Feeling bad about not using my LHBS

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Nmillard

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You guys are spoiled a LHBS has just now opened in my area and I'm super excited. I used to have to drive an hour and a half one way.The couple dollars more I might pay is the couple dollars you will pay in shipping and guess what your money stays in your community not going wherever that online guy is.
 

SwampassJ

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The couple dollars more I might pay is the couple dollars you will pay in shipping and guess what your money stays in your community not going wherever that online guy is.
I like how you say community as if we're ordering supplies from a chinese walmart vs. a group of people with the same hobby and interests as us for beer and wine.

EDIT Stupid phone omitted something.
 

jmtwo

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You guys are spoiled a LHBS has just now opened in my area and I'm super excited. I used to have to drive an hour and a half one way.The couple dollars more I might pay is the couple dollars you will pay in shipping and guess what your money stays in your community not going wherever that online guy is.
Let's see, my LHBS: 2 row = $2.80 a pound. Place I order online from $.72 a pound. LHBS any hops = $3 an ounce (or more). Online $1 or less an ounce.

On the grains, "because it's easier" he just prices everything @ $2.80/lb.

Plus, just about anytime I try to fill a recipe at the LHBS, I end up having to go with "close enough" for one or more ingredients.

My last brew priced at the LHBS was $80, I got it shipped online for less than $50.

While I would be all for supporting a LHBS, I ain't taking it in the shorts like that.
 

divrguy

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My LHBS is also morebeer in concord. I will make a 75 mile round trip because this store rocks! There prices are really good in most items and there service is outstanding. Plus, it gets hot as heck in northern ca over 100 in the summer so I can't let ingredients sit. When I need something big and they don't have the best price, I talk to them and see if they can meet it. Show them
The ad and they usually do.
 

Jayhem

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I don't feel bad at all.

My LHBS is a 40 min drive and their hops are 2-3X more per ounce than I pay online! Having my ingredients magically show up on my doorstep makes me feel like a kid at Christmas every time a box comes in!
 

landshark

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LHBS I USED to go to is similar to mytommygundonts. Guy is helpful and knows his stuff, but 2-row is $1.80, White Labs are $8.00, Notty is $3.60. Grains are only sold by the lb or 5 lb.

Saving grace the store had was cleaned cornies were $35 when I bought my first 2. However he jumped the price to $55.

The other LHBS in the area, if you are not making Fine Wines and a complete wine snob you are not worth their time, they don't appreciate beer and are vocal about it. I've wondered why they even carry any beer making supplies.

I still run in every once in a while for emergency items as it's a quick lunch break. But I found out one of the online stores was based out of one of the nearby towns, so I just buy from him now and pick it up at his house instead of shipping.
 

ImperialWolf

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The LHBS in my area is mostly a wine place but they carry everything i've needed for my beer thus far, and they are just as cheap as any online place since that is where they do most of their business anyway. The people who work there, while not beer people, are interested in what people are doing. They sponsor the local beer club and most of the brew events that take place around here.
 

strambo

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I guess I'm really lucky to have 2 LHBS nearby. The more expensive one (that is well-organized and a great retail experience) is still the same or cheaper than the big online stores. The other one is about 20% less than the 1st. Both have decent websites with online sales also.

My typical partial mash batches with hops and dry yeast cost $14-$20 and no shipping. I prefer the local stores for brewing as their ingredients are very fresh and would still go if the prices were the same as online plus shipping. If it was $10/batch more...I'd have to bail on them, that is a big amount.

The workers at both are very knowledgeable as well, I have gotten solid advice on par with what I read here...
 

Jayhem

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I guess I'm really lucky to have 2 LHBS nearby. The more expensive one (that is well-organized and a great retail experience) is still the same or cheaper than the big online stores. The other one is about 20% less than the 1st. Both have decent websites with online sales also.
What is their website? About the cheapest brew I make costs about $23 with shipping for the ingredients for 5 gal batches, my bigger beers cost about $30-$35 per batch.
 

cheezydemon3

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I like you use community as if we're ordering supplies from a chinese walmart vs. a group of people with the same hobby and interests as us for beer and wine.
:mug:.....(I think ;))

Let's see, my LHBS: 2 row = $2.80 a pound. Place I order online from $.72 a pound. LHBS any hops = $3 an ounce (or more). Online $1 or less an ounce.

