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Idea for a LHBS / BBQ shop

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lex990

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Hey everyone,

Over the past several months we have been brainstorming business venture ideas for my current location. We are in a town of about 40,000+ people and there isn't much here aside from walmart and the typical grocery stores. It is a college town and it is a quite younger population as compared to other parts of Missouri with the same pop. I have seriously be brainstorming the idea of starting a LHBS and BBQ shop. I would like to have a decent stocked brew shop, with the possibility of having my liquor license to provide the public with craft brews not found in the area at walmart. I would want to start smaller and work up to a fully stocked brew shop if the demand is there. I would offer classes from basics to allgrain, and diy workshops covering the easy diy stuff of homebrew.

on the bbq level, I would try to carry all the general bbq supplies, get hooked up with a few of the ceramic smoker manufactures, and possible offer bbq classes covering smoker basics, chicken, brisket, butt, and ribs, and a UDS making class.

I have thought this out quite a bit and I think it would be a fun business journey that would be quite profitable after a year or so. I am working on getting in touch with other LHBS owners to get advice and guidance.

What do you guys think of the idea of a beer and bbq shop
 

Johnnyhitch1

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Check out Probrewer.com

Nothing against you we just like to stay on a at HOMEbrewtalk basis here.
Also 98% of the people on here probably have no idea about owning a LHBS/Smokehouse

Good luck wish you the best of luck! Sounds like a place i would be caught at
 
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lex990

lex990

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i'll check that out, thanks:mug: In my area I think i can get a place with decent location, utilities, and advertisement for around 1200 a month. i think profit can be made here
 

mattd2

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I think this would be the best place to guage the idea for a Local HomebrewShop and BBQ supply shop.

I think combining these 2 into one shop would be a good idea, including the classes. I would go there if my town had one. Only issue I see with it is the college town, I don't know how many college students want to have good beer instead of just lots of beer :D
 

HeavyKettleBrewing

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Put a strip club in the back for the trifecta! Your idea is sound and if there was a store like this nearby, I would have checked it out upon first sight.
 
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lex990

lex990

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i am in the planning stage, I'll come up with the business model and find out what is the least it would take to get by on for the first year and go from there. good thing about it as it won't be something that if it fails will bankrupt my family like a franchise establishment or other large investment. worst case is i have to ebay everything to get out if it doesn't work. I think with proper planning, it may be a fun and interesting business. my only problem is i have little wine knowledge, and i would need to find at least 1-2 other employees with decent brewing knowledge as well
 

bottlebomber

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lex990 said:
my only problem is i have little wine knowledge
There are plenty of HBS's that have little brewing knowledge. Why not make a wine kit or two, so you're not completely talking out of your butt and you'll probably be better off than many places.
 
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lex990

lex990

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iwatched my grandpa make wine a lot back in the day but this has been 20 years ago... i still have his apple press and equipment. i guess i need to venture in to that area. just don't like the stuff to drink that well
 

mattd2

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iwatched my grandpa make wine a lot back in the day but this has been 20 years ago... i still have his apple press and equipment. i guess i need to venture in to that area. just don't like the stuff to drink that well
Let customers use the apple press in the store, that's a great point of difference.
Alos as mentioned some LHBS range of knowledge stops even before the frist edition of how to brew was release. Even been slightly up with the play on the wine thing would be better than a lot of other places :D
 
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lex990

lex990

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thinking something like this fast sketch up for the logo only much better drawn out... this is just a fast gimp sketchup, probably go more art decoish

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 4.47.31 PM.jpg
 

Sir Humpsalot

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That is awesome! I love the pig drinking beer.

How's the greek/frat life in your town? Are there any bbq competitions? Being able to supply plans for a 55gallon smokers to fraternities and a such, along with hosting a competition could bring a lot of attention to your endeavor.

Don't forget to stock up on 1 gallon kits for the kids brewing in the dormitories. Bonus points if you can come up with a kit that can be made in the microwave. ;) Maybe you need to sell apfelwine kits too. ;)

Seriously, sounds like there are lots of opportunities there. It's definitely a shop that I would check out if it were local to me.
 
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lex990

lex990

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you read my mind on the uds plans

i actually thought about offering a bbq 101 class and part of the class would be building their own uds
 

Sir Humpsalot

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you read my mind on the uds plans

i actually thought about offering a bbq 101 class and part of the class would be building their own uds
Just keep it realistic. You aren't going to sell a lot to college kids. They don't have a lot. However, they are open to trying new things, they are curious, can be whipped up into a little bit of competitive spirit, especially for a good cause or a bit of recognition. And they can say good things about you and drive business towards you. Frat houses should have a smoker. No doubt. Weekends when the weather is nice? Why the hell isn't some pledge out there smoking a damned brisket?

You spend an hour teaching 5 college kids how to smoke meat. Maybe you'll sell them each a couple cords of wood for smoking meat. No big profit there, but it justifies your time. But maybe that one guy who's interested in brewing beer buys a starter kit. And then word gets out and another guys gets a starter kit. And then you sell a couple of extract kits. A bench capper. A few vials of yeast. Maybe you make good with a local butcher, they give the kids a 5% discount and you a 5% kickback for referring the kids to their place to buy their meat and showing a club card and it starts to add up.

