doesn't. That being said, a brick-and-mortar store can also have advantages over an online store (no shipping time or cost; personal interaction; fresher product, especially when it comes to yeast). It's up to the owner to maximize the advantages that make it worthwhile. If those advantages don't justify the added cost for you, then there's nothing to feel bad about.
I agree with Wingdigstadt... A reasonable business model would be not to be either/or but to be both. I would rent a small space to be able to have a presence in the community (this would enable me to sell the non-tangible services like advice, last minute ingredients, hands-on instruction, club meetings, other brand creating services and frankly just to have people to actual talk with) while at the same time the majority of the business would be online and forward focused (coordinating bulk purchases, helping folks find hard to find equipment, assembling custom ingredient kits, etc...).
 

Cheaton

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I say go where you can get the best combination of service, ingredients, and price. If that isn't the LHBS then so be it. I shop at A LHBS but it isn't MY LHBS. My LHBS is a beer/wine store that happens to sell HB gear and supplies. To me it is an emergency stop only. I drive 25 minutes to go to my fav LHBS. I walk in there with a list, hand it to the guy and they put the order together with a smile. I may pay 2-5% more than online, but it is worth it to me. However, since I am a HBT user, I took "knowledgable" off my list of criteria. If you can't get the answer here, then you're not asking the right question.
 

mosquitocontrol

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I only go the the homebrew store for yeast. They only sell grains in 1lb increments so I'm always having to buy more then I need and have all these random amounts left over. Buying extract there at $4 a lb would just be insane, the same with hops. An increase of $10 a batch (which I'm guessing is on the low side) is an increase of nearly 33%. I don't have the cash leftover to do that.

I've bought a full recipe there once or twice and it was $45 and it was a basic pale ale (only 2 oz of hops). My recipes now average around $20-$25 a batch (even IPAs and stouts), so for me its nearly a 50% increase. Add to that there is a toll road and both a brewpub and dogfish on the way to the homebrew store, I usually spend another $20-$30 on the way there or back.

Actually the more I dwell on it the more reasons I come up with. Traffic being another. Its at least an hour round trip although I used to work nearby and could swing on my lunchbreak. Another, once they mill my grain they don't vacuum seal. They simply just throw it in a plastic shopping bag. So I have to brew within a week to feel comfortable. I don't have that much forethought to have everything planned on such short notice.

Don't get me wrong, the guy who runs it is great and helpful but thats not enough for me to support it for all its inconveniences. I'd rather have everything show up at my doorstep.
 

Cheaton

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I only go the the homebrew store for yeast. They only sell grains in 1lb increments so I'm always having to buy more then I need and have all these random amounts left over. Buying extract there at $4 a lb would just be insane, the same with hops. An increase of $10 a batch (which I'm guessing is on the low side) is an increase of nearly 33%. I don't have the cash leftover to do that.
This reminds me of something I wanted to say in my previous post... Some businesses SHOULD go out of business. The $4 extract and the only 1lb increment thing are an exmple of a business who isn't in touch with the needs of their consumers, and the pricing structure of their competition. If you can't compete on some level, you shouldn't compete.
 

azscoob

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I get almost all of my supplies from my LHBS, the chat is great, they have almost everything I need in stock, the bulk grains are 39 to 50 dollars for a 50lb sack, yeast prices are great, it is also on my way home from work, I just IM them a list of what I need and it is ready to go when I walk in. the assistant manager also drives past my house to drop her daughter off at preschool, and has stopped off at my place to drop off brewing supplies on her way to or from there so I wouldnt need to make the 60 mile round trip to get something I forgot to pick up.
For me that level of service is worth the few dollars I may spend over an online shop for some things.
 

WCrane

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A good business model is key. An LHBS that goes the extra mile for their customer is something you can't attach a dollar amount to. azscoob has a wonderful example of that.

My LHBS breaks down my grain to any amount that I need and will give me any amount of hops I need, 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce, no problem. Granted his measuring has always been on the high side, but no complaints here. This little extra has impressed me as it shows he knows what the costumer base wants. I really can't put a price to his service and advice and that he's just a good guy.

I'm thinking of talking to him about adding a brew on site and maybe doing some classes. I would totally voluteer my time to help him if he asked.
 

TheMan

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It's simple for me. The LHBS charges far higher than what I pay online. On top of that, they only sell by 1#, 5# or 50# increments. When I need a quarter pound of specialty grain, I don't want to buy a $2.30 1# bag of it. I want to buy 1/4 pound. If they did that I would have no issue buying from them. I would gladly pay their price if they split it.

It seems to me that they are doing exactly what you are saying. They aren't really catering to what I (the consumer) want. So I shop elsewhere.

Shipping costs are almost negatable. When I buy ingredients online I buy enough for several batches. The cost of tax at the LHBS is almost the same as shipping.
 

l1ranger

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i buy almost all my stuff on the internets. my LHBS is a beverage store first and foremost, with a little brewing stuff, its out of the way in a downtown walking mall and a little overpriced, but...if i just need some yeast, or an airlock, or even an ale pale or better bottle, I'll swing in there at lunch and get it and talk to the guy a bit and get some beers or a bottle of wine.

I never see anybody else in there for brewing stuff, of course that doesn't mean anything, but if nobody's buying it, his rotation wont be fresh or he'll stop carrying it all together, so then when I do need something today, I'd have nowhere to get it. its kind of a catch 23, but just how i deal with it.

if i had a full service LHBS I'd be more apt to use them for everything, assuming the service was good.
 

chumprock

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If I had a LHBS that didnt suck incredibly, I might feel bad.