On the grains, "because it's easier" he just prices everything @ $2.80/lb.

Plus, just about anytime I try to fill a recipe at the LHBS, I end up having to go with "close enough" for one or more ingredients.

My last brew priced at the LHBS was $80, I got it shipped online for less than $50.

While I would be all for supporting a LHBS, I ain't taking it in the shorts like that.
Any situation can be different. If my local HBS was owned by an asshat, screw it.

Mine is so good, I haven't visited the other 2 in the area, so I don't buy online. No charge to use her grain crusher is a definite plus.

ALSO, when that emergency ingredient is needed, you want that LHBS to still be in business.

One time wort was boiling, all was good, go to sanitize and swmbo had accidently donated it......(my fault, don't ask)...or Yeast. God knows thare has been at least one time that I was sure there was one more packet of yeast in the basement fridge. almost time to pitch......zoomzoomzoom.

Nice to be able to run 10 minutes down the road.
 

SIXFOOTER

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I use my LHBS almost exclusively now. In the beginning I bought some stuff on line, after getting multiple dead yeast batches on multiple shipments I quit. The liquid yeasts were the item I saw the biggest price difference on and for the PITA factor it is worth shopping local. I would still jump on a malt or grain deal if I found it on line though.
We are blessed with 1 really good LHBS in south Florida and they are good people, so I support the local guy.
 

Markd27

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I have 2 LHBS in my area. The closer one is overpriced. At $3 an ounce on hops (all kinds), a pretty decent IPA is cost prohibitive to brew. The other shop is great on prices, but close to a 50 mile round trip, and when traffic is bad, it's BAD.
Which two?
 

Markd27

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I buy strictly from my LHBS ( Homebrew Headquarters) in Richardson TX. They are nice, friendly, knowledgeable people who are always there to help. Their prices are good when you consider all the help they freely give. I consider it a great value to me.
I agree. They are good people, have a good selection, and in a lot of cases have better prices than a lot of the online shops. I recently took two of NBs recipes and bought the ingredients at HH for less than NB + shipping. I did feel a little guilty about not buying the kits from NB, but didn't want to wait on shipping. :D
 

davis119

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i try to buy from mine ........... but could you see spending 73$ on a 3/8" 25" IC ? thats gunna hve to be an onlike purchace
 

rawlus

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My biggest beef with LHBS is almost all of the ones near me choose to keep bankers hours.... They don't want to be open late, they close at 5 or 6pm and are maybe open til 7 one night a week. They work a half day Sundays if open at all and saturdays are really the only day that works for most of their patrons so the place is a zoo and you ant really get the attention you need.

First thing, if you don't want to work nights and weekends, don't open a retail store. It's 2012, retail is what target and home depot and Walmart decide retail is and that means being open when people are not working. This is the single most irritating thing about most LHBS. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my weekends and nights, that my time, that's why I don't own a retail store, a restaurant, a nightclub, etc.

I shop when I want to shop, I don't tailor my life to someone else's schedule. If its convenient for me I'll use the LHBS but it annoys me that I have to go through all sorts of orchestrations to make my life fit their narrow schedule of availability and that starts me off on a bad foot and in a bad mood from the get go.

I swear if the LHBS was open til 9pm every night and all day on Sundays they'd do 30-50% more monthly business.
 

Jukas

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My LHBS is great. Most of the stuff I need I can get either at the same price as online, or within a buck or so.

Base malts are normally the same price or cheaper than I can find at NB, AHS or BMW even before I factor in the shipping charge.

Hops prices they tend to be slightly priceyer averaging about $2/oz so for hops I know I'll use repeatedly I buy in bulk online, but when I need a small amount of hops I may not use again the entire year I'll grab em at the LHBS.

All their Wyeast smack packs are $6.99 so roughly $.75 more than online, but their stock is fresh.. the Wyeast 2565 I just bought is dated a mfg date only a month ago.

Some things they sell however are really overpriced. For example they want $430 for a 15g Blichmann, and $8/lb for clover honey yet their 50' 1/2" IC is the same price as BMW carries it for ($119)

Best of all the new location they're moving to is less than 5 minutes from my house.
 

kerant

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I live in Windsor,On; have one small place. He has to sub a lot. We are going to to a waterpark in Sandusky, Ohio on Easter weekend so I found a LHBS there and sent him a big order for 4 mths worth. I would prefer to buy local but I also want to make good beer.
 

cheezydemon3

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My biggest beef with LHBS is almost all of the ones near me choose to keep bankers hours.... They don't want to be open late, they close at 5 or 6pm and are maybe open til 7 one night a week. They work a half day Sundays if open at all and saturdays are really the only day that works for most of their patrons so the place is a zoo and you ant really get the attention you need.

First thing, if you don't want to work nights and weekends, don't open a retail store. It's 2012, retail is what target and home depot and Walmart decide retail is and that means being open when people are not working. This is the single most irritating thing about most LHBS. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my weekends and nights, that my time, that's why I don't own a retail store, a restaurant, a nightclub, etc.

I shop when I want to shop, I don't tailor my life to someone else's schedule. If its convenient for me I'll use the LHBS but it annoys me that I have to go through all sorts of orchestrations to make my life fit their narrow schedule of availability and that starts me off on a bad foot and in a bad mood from the get go.

I swear if the LHBS was open til 9pm every night and all day on Sundays they'd do 30-50% more monthly business.
Tell them that. If they don't care, get a crusher and welcome to online and thinking ahead.
 

Nmillard

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Chinese Walmart?

I forget some people are in huge cities where you barely know who your neighbor is. And yes I see the point where if you are getting butt raped by your LHBS in prices you would rather go online.
 

SwampassJ

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Chinese Walmart?

I forget some people are in huge cities where you barely know who your neighbor is. And yes I see the point where if you are getting butt raped by your LHBS in prices you would rather go online.
That wasn't the sole point. These aren't amazon like warehouses with orders being automatically pulled from the shelf or drop shipped from outside the US. Brewmasters, Austin, Midwest, Morebeer, Northern brewer are all LHBS. Some of us aren't living in an area with a homebrew shop in each town and driving 40+ miles each way isn't exactly what i would consider local. The only reason I return is because of the people working there and the people who gather there.

This buy local only stuff is nonsense when you do it for no other reason than the store being local.
 

Bmorebrew

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My LHBS is great - there are things I will buy exclusively there (yeast, sacks of grain, specialty grain), but I will almost always buy my hops in bulk online. I'm not a cheapskate, but I keep an eye out for great deals on certain hops. If I can get a pound of cascade, nugget, willamette, a noble hop or two, I'm doing pretty well even with shipping factored in. I will buy an occasional ounce or two from the LHBS, but typically it's somewhat cost prohibitive. I get that, and I'm sure they do too.

They have great prices on a number of things and obviously make their money on others. Good for them. The regular guy who brews once a month would not be doing better by buying a pound of centennial online when he would maybe never use it in a year's time. $2.95 an ounce is fine for him and it keeps the place in business so I can buy quality yeast and grains.

Win win.
 

MikeWI

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The guy who runs my LHBS is smart. I was in there looking for a kit for my first batch around Christmas. I asked him for suggestions and mentioned I had all my friends collecting empty bottles for me. He throws a couple of empty six-packs of bottles at me for free and made a customer for life. I've dropped around $500 there since then, between bottles, parts, and ingredients. Also their prices aren't THAT much higher than elsewhere.

The only time I've "cheated" on them was for stuff they didn't have in stock. I was down in Milwaukee for other reasons and ran by Northern Brewer for a Caribou Slobber kit and 12 lbs of Munich LME.

Mike
 

Rhuarc

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I'm with the consensus that says when technology or other factors dictates a changing business model it is time for businesses to stay with the times or die off. The music industry went through this in the last 10 years, the movie and book publishing industry are going through this right now, along with almost every other retailer out there.

