Question for home brew store owners, past and present - where to buy grain bins? best online website and/or store?

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Christoff

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I opening a home brew store (low maintenance, more of a membership community thing). Where did you buy your grain bins? I have found a couple and they are outrageously expensive.

Secondarily, what online store or website host do you use? I am in chatbot hell and am getting no where with their AI programs and apparently no company has customer service people until you actually purchase a product. Even then, those "people" are no where to be found and never respond to emails. For obvious reasons, if I can't get technical help now, I don't want to waste anymore time or money because I doubt it gets much better after they have your money. They don't even have sales people anymore. Clover was ok, at least the initial phone conversation but they ignored me for a month after I had questions and you still need to find a website. Do you have any recommendations for a website with a store or for just a simple site with a list of products?

Any help is greatly appreciated.
 
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Grain bins?
Food grade "garbage cans" for 3 sacks storage, your every day base malts.
80LB vittles vaults for low volume base malts and high volume specialties (Munich, Carapils)
Large cereal bins for low volume specialties (Victory, Biscuit).

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Website host? Probably anything you choose will want to make you jump off a bridge. You'll pay too much in fees and they won't help you when things break.

It seems like Shopify is the current winner if you are primarily ecommerce focused, but maybe something like Square or Paypal would be better if brick and mortar is more important. I can't really help more here because I don't want to be remotely associated with the one business thing that is always painful.
 
Grain bins?
Food grade "garbage cans" for 3 sacks storage, your every day base malts.
80LB vittles vaults for low volume base malts and high volume specialties (Munich, Carapils)
Large cereal bins for low volume specialties (Victory, Biscuit).



Website host? Probably anything you choose will want to make you jump off a bridge. You'll pay too much in fees and they won't help you when things break.

It seems like Shopify is the current winner if you are primarily ecommerce focused, but maybe something like Square or Paypal would be better if brick and mortar is more important. I can't really help more here because I don't want to be remotely associated with the one business thing that is always painful.
Thank you!
 
Website host? Probably anything you choose will want to make you jump off a bridge. You'll pay too much in fees and they won't help you when things break.

It seems like Shopify is the current winner if you are primarily ecommerce focused, but maybe something like Square or Paypal would be better if brick and mortar is more important. I can't really help more here because I don't want to be remotely associated with the one business thing that is always painful.
I was pretty certain that would be the response. I can't understand why anyone give them money, it really is that bad. I don't either. My bank has a relationship with clover and they help a little bit. But I have heard bad things about clover too. I think all these website hosting, builder, ecommerce companies have collectively decided they can increase profits by being equally terrible and having no staff. Unless you want to spend $5000 for someone to build it all for you.
 
I opening a home brew store (low maintenance, more of a membership community thing). Where did you buy your grain bins? I have found a couple and they are outrageously expensive.

Secondarily, what online store or website host do you use? I am in chatbot hell and am getting no where with their AI programs and apparently no company has customer service people until you actually purchase a product. Even then, those "people" are no where to be found and never respond to emails. For obvious reasons, if I can't get technical help now, I don't want to waste anymore time or money because I doubt it gets much better after they have your money. They don't even have sales people anymore. Clover was ok, at least the initial phone conversation but they ignored me for a month after I had questions and you still need to find a website. Do you have any recommendations for a website with a store or for just a simple site with a list of products?

Any help is greatly appreciated.
Throw in a plug , I’ll support any effort to help a home brew supplier. I can get grain cheaper online but I will go out of my way to help support a local or fellow brewer of this forum.
 
Throw in a plug , I’ll support any effort to help a home brew supplier. I can get grain cheaper online but I will go out of my way to help support a local or fellow brewer of this forum.
I am trying to figure out how to make it compete or cost less than the online big conglomerates but I hope the locals here will have your same opinion of it. I do. We had a store here and it shut down so I know there is support.
 
I wish I "only" paid $5000. I launched the current version of my site in 2014 and this discussion caused me to do the math. Thanks for that by the way ;-) $102,000 over 10 years in website fees. That's not including fees to collect payment (another 2.2% on average).
Sigh, sorry too bring attention to it? lol That does not surprise me. It would be one thing if they provided help with the website, but everything I have read and found out myself is that there is no such thing as customer service. just chatbots these days.
 
