LHBS vs Online

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noggins

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I live in a pretty decent sized city and am lucky enough to have 3 LHBS, one is even less than 5 minutes away, but I find myself more and more ordering from a semi-local online LHBS and amazon. 1 LHBS has no site of any kind, the other is outdated and only has a price sheet posted from 10 years ago with all kinds of outdated prices. I guess my reasoning is that any place that can't keep up with an online store isn't worth shopping at. I keep telling myself that if the store 5 min away would update their site I'd love to give them tons of money, but that's been going on for a while now(over 2 years?!?!). If I didn't have a budget and could just go buy whatever the f I wanted to I'd definitely shop locally exclusively....Am I a lazy snob or does anyone else share my opinion?
 

m1k3

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I buy hops online from places that only sell hops. (by the pound)

I buy yeast (dry) from a place online that is close enough to ship it quickly (and I don't order in the summer time!

I would buy a kettle or pump online because the price cannot be beat.

But for convenience (kegging/tap parts) and access to all the grains I want (and don't want to stock myself) the LHBS can't be beat. Also, shipping a sack of grain is not usually cost effective so local pick up is better for me.
 

FirstAidBrewing

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Until I get myself a grain mill, I will buy most of my ingredients from my LHBS. I don't mind paying a bit more to support the local business to some extent.

Most non-ingredients (star san, acids, cleaners, tubing, etc) I get online as the prices are much better.
 

MileHighBrewer

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I am spoiled. My LHBS is only about 10 minutes away and his whole business plan is compete with online stores. Ok compete, and have almost anything you could ever want, guy has 200+ grains, well over 100 hops, 8 yeast companies, always bringing in more variety of everything and sometimes cheaper then net pricing. I fully appreciate this is a very unique situation, and if I didn't have it I'd probably buy lots of stuff online. Its great to buy local when you can, never know when you are going to need something ASAP. But, money is money.
 

JoeSpartaNJ

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I have 2 excellent LHBS with a half hour of my house in each direction. Lucky Me. Both of their prices are comparable to online if you include shipping costs into the equation. Win/Win for me. I can always get fresh ingredients. The only things I order online these days is equipment.
 

hunter_le five

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I prefer buying from local HBSs rather than online. I hate waiting for and paying for shipping. Plus I like supporting local businesses. Though the new HBS that opened up nearby has a pretty great site too.
 

Natdavis777

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I buy all of my grain and the majority of supplies from my LHBS. We have a plethora of stores around the city, and luckily both places Ive lived, there is one just minutes away. As for hops, I buy a good portion online in bulk, because that is a major savings for me. The dangerous thing is since Im always so close, I am in there at least once a week going "oh I could use this"...
 

rockymtnbrewer

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I am spoiled. My LHBS is only about 10 minutes away and his whole business plan is compete with online stores. Ok compete, and have almost anything you could ever want, guy has 200+ grains, well over 100 hops, 8 yeast companies, always bringing in more variety of everything and sometimes cheaper then net pricing. I fully appreciate this is a very unique situation, and if I didn't have it I'd probably buy lots of stuff online. Its great to buy local when you can, never know when you are going to need something ASAP. But, money is money.
Where do you go?
 

Qhrumphf

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My LHBS has an online store, but outside of popping on from time to time to see if he carries something or how much it is, I've never ordered from it. 5 minutes away (15 minutes in traffic), and his prices beat the online guys 80% of the time even if shipping from the online guys is free. Normal grain mill price is better than online, and he'll do specials that are WAY below the online guys. His selection is good (and if I want something he doesn't have, he can get it for me), turnover is high, and ultimately if I can get the same stuff I'd order online cheaper, why would I go online? Point is, I don't care how outdated his website is (the current one is only ~6 months old, the previous one hadn't change in YEARS and was pretty much useless outside of store hours and and outdated price catalog like you describe). Plus he offers loyalty rewards and basically every time I go in there (I usually go in and drop a few hundred $ once a month) I get a pretty huge discount as a result. Why would I go anywhere else?
 

Natdavis777

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My store has a point system. 1 point for every dollar spent. Each point is worth 5 cents. Brewing 10gal ~ 2 weeks and the misc stuff I pick up, it has paid for a batch more than once.
 
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I LOVE my LHBS! LOL...

But really man if you aren't happy talk to the owner, if they dont step up.....not your fault really! We have people come into my shop all the time and are BLOWN AWAY at our cheep as$ "local" pricing! I just tell them that it is a process and I couldn't have done it without their input! If the owner is eager they will make you happy. If not...Shop at my store online :) LOL

Cheers
Jay
 

rodwha

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Noggins: I've been to all three places while I lived in SA. I didn't care much for the store near downtown as he didn't take care of us (any many others according to reviews) the few times we went. His store is a mess and extremely unorganized, and his prices are high.

But we do like supporting local even if it does cost more, and so we'd make the long drive to the NE store. There store is well maintained and the staff there were exceedingly helpful. But one month it was just not goin to work out and so I placed an online order. I was overcharged for several items, and it states that they'll notify you if their standard shipping price won't work for your order. I never got that call. Talking to the guy who ran the store took a lot of time and patience. He didn't even know the cost of his items that were in question. I felt taken advantage of big time and went online.

And then they opened the store up on the NW side. I began going there for my crushed grains and any emergency needs. Nice guys there too.

I found better prices online. However I cannot buy just the amount of grains I need (which doesn't matter now that I have a mill). It's your $$$ to spend, but Homebrew Supply (despite the silly character) does you right if you go in the door. And maybe ordering online would work fine too. I only gave them the one chance after it took many calls and a lot of hassle to get the cost fixed somewhat (still charged higher shipping and overcharged by $1, but I just didn't care anymore at that point and washed my hands...).

Now I'm 45 mins away from Austin Homebrew Supply. I like their store and staff, but I hate the traffic. I use them in cases of emergency and I'll likely order my liquid yeast from them.

I've been using MoreBeer for a long time now, and they've done me very good. Prices are good and free shipping is what keeps me. Can't beat that!

Oh, and you can email your order to Homebrew Supply if you'd prefer. You can even have your order ready for pickup. Thought that was great!
 

Grannyknot

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My experience is that Online shops have either great prices or reasonable shipping costs, but never both.
Unless it is a massive bulk order or specialty equipment, I buy at my local shop.
 

rodwha

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@grannyknot: Maybe you ought to compare MoreBeer to what you are familiar with. Granted they only offer free shipping on orders over $59, but I wouldn't call that massive by any means.
 

hoppyhoppyhippo

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I live in a pretty decent sized city and am lucky enough to have 3 LHBS, one is even less than 5 minutes away, but I find myself more and more ordering from a semi-local online LHBS and amazon. 1 LHBS has no site of any kind, the other is outdated and only has a price sheet posted from 10 years ago with all kinds of outdated prices. I guess my reasoning is that any place that can't keep up with an online store isn't worth shopping at. I keep telling myself that if the store 5 min away would update their site I'd love to give them tons of money, but that's been going on for a while now(over 2 years?!?!). If I didn't have a budget and could just go buy whatever the f I wanted to I'd definitely shop locally exclusively....Am I a lazy snob or does anyone else share my opinion?
Well, I can tell you from seeing online handling, it isn't easy. If they're busy enough in store, they probably don't care about online. Maybe you should go in and ask them, see why they aren't doing it. THey could be just too busy to maintain the website.

I used to shop at LHBS when I lived near one. Where I"m at I can't now. The beauty of the LHBS is they're there if you need something. Say your yeast isn't active or something weird like that you can get it. For me it's usually "Damnit I broke another hydrometer"

I was blessed with living near one that was competitively priced with the big boys and had a good stock. Now I miss my LHBS and it's probably one of the reasons I brew less.
 

jrgtr42

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MY LHBS is a bit higher priced than some others, but they are convenient, they always do groupons, $15 for $30 of product, and when you factor in shipping from online, it ends up being more anyways.
 

Grannyknot

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@grannyknot: Maybe you ought to compare MoreBeer to what you are familiar with. Granted they only offer free shipping on orders over $59, but I wouldn't call that massive by any means.
I don't recall them having a free shipping option. I've shopped with them several times, but i'll have to look again.
 

Bandit-brewer

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I live so far in the deep north of Canada that LHBS don't exist. The closest one that ive heard of is 3.5 hours away in another province. The next one to that is 5 hours away. So I have to order online.
 

medicmike63

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Closest to me is 2 hrs away, another about 2.5 hrs, both are marginal stores. Mostly either mail order or wait until I can hit a larger city when traveling for work. I would rather spend my money locally with the advantage of seeing in person what I am spending my money on.
 
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noggins

noggins

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Maybe you should go in and ask them, see why they aren't doing it. THey could be just too busy to maintain the website.
I asked them and they said something along the lines of "our site got hacked a bunch of times so we've been working on getting it back up and running and wanna make it a better site with online ordering and..." I stopped listening at that point since the site's been down 3 years now and I sensed he was just spouting the same scripted reply he's said hundreds of times now.

It's not just that I'm a nerd and love a good website, and I'm on a strict budget so I need to know what I can get before I walk in a door, and even worse when a website has a 10 year old price list so I go in expecting to pay X and instead have to pay XXXX, and when the 10 year old prices match up with online stores which also offer free shipping so I feel like I've been cheated everytime I walk out of there...I think I'm starting to ramble.

I imagine I'll only ever go in there for CO2 refills and the occasional emergency purchase. Oh well.
 

hunter_le five

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I asked them and they said something along the lines of "our site got hacked a bunch of times so we've been working on getting it back up and running and wanna make it a better site with online ordering and..." I stopped listening at that point since the site's been down 3 years now and I sensed he was just spouting the same scripted reply he's said hundreds of times now.
You're talking about HBP, aren't you. :D
 
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noggins

noggins

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Trying not to directly call anyone out, but yeh it's pretty obvious.
 

hoppyhoppyhippo

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I asked them and they said something along the lines of "our site got hacked a bunch of times so we've been working on getting it back up and running and wanna make it a better site with online ordering and..." I stopped listening at that point since the site's been down 3 years now and I sensed he was just spouting the same scripted reply he's said hundreds of times now.

It's not just that I'm a nerd and love a good website, and I'm on a strict budget so I need to know what I can get before I walk in a door, and even worse when a website has a 10 year old price list so I go in expecting to pay X and instead have to pay XXXX, and when the 10 year old prices match up with online stores which also offer free shipping so I feel like I've been cheated everytime I walk out of there...I think I'm starting to ramble.

I imagine I'll only ever go in there for CO2 refills and the occasional emergency purchase. Oh well.
Maybe you should ask them about it. They may be willing to work something out if their prices are pretty far off Morebeer or another major site. They could of course tell you to bugger off as well.

I'm shocked they're spending the money on the site and not updating it cause of "hackers" that's a pretty weak excuse.
 

BrewerBrad82

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Im kind of spoiled living in the Twin Cities... There are two Northern Brewer stores, Midwest Supplies and a handful of smaller shops around. Luckily I never have to order anything online.
 
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noggins

noggins

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Quick update for any SA peeps, every time I go into HBP it makes me wanna go back again. Always have great service, they have exactly what I want, and I've bought several things that were cheaper than any online suppliers. Still overpriced on certain things(equipment) but overall a good place to shop. And good beer on tap! side note: I had my first taste of kombucha there today, I may have to give that a go soon.
 
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