Then the locals and townies start realizing that this is a ticket to good food and beer... and you start getting the hobbyists drawn in. But then.. how do you keep them buying local, not running off to the internet to save a few bucks?

Well, IMHO that comes down to offering good prices on bulk goods. You have a shipping advantage and you leverage it by supplying sacks of grain and 200lb smokers at a reasonable price with no shipping cost. That keeps the people off the internet and in your showroom or on your sales floor.

And of course, you're smoking a brisket on the weekend and offering samples.. preferably over at the football stadium or something, rather than just in front of your store. Is there tailgating going on? Man.. you start getting the alumni interested, then you have 30-60 YEARS worth of college students that can come knocking at your door.

Have some way of receiving and providing a full pig too. Or a side of beef and such. Either you have the capacity to take such a drop off, or you make arrangements at the butcher shop so that you get a cut of the sale when somebody orders a full pig or a half of a cow... Now, you're making money from products you don't even have to stock! And it should be good for a butcher shop as well to start getting those people in there to pick stuff up.
 

granpooba19

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I agree with Sir Humpsalot. I think college kids would love the idea of brewing, but when they find out it isn't worth it to brew a BMC, they'll lose interest. I'm not saying all college kids are like that (I'm only out a few years), but a good amount probably wouldn't have the interest/money in brewing what we would consider good beer.

I think the BBQ aspect would be great for a college town though. The college kids probably wouldn't be the best market for a LHBS, but the two combined still sounds like a great idea.
 
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lex990

lex990

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yeah i don't look for college kids to be a large part of my business, but you have great ideas as we do have a couple great butcher shops around, thank you for your input, gave me more ideas to stew on. if i can make the business net 30k a year after a year, then i will be happy
 

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Sounds like a cool combination. I built an electric smoker that is 2x2x4 (foot) with 5 racks so I can do a bunch of smokin in one day. (did a 20# turkey, 10# pork shoulder, whole tilapias, and a slab of salmon for Thanksgiving) I'm all for the Brew and Que!
 

Sir Humpsalot

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another angle to make a buck:

Whenever there is a festival or something where food is being sold, even if you aren't putting up your tent and selling food, other businesses are. Combine forces. Take the restaurant who knows how to sell food and has the manpower, see if you can piggy back along...

I'll be there for the weekend, help you cook, let's sell something BBQ-like and put my company's name on it. We're not even in competing industries. You're a restaurant, I'm a BBQ store. So you offer "my" barbecue. I get the free press, but it's all for your restaurant because I'm not selling food.

And if you just do that for the free press and pitch in for the weekend, I'd bet a small restaurant would consider that to be a huge benefit to them... and you'd easily come out money ahead as well.
 

mforsman

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I had been interested in homebrewing since I was 16, and then at 20 I tasted a buddies homebrew (at a college) and after that I was sold. 3 years later and I'm brewing 15 gallons a month…

You have a great market and a great idea. Run with it!
 
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lex990

lex990

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right now i have made a list of all the wholesale brewing supply companies and am waiting to hear back from a few of the ceramic grill places. Everyone has chargrillers and webers, no where here carries any of the higher end ceramic grills like primo or bge. I also would have a few uds smokers on hand at all times. I am going to go location shopping tomorrow to see if i can find something in my price range in a decent area. I am getting pretty pumped about this. Much more than when we owned our car lots or furniture stores. Finally maybe I can run a store that I like instead of what my dad wants.
 

bottlebomber

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I'm excited for you man. I don't know how how this works out everywhere but at my lhbs they are frequently pouring home brew tastes to the customers. Always nice to see that ;)
 

mb82

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I think the college kids will show up but don't expect them to be your bread and butter. Grad students probably would be more of regular customers but again they are not going to spend a lot since well they don't have much.
 
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lex990

lex990

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a big plus around this area is that we have one liquor shop with decent beer, the rest is whatever walmart carries. the liquor shop doesn't have a great selection. When I am in buffalo wild wings (which actually does have a decent craft section on tap here) I pay attention and see that a lot of people don't just go for the BMC. there is a place that has a great selection of crafts and micros here, but they are so high you can't afford to go there. I stopped in to look for something to satisfy my hop craving, found a few ipas and the cheapest one was 14 a sixer. I'm hoping this will be a good means of advertising as well. I can do tastings of my brews and educate customers on how to start their obsession (i mean hobby). To help cover the overhead, i am hoping to find a building big enough to have not only a decent bbq section but maybe some of the outdoor furniture associated with bbq. I still have some furniture connections from back in the days of our furniture store, i figure might as well put them to good use.

BIG QUESTION: do you guys like the name BREW & QUE. I'm not sold on it, but thinking on it really hard
 

granpooba19

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I do like the name, but I don't see how it invokes homebrew. To me, it is just a BBQ place...as easy as it sounds...BBQ & Homebrew (it rhymes!) or something along that line shows that you are more than just a BBQ place.
 
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lex990

lex990

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yeah, but there are women home brewers and grillers as well lol
 
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