Retailers MUST find a way to provide added value to their customers beyond the product they sell. Whether that is memberships, better quality, more customized, fresher, knowledge...whatever it is, they have to give me a reason to go into their store and spend time and additional money. $10 may not be a lot of money to those who can spend $30K on a basement brewery, but for those of us living paycheck to paycheck that extra bit of money we can save from each brew session makes a huge difference in how we approach and can enjoy this wonderful hobby! If a session beer normally costs me $30, that means that eavery 3 brew sessions I can now afford to do it one more time!
 

zeg

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I split between a LHBS (can't call it mine because it's 2 hrs away, but I make the trip down at least once a month or so to visit family) and online sources. It mostly depends on what I'm buying. I have wound up mostly buying equipment online and ingredients at the LHBS, with the exception of additives and a bit of dried yeast.

The LHBS I use seems to be quite well stocked, at least in terms of ingredients, and their prices are within 10% of what I see online. Sometimes they're a bit worse, sometimes a bit better. However I really like being able to talk to the guys in there about the hops and discuss the grain options.

If the price difference is in the ballpark of 10%, it's a no-brainer---I'd support the local guys. Even at 20% it's probably close enough. For a hobby, worrying about a price difference like that is over-optimizing. For a $40 brew, 20% would be $8. Sure, that's $8 and I'm not rollin' in dough, but I don't monitor my budget closely enough to be sensitive to that. I'll just skip eating lunch out an extra time, and get a frozen pizza instead of ordering out on Friday.

This, of course, is based on my LHBS being a reasonable business. If the service or selection is crap, one is not under any obligation to support the local business. But if it's approximately equal, I think there's a lot of benefit to having small businesses around, particularly in niche activities that involve perishable supplies. While I can't personally run out on brew-day to the LHBS since it's a 4-hour round trip, it's at least a benefit to the people who live around there.
 

SixFoFalcon

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I can see both sides of the coin. I buy some stuff from one of my LHBSes and some stuff from someone else's LHBS. While I appreciate the value in doing business face to face and having actual conversation, supporting local wages, etc., there is a limit to that value and it's not always wrong to choose another option.

My "local" HBSes are either downtown (15 minutes drive each way + cost of parking) or 18 miles away (35 minute drive each way) so they are not always convenient. I work full time, have an active lifestyle including training for endurance sports, cooking most of my meals, butchering & curing meats, maintaining a house, gardens, etc. so getting brewing ingredients and equipment can be a real pain, especially when I'm already taking at least one precious day a month and dedicating it as a brew day.

I'm not going to repent and say that I didn't do enough to help out ma and pa when I take 5 minutes to order something online rather than taking an hour (at least) out of my schedule to get something from the LHBS.

I thought I had the best of both worlds when one of my LHBSes started ramping up and offering online shopping, shipping, etc. If I couldn't get to the store due to a jammed schedule, I could just order online a few days in advance and since it's nearby, the shipping would be reasonably fast, the same guys I already know from the store and homebrew club would be filling my order, etc. Win-Win, right? Well they aren't quite up to speed with the order fulfillment and shipping departments, so while they "strive" for 2-day shipping in the immediate area, I didn't get my first order until the 5th day after ordering, one item was wrong (they sent an ordinary 6.5 gal fermenter instead of the 7.9 gal I ordered) and one of the critical specialty ingredients was out of stock even though the website had no indication as such.

Honest mistakes on their part, and they did rectify them, but it ended up pushing my brew day back a full week and requiring a substitution in the ingredients--frustrating to say the least. The next time I find myself pressed for time and unable to get to the LHBS, I'll be ordering from one of the other big online vendors several states away because I know they'll get it right 99% of the time, and they'll ship a lot faster. They may be cheaper on some things or they may not... that's not the critical factor to me. Maybe in a few months when the LHBS gets up to speed with online ordering and shipping, I'll consider that a viable option.