But I get great prices, fast shipping, and incredible service from my favorite online shop which the local doesnt even compare to.
 

mullenite

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I shop exclusively at my LHBS. Hop prices are cheaper than online, grain prices are about the same (except I can buy grains by the gram if I want to do a real small batch) and they usually have what I want in stock.

If not, they will order it and it will still be cheaper than ordering online.

In addition to that: I can taste the grains before I use them, I can smell the hops, check the date on the yeast and I can talk shop with the guys working.

All around I don't see a point in ordering online with this store.
 

Pilgarlic

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I wish my LHBS all the success in the world but brewmasterswarehouse.com fits my needs like a glove. Although I'd regret it if the LHBS were to fail and they weren't there for my occasional immediate needs, it's not worth it to me to subsidize them against that possibility. What would change my mind? Truly knowledgeable, engaging staffers, mostly, and reasonably competitive pricing.
 

tallybrewer

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Never bought any of my brewing equipment, supplies, or ingredients from anywhere but my LHBS. However, the owners of the LHBS do happen to be my next door neighbors...
 

david_42

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I don't have a LHBS (nearest one is ~45 minutes), so it's not a problem. If I'm in the area when I need something, I'll buy.

Contrast this to the local hardware store. I always stop there first and will pay a bit more for items. Why? That 45 minute drive to the next store. If I have to order something, I'll order it through the local. They have a good selection and when it comes to stainless steel items, much better than Lowe's.
 

RIBeer

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LHBS for me is about 1.5 miles from work - great folks, really helpful, and reasonable prices. They also do consignment stuff for brewing gear. Only problem for me is that they don't open until 5pm, and I'm done at work by 3. Waiting the extra two hours just to be able to go is a killer, and also means that I'm fighting rush hour traffic. which bumps my commute time from 40 min to nearly an hour and a half. I usually will bite the bullet when I have a planned brew day coming up and need something, or when I'm experimenting with a new recipe and need some small amounts of grain. For bulk grains for my house recipes, I'm gonna go with AHS - I can get sacks shipped for almost $20 less than I can from the LHBS.
 

brettwasbtd

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I only go the the homebrew store for yeast. They only sell grains in 1lb increments so I'm always having to buy more then I need and have all these random amounts left over. Buying extract there at $4 a lb would just be insane, the same with hops. An increase of $10 a batch (which I'm guessing is on the low side) is an increase of nearly 33%. I don't have the cash leftover to do that.

I've bought a full recipe there once or twice and it was $45 and it was a basic pale ale (only 2 oz of hops). My recipes now average around $20-$25 a batch (even IPAs and stouts), so for me its nearly a 50% increase. Add to that there is a toll road and both a brewpub and dogfish on the way to the homebrew store, I usually spend another $20-$30 on the way there or back.

Actually the more I dwell on it the more reasons I come up with. Traffic being another. Its at least an hour round trip although I used to work nearby and could swing on my lunchbreak. Another, once they mill my grain they don't vacuum seal. They simply just throw it in a plastic shopping bag. So I have to brew within a week to feel comfortable. I don't have that much forethought to have everything planned on such short notice.

Don't get me wrong, the guy who runs it is great and helpful but thats not enough for me to support it for all its inconveniences. I'd rather have everything show up at my doorstep.
I assume you are talking about MyLHBS in 7 corners? I also have my reservations about going there. My main problem is the store hours (tuesday-friday 11-6 and saturday 10-5). I switch weekends between McLean and Dover, DE where my fiance is currently living. So half of the weekends I am not available, to make it to the shop. When she is visiting me, we generally have stuff planned, but if we don't, I hate having her sit in the car while i grab supplies (shop is too small for extra people and she says she "feels in the way"). I generally don't plan my brew days more than a week or two in advance, but I like to start them early on a saturday morning. This leaves me with one option, order ingredients online for a cheaper price on a monday and have them all by thursday/friday. I dont see any negatives in that last sentence :)

Maybe its just me, but i think those hours are not very accommodating to the community. Commutes/traffic make getting to the store on a weekday before 6 nearly impossible. My circumstances make Saturdays difficult.... that leaves me with no other options. So when it boils down to it, I pretty much only go to this store for the occassional dried yeast (which I can pick up after brewing on a saturday morning) or bulk 2-row as it is $45 for a 50lb sack.
 

duffmann808

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Not at all. I go to whoever gives me the cheapest price in the quickest amount of time. If I save ten dollars a batch, thats ten dollars I can spend making another batch, and hence ten dollars more I can spend improving my skills and making more to drink. I reward the people who are the most efficient with the scarce resources they have so that I can be the most efficient with my limited funds.

Just so happens that I live ten minutes from Austin Homebrew, whose prices are very attractive to me....
 

vandeg

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My LHBS is ok, I usually go there, they have fair prices. Went there the other day to get a case of bottles and they sell them for about a $1 more then online prices and thats without shipping. Though I still do kits, their prices are about the same as most online kits that are either same brand or similar recipe wise.
 

wonderbread23

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I buy online because I prefer to not make changes on the fly. It seems everytime I head to the local store I have to make at least 1-2 hop/malt substitutions due to lack of product. I do buy my yeast locally to ensure the best viability.
 

KevinW

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I have the option of 4 1/2 LHBS's (1 is only open on the weekends) around Portland that are no more than 35 miles away. Of course the one I prefer is 35 miles away. I make the drive because they have excellent service and prices. If they don't have what I need then I'll look elsewhere otherwise I'd rather support local business(sorry Internet guys).

Sometimes it is nice to have a human answer your questions instead of online instructions or a voice over the phone too!
 
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