Start now and try to compete with the big boys? The big boys are having trouble selling in this market. I'd open an ice store in Antarctica before trying a new venture in homebrewing. I'd only recommend doing it on a very local level keeping your costs extremely tight, at least until things turn around (if they do).
My revenue is down 60% from the peak in 2018.
 
Sucks to hear. Web development and hosting is complex and costs quite a bit. They have you over a barrel as the folks that are 'in know' are few and far between and you need the service. So you are stuck. Can an all-local homebrew supply store work in your area with just a basic website? Might be an angle & skip all of the heavy web stuff/e commerce.
 
Start now and try to compete with the big boys? The big boys are having trouble selling in this market. I'd open an ice store in Antarctica before trying a new venture in homebrewing. I'd only recommend doing it on a very local level keeping your costs extremely tight, at least until things turn around (if they do).
My revenue is down 60% from the peak in 2018.
I'm sorry to hear about your situation, but glad you are willing to give advice. No decent emoji's for that.
 
Sucks to hear. Web development and hosting is complex and costs quite a bit. They have you over a barrel as the folks that are 'in know' are few and far between and you need the service. So you are stuck. Can an all-local homebrew supply store work in your area with just a basic website? Might be an angle & skip all of the heavy web stuff/e commerce.
That's what I am hoping. I know there is a market here and I am not sure I need much of a website. The previous department store (that had a small section of the store brewing equipment, ingredients) never did advertising and had no website. Just have to find the right hosting site and get the word out.
 
In that case most of what you need is free on Google maps. If you want to register a domain to publish basic information and make it look more legit, you can do that with a wordpress enabled host (all of them have it). You may have to pay someone to setup the pages if you don't want to learn how to use wordpress, but it's so easy that it would take a pro about an hour total if you supply all the assets.
 
how much grain you talking about? will it be stored in temperature humidity controlled room? What is the turn over rate of usage? How many varieties of grain?

If in temp/humidity controlled environment i would just build plywood bins with a nice pour for bulk grains (pour onto portable scale), specialty grains could be buckets.

If you already have a market word of mouth advertising is the cheapest. A mail order side of things might be the hardest part to compete with.
 
In that case most of what you need is free on Google maps. If you want to register a domain to publish basic information and make it look more legit, you can do that with a wordpress enabled host (all of them have it). You may have to pay someone to setup the pages if you don't want to learn how to use wordpress, but it's so easy that it would take a pro about an hour total if you supply all the assets.
the basic site is the back up. I was hoping there might be some key to figuring this out or one I hadn't heard of would be recommended. I am having trouble finding a good store to lease, everything is either to big or too expensive, so online sales with delivery is what I was thinking. But I can't fathom spending this kind of time figuring it out and everyone i have talked to says there are problems with most of the big ones I am aware of, not to mention cost. Thanks for the info with wordpress. I have started looking into so glad to have it confirmed as a good option.
 
how much grain you talking about? will it be stored in temperature humidity controlled room? What is the turn over rate of usage? How many varieties of grain?

If in temp/humidity controlled environment i would just build plywood bins with a nice pour for bulk grains (pour onto portable scale), specialty grains could be buckets.

If you already have a market word of mouth advertising is the cheapest. A mail order side of things might be the hardest part to compete with.
If I can find a decent store space, hopefully temperature controlled. As for amout of grain, 1,000-1500 lbs or so on hand at any give month. Base malt bins will obviously be bigger and only hold a bag at a time. Decent turnover if sales continue the way it did
 
Start now and try to compete with the big boys? The big boys are having trouble selling in this market. I'd open an ice store in Antarctica before trying a new venture in homebrewing. I'd only recommend doing it on a very local level keeping your costs extremely tight, at least until things turn around (if they do).
My revenue is down 60% from the peak in 2018.
I wish you were my LHBS! Hope things get going again.
 
That's what I am hoping. I know there is a market here and I am not sure I need much of a website. The previous department store (that had a small section of the store brewing equipment, ingredients) never did advertising and had no website. Just have to find the right hosting site and get the word out.
Personally, I feel like a homebrew shop with very limited online presence is a recipe for disaster. I like that my local shop has an online catalog. As I plan my recipe and trip to the store, I know if they have the items I am looking for in stock, or I can plan my changes. Sometimes I place an order online, and just swing buy to pick it up.

If you don't have online ordering, I would strongly suggest you at least try to have an online inventory list that gets updated once a day. I lot of people turn to online because they are frustrated with the service from their local shops. Why make a hour round trip just to find that half the items you wanted were out of stock vs spending less online to have all your items show up at your door in 2 days?

I am not sure what the recipe is for a successful homebrew store, but I suspect it is a lot more than just having shelves of brewing supplies. The ones around me still open do stuff like host competitions, send out monthly newsletters, host homebrew clubs, tap room with pizza/sandwiches, craft beer sales, CO2 tank swaps/refills, etc. One was expanding into marijuana grow supplies (though I think he scaled that back).
 
My LHBS is actually a (mostly organic) gardening shop with a homebrewing appendage. There is a small craft brewery next door. They're not actually affiliated but they do cooperate, especially on events. They recently co-hosted a local craft brew festival for instance. Unfortunately, we were out of town that weekend.
 
Personally, I feel like a homebrew shop with very limited online presence is a recipe for disaster. I like that my local shop has an online catalog. As I plan my recipe and trip to the store, I know if they have the items I am looking for in stock, or I can plan my changes. Sometimes I place an order online, and just swing buy to pick it up.

If you don't have online ordering, I would strongly suggest you at least try to have an online inventory list that gets updated once a day. I lot of people turn to online because they are frustrated with the service from their local shops. Why make a hour round trip just to find that half the items you wanted were out of stock vs spending less online to have all your items show up at your door in 2 days?

I am not sure what the recipe is for a successful homebrew store, but I suspect it is a lot more than just having shelves of brewing supplies. The ones around me still open do stuff like host competitions, send out monthly newsletters, host homebrew clubs, tap room with pizza/sandwiches, craft beer sales, CO2 tank swaps/refills, etc. One was expanding into marijuana grow supplies (though I think he scaled that back).

The challenge is putting the investment in to get ecommerce up and running. In 2018 it was worth it.
 
Personally, I feel like a homebrew shop with very limited online presence is a recipe for disaster. I like that my local shop has an online catalog. As I plan my recipe and trip to the store, I know if they have the items I am looking for in stock, or I can plan my changes. Sometimes I place an order online, and just swing buy to pick it up.

If you don't have online ordering, I would strongly suggest you at least try to have an online inventory list that gets updated once a day. I lot of people turn to online because they are frustrated with the service from their local shops. Why make a hour round trip just to find that half the items you wanted were out of stock vs spending less online to have all your items show up at your door in 2 days?

I am not sure what the recipe is for a successful homebrew store, but I suspect it is a lot more than just having shelves of brewing supplies. The ones around me still open do stuff like host competitions, send out monthly newsletters, host homebrew clubs, tap room with pizza/sandwiches, craft beer sales, CO2 tank swaps/refills, etc. One was expanding into marijuana grow supplies (though I think he scaled that back).
I get that. The homebrew "store" I am trying to replace had zero online presence and did alright. I am hoping to get something going online but I'd rather not open it if I have to deal with wix, shopify, square or any other greedy company that refuses to hire actual people. The old store, which was just a corner of a department store, was pretty old school. I will be far more engaging but, as the name demonstrates (DirtBag Brewing Supply) it's going to be super low maintenance so prices can reflect that. I definitely appreciate the input, and I agree, some online presence with inventory will be important. I plan on doing farmer's markets, events, etc. Selling booze is far more complicated than selling grain, but you never know.
 
In that case most of what you need is free on Google maps. If you want to register a domain to publish basic information and make it look more legit, you can do that with a wordpress enabled host (all of them have it). You may have to pay someone to setup the pages if you don't want to learn how to use wordpress, but it's so easy that it would take a pro about an hour total if you supply all the assets.
Thanks for the conversation! I appreciate it. If you're curious, feel free to check it out. You helped me commit to wordpress. It ended up a blog page, but oh well. I'll figure out how to change it.

If anyone is interested or wants to give me feedback, I am open for any ideas. dirtbagbrewingsupply.com
 
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