Quantcast

So, how much (if any) money does brewing save?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

85 Haro Designs

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Messages
91
Reaction score
0
Location
Central PA
Forgive the newbie question but after plopping down a few bucks on various parts of my operation which, by the way, is no where near completion - I began to contemplate all the costs involved.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't get into homebrewing to save money.

I was just wondering if anyone ever compiled the costs involved in brewing a single beer. Obviously there is an infinate number of factors involved in this question but I'm talking about just an idea? You know, a "ballpark" figure.

Once you have all the equipment (equipment not to be included in the per-beer cost) what does the avg. pint cost you?
 

Orfy

For the love of beer!
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
11,732
Reaction score
115
Location
Cheshire, England
This gets asked once a month if not more often,
Snoop around and you'll find 100's of answers, many unique.
It depend if you want to save money or not.
If you want to you can. I do
Many others don't.

I even came up with a formula eons ago to answer the question for you.

It costs me any where from 10p to 30p per pint (UK) dependant what you cost in. (Gas, Electric, water, sanitiser, etc. )
 

howlinowl

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 25, 2007
Messages
265
Reaction score
1
Just brew and don't worry about it. Eventually, the old "labor" cost of brewing will come up, and everybody will get into a debate as to what your "labor" is worth brewing your own. Your "labor" cost will always blow your brewing cost out the window. Only way I can figure to lower the labor cost would be to brew bigger batches, as it probably takes just as long to brew 100 gallons as it would 10. But, since I can only "legally" brew 200 gallons a year here in the states, I'm not looking to limit myself to 2 styles of beer a year.

However, there have been many posts previously on how to save $$, yeast washing, ect. that would make cents (sense, heh, I made a funny) incorporating into your brewing.

Allan
 

howlinowl

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 25, 2007
Messages
265
Reaction score
1
oh, yeah.... not only your labor, but the electricity of running another refrigeration unit (kegerator, fridge or freezer conversion) vs sticking a sixer of a little sumthin' sumthin' in an already exsisting refrigerator in the house.

Allan
 

boo boo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
4,164
Reaction score
45
Location
Hearts's Delight, Newfoundland
Price of a local BMC 12 pack beer.....$21

Price of a 12 pack of homebrew.........$10 ( with everything factored in )

Look on my face after someone tells me my brews are great....PRICELESS
 

Bigfoot

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
49
Reaction score
0
Location
Aurora, IL
I don't think I save any money....LOL. Always buying some new gadget to try out.
 

Jonnio

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2007
Messages
1,489
Reaction score
10
For me any money I save is secondary to being able to get good beer. People that live in areas with 500000 craft breweries don't have to worry about that portion, but here in AL we are extremely limited on the beers we can purchase.

For the dollar factor it cost me $35 for a 5 gal batch or so (I consider my weekend time free because I tend to flit it away on video games or something else useless if I have it). I was paying $6-$9 a 6 pack, so yeah, I save some money too.
 

5 Is Not Enough

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2007
Messages
463
Reaction score
6
Location
Erie, PA
I estimate I'll only need to brew about 800 gallons to amortize my equipment costs and come out in the black;)
 

bluechip101

Active Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
42
Reaction score
0
Location
Clarksville, TN
I figured it to out to be about $2-4 for 6-pk Homebrew depending on gravity opposed to $7-9 store bought (excluding race car beer). I don't really care because I love to brew and enjoy my own beer, but it sure helps get the Missus off your back to tell them how much money all this mess around the house saves. Haha.
 

Joker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2007
Messages
1,951
Reaction score
36
Location
Orygun
The way I figure it you can add in labor. I mean come on this is a hobby. Do you charge yourself by the hour when you go fishing? :fro:
 

32indian

Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2005
Messages
21
Reaction score
2
Location
St. Peters, Missouri
bluechip101 said:
it sure helps get the Missus off your back to tell them how much money all this mess around the house saves. Haha.
:mug: That makes it all worth while to me! My wife Thinks I'm saving a ton of money. I'll let her think that for the rest of time.........for I love the hobby and I love the beer I make!!! :tank:
 

CodeRage

Death by Magumba!
Joined
Aug 22, 2007
Messages
2,214
Reaction score
67
Location
Melbourne, Fl
What ever money you save you will spend on more homebrew. So none, at least for me.
 

Fingers

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2007
Messages
4,178
Reaction score
48
Location
Lac du Bonnet
homebrewer_99 said:
I spend about $17 for a batch of Hefe Weizen. I get 37 1/2 liter bottles.
If I spent $2 on each that would come out to $74.

74 - 17 = $57 saved. ;)
And there it is. I calculated about the same, but for really cheap beer. All alcohol is heavily taxed in Canada. So if I save about $50 per batch, the more I brew the quicker I'll recover my capital costs. And if I drink a batch every two weeks, I can alternate spending $50 on beer ingredients and equipment, respectively, every payday, without losing money. Of course I drink more now that I have homebrew, but we won't factor that in.
 

BrewFrick

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
Messages
251
Reaction score
4
Well lets just do it simply. Can you get 2 and a half cases of beer as good as homebrew done right for around the $30-$40 most people spend on a 5 gallon batch? I really don't think so.
 

Sir Humpsalot

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2006
Messages
3,996
Reaction score
93
Cost is comparable to buying beer at a liquor store, but it's FAR cheaper than the bars. I go to the bar less now that I brew my own beer. Part of that is snobbery, part of it is that now I can invite people over and give them a real treat!

I generally spend less than $40 a month in bars now. I used to spend twice that each week. I'm drinking about the same amount.
 

Brett0424

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2008
Messages
265
Reaction score
1
Location
dallas, tx
1. depends on the types of beer you drink/like
2.for me it's about half the cost.
3.it's a hobby...by participating in a hobby that produces something you already buy you are saving a lot...you are essentially paying nothing if you consider the fact that if you weren't homebrewing you'd have some other hobby and still be buying beer....building cars is expensive and usually requires buying beer....
 
OP
8

85 Haro Designs

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Messages
91
Reaction score
0
Location
Central PA
I appreciate the info. I really didn't expect to save money homebrewing but wondered if anyone ever quantified it to actually see. I'm a very analytical person so it's just how I think and I can't change that about me.

I'll be watching and documenting my costs because I enjoy that aspect as well. I'll post some of my results as they come in, maybe someone else with similar interests will find it noteworthy.

Until then, it's brewing time and I need more equipment and supplies.
 

budbo

Beer is good
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 6, 2006
Messages
2,294
Reaction score
21
Location
La Plata, MD
Since going AG, If you subtract out the cost of the equipment, I get 2.5 cases for $15-$25 Depending on style, (I reuse my White Labs yeast so get about 5+ batches per vial, Have yet to have my hold back not make a new starter)

The Cheapest place to Get Sam Adams around here is $22 a case or $7.99 a 6 pack, Craft beers run $7.50- $9.00 a sixer. So I will potentially save a bunch once I've recouped the equipment cost which is about 2.5 times more than a good set of golf clubs, at an average price of $35-$50 Green fees twice a week I keep SWMBO at bay mentioning the lack of green fees and bar priced beer on weekends and Brewing keeps me home.
 

howlinowl

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 25, 2007
Messages
265
Reaction score
1
I don't worry about the labor thing, like my post previously, the labor thing would blow your costs way out of the water. This is a hobby. Lots of folks around here have boats, and take them out sportfishing. Sure they eat the fish they catch, but it's the same argument, maybe even worse. Once you factor in the boat payment, insurance on boat, gas for the tow vehicle to drag it out to the water and back home, gas for boat, labor dragging boat to and from water, planting in in and out of the water, piloting boat to fishing spot and back, and the actual fishing itself, cost of bait, beer..... how much do they save on fish when I can go to the market and pick one up???

However, I do try to cut my costs wherever I can. Right now, I'm planning on ordering supplies for producing 2 batches. I can get the Pale malt in 55lbs bags way cheaper than ordering pale by the pound. I'm also going to start washing my yeast, instead of ordering new yeast for each batch..

And, if you want to get real anal (like me), once you get your cost figured out, start charging yourself for beer. I have a Budweiser bottle bank on top of my kegerator... when I order supplies, I take the $$ from that, after I am done, I "sell" the beer back to myself and put one and a half times the $$ back in. The "profit" that I get I use to buy equipment. Right now I'm saving up to purchase a malt mill (ordering my malt crushed right now), which will further my saving on supplies, (but would increase my labor cost IF I were factoring that in, but I don't). After the mill, profit will probably be used to build a mount and motor drive for the mill, or maybe more corneys, or multi-faucet towers for the kegerator.....the list goes on.

Besides, I kinda view it as a luxury item. After all, I do have my own brewery, producing beer just for me, in any style that I wish, served from my own kegerator. How many folks can say that?

Allan
 

Mike C

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Messages
48
Reaction score
6
I calculated it out very roughly, and at my level of experience and with the ingredients I use I'm looking at about ~$5/six pack. This is because I'm doing extract kits and buying yeast; also I have not factored in any equipment cost at all, nor do I intend to. :)

This is still cheaper than a sixer of BMC, but not by much. I expect that as I start to reuse yeast and then eventually go to AG and start buying ingredients in bulk that my costs will scale nicely.

Still. When was the last time anyone was able to buy a sixer of any kind of an IPA or Smoked Porter for only $5, let alone anything good? Maybe $7 at Bevmo if you're lucky. That's good value there; plus brewing keeps me off the streets. :)
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
24,829
Reaction score
3,503
Location
Whitehouse Station
We already beat this subject to death but I might as well make the same argument here because I'm a glutton for punishment. Homebrewing is a hobby for sure. We don't do it to save money. We do it for a number of other reasons.

If you want to bring up fishing as an analogy, you have to keep the original question in mind. It would be something like, "I like Tuna but it's pretty expensive and I was thinking of getting a boat and some rods to catch my own. Would it save me some money". Obviously the answer is no. The commercial fishing industry has economy of scale and you can buy tuna for much less than it would cost you to do it yourself. The typical counter arguement here would be something like, "yeah, but I really enjoy boating and fishing so......". Ok, that wasn't part of the original question. If it's something you enjoy, you can't put a price on it.

Summary:
1. If you are already going to be brewing, there are ways to be as cost conscious as possible. Most brewers don't go this way and continue upgrading which offsets any savings involved.

2. If you are NOT already interested in brewing and your only goal is to reduce your beer costs, homebrewing is really not the way to do that.
 

Beerthoven

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
2,173
Reaction score
38
Location
Cary, NC
On a typical all grain batch I save between $0.50 and $1.00 per bottle if I only count money spent.

Factoring in the value of my time, its costing me something like $5 per bottle in reality.

It's worth it.
 

McCall St. Brