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Washington RIP Homebrew Heaven (Everett)

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mitchard

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This was posted on their site today:

"After 22 years of serving the brewing community, Homebrew Heaven has decided to close the store due to market changes and other opportunities."

Apparently their last day will be July 23rd. And the are offering a 25% discount on everything until the 9th, 35% from the 10th to 16th, and 50% from the 17th to 23rd.

Pretty sad to see another store go, especially since its my main go-to. Have a few friends that work there too, which makes it even worse to hear.

This leaves a pretty huge gap in supply for the entire area. Nothing between Micro in Kenmore and NW Brewers Supply in Burlington now.

:(
 

seatazzz

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Geez, another one? That's sad. I've been to Micro in Kenmore, nice shop. Down here in the South end we've still got Sound Homebrew (expensive), Beer Essentials (fun trip to Lakewood), and Jon's in Puyallup; I want to give Jon my business since I knew him from Larry's but Beer Essentials currently has a bit better selection. I know Jon's will expand as more people start going there. May have to make a day trip up to Everett to check out the sale.
 

tochsner

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Homebrew Heaven was my first shop when I started brewing. Over the years I have been to them all. It is very sad that three of the oldest shops in the area have closed recently.

Full disclosure, I own Micro Homebrew. We have been open almost 4 years and we are seeing customers that started with us now not brewing much anymore. Being relatively new, we are still growing but I wonder what we could do better.

What would you like to see from your local shop?
How can we as a shop and you as brewers bring more people into the hobby?

Cheers!

Tony Ochsner
Micro Homebrew
 
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Tony, I am one of your customers though I don't think we've ever met. I switched to your shop shortly before Mountain went out of business. You were a little closer to home, but had a much bigger variety of hops and I think a better selection of grain. You have more equipment also, but I am at that phase in the hobby where I rarely need to buy hardware any more.

> What would you like to see from your local shop?

I would like to see more club-like activities at the shop, like a homebrew tasting/critique event. To advance in the hobby I need to meet more people, try their beer, and get comments on my beer. Maybe the shop can outright host/sponsor a new club, but there may already be adequate club coverage of our area. I'm not sure. (When I have looked at this directory most of the nearby clubs appear to be dead, though cascadebrewersguild is apparently alive and has had meetings at your store.)

I would like it if your web page had an event calendar. I know you do things at the shop but I don't use Facebook, if that is where they are discussed. If there is a calendar, please copy it to the web site. I'd also sign up for a mailing list if you had one.

The only gripe I have about your shop is the yeast selection. I wish it was bigger, though I know if I plan ahead you can get what I need. I realize yeast is perishable and you are trying to find the right balance.

I also would prefer it if you carried the more inexpensive Wyeast/White Labs versions of things that you now only have in Imperial. I'd rather have $4-5 back in my pocket than an extra 100B cells.

> How can we as a shop and you as brewers bring more people into the hobby?

To get more people into the hobby, maybe the shop can put on a "learn to brew" event. This is a half-baked idea but it would be something like this:


  • Interested people sign up, show up
  • People watch as staff/patron volunteers do an on-site brew demo. Do an AG demo, but when you get to the boil step, discuss extract too. Let people taste the ingredients and smell the hops. Let people use a hydrometer and refractometer.
  • Brew process can be radically shortened -- mash for 10 minutes while talking about enzymes. Demo hop additions without waiting for a real boil, etc. Run an immersion chiller for just a few minutes, not 30. Show how to make a yeast starter, but don't go through the boil/chill step.
  • Maybe you can even do it without a heat source and chiller water. Just seeing the parts in use, even if they are not live, will be illuminating.
  • After the "wort" is put in a fermenter for demo purposes, demo the bare essentials of bottling and kegging.
  • Make the whole thing take 45-60 minutes.
  • Unveil the bottles/kegs that have THE SAME BREWS READY TO DRINK. Do tastings. Look guys, you can make this and it's good!
  • Ta da, all the fun of brewing with none of the work.
  • Attendees get some kind of deal on newbie equipment packages.
  • Give out the recipes, equipment lists, link to Palmer's free book, maybe sell the book at a discount for the event.

To reactivate lapsed brewers, maybe you can identify the pain points that chased them away, and develop plans to address them with workshops and sales. I suspect there are 2 big issues... One, your beer might suck because you don't have temperature controlled fermentation. There are inexpensive and "Cadillac" options to demo and sell there. Two, bottling is a pain in the ass, so you can demo kegging and sell a starter kit. Of course, reaching the lapser brewers is its own challenge.
 

seatazzz

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Tony, I was at your shop a few months ago when I was at a bowling tournament at Kenmore Lanes. Loved your shop, wish I lived closer (I'm way down here in Southeast King County) as your prices are great as well as your selection. I wish you luck and will be back there next time I'm in the area!
 

dwightr8

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Wow! Just heard the news. I'm shocked. HBH has been my shop since I started brewing over 20 years ago. I live near Redmond but would drive to Everett whenever I needed supplies. Luckily I recently discovered a new shop in Redmond (Brewhouse Provisions). I've been in there a couple of times and never seen anybody else there. Don't know how they can stay in business but for the time being, since they are close to home, I will be doing business with them. One good thing is they are right across the parking lot from Mac & Jacks!
 

tvissoc

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Well, dang. I've only ever shopped once with Homebrew Heaven when I was building a recipe and wanted a supplier with most of the grains I was looking for and in small quantities. Maybe it was a specific hop they carried that I needed? I don't remember, but .... dang.
 
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