In the meantime I'm not losing any sleep over bypassing the LHBS, and I'm certainly not going to give anyone else grief for doing the same.
 

aubiecat

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I am 65 miles away from the nearest HBS. It's not economical in any way to buy from them because of gas prices. The only thing I will buy from them is glass carboys because the online stores either charge extremely high shipping or won't replace shipping damage. All my ingredients come from online stores.
Austin Home Brew and Brewmasters Warehouse are my favorites because the have low shipping rates, usually fill the order fast and fast shipping (two days or less).
 

jeffdill

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I feel bad too. I made a sincere effort to go there every time despite the prices being cheaper online (especially for DME), but got fed up with constantly having to substitute something in my recipe. They might be missing a strain or two of hop I need, they're out of WLP001 the day I need it, don't have the right crystal grain, etc.

If I spend all the time to design a specific recipe I want to brew it correctly, dammit!
 

shoreman

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I order all online and don't mind at all - my LHBS is a brewery that stocks minimal stuff and I have "to put in an order" to get anything...what's the point when I can "put in an order" into the CPU.

I'd say feel bad if you were dealing with totally lame companies online that had ties to larger corporations but NBrewer, MoreBeer & the likes seem to be all cool people - so don't feel bad - the local shop should have a biz plan that factors in the larger guys.
 

CS223

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My LHBS is a little hole in the wall place that seems to have everything crammed in there somewhere with oddly convenient hours and a lousy website. I mean that in the nicest way.

Shopping there is like browsing the inside of a Cheerio. But everything I've needed they've pull out of some cubby hole bin, nail hook, baggie or box somewhere. They're open on Sunday.

Really nice patient guys who give you their email addy in case you have a question after hours. I look in the catalogs for what I want and then go there to buy it.

On some things they are a few bucks more, some things a few bucks less but even on a a fairly decent size order, it averages out to within a few bucks of an internet order once you factor in shipping. I'd rather keep my bucks local when I can and it's a real big plus to me having them there when I need some cheap little item like o-rings, a brush, the $1 item you always forget to order but need to start/finish a brew project. Plus the instant gratification factor instead of waiting on UPS. They are honestly a real asset to have available and as noob getting started in brewing, the shipping would have killed me by now on all the bits and pieces I've gathered, forgotten, etc. So to answer the question "would you pay $10 more than mail order?" Yep!
 

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To the OP - Why should you feel bad? Do you owe your LHBS anything? No.

My LHBS is a dusty, cramped storefront with an owner that acts like the character Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. I go there to get my CO2 tank filled and that's it.

I have nothing but great things to say about the online vendors. I use Northern Brewer and Brew Masters Warehouse and I've been very pleased. The way I look at it is that this is my hobby. I want to spend my limited funds on quality and consistency. I'm not going to spend more to prop up a local business because of some misplaced morality.
 

FowlerBlades

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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.
Brewmasters Warehouse is my LHBS :)
I'm spoiled there as well.

I live just 10 minutes from Brewmasters Warehouse and couldn't be happier with their service.
 
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It's nice to want to support the local shop but look, things are changing. Local shops can't compete on price so they need to compete in other ways.

I don't shop at wal-mart because I think it is ruinous to the communities it comes to but I don't see ordering homebrew equipment online in the same way. Brewmasters warehouse isn't destroying its local community with its low prices. It's owned by people who care about the hobby. Now there are certain large homebrew retailers I do not do business with anymore because I don't get good service or products from them. They either quit caring or exceeded their ability to manage their business. Either way, I will have no part of it.
 

FredTheNuke

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It's all about convenience... Why drive halfway across my area to buy a sack of grain that may or may not be in stock when I can use www.fiftypoundsack.com and get the same sack of grain for $15.00 less (when you factor in gasoline)?
 

mxpx5678

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I try and support my local store when I can. Most of the prices arent too far off from online especially after shipping and taxes etc....

But if I am ordering an expensive piece of equipment or a bag of grain I am always going to go with what is cheapest.
 

ziddey

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I'm imagining with 12 pages, this was covered, but I've found hops to be tremendously cheaper online vs at my local stores--- around 4 times cheaper. That's paying $30-60 more on hops for each brew. I deal mostly with the pellet kind.
 

mxpx5678

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why does northern brewer have a sack of rahr 2row for $15 lessthen fiftypoundsack?

jw
I noticed that Fiftypoundsack includes free shipping which helps a little but still I can go to the MoreBeer store in Concord and get a sack of 2row for 35 dollars.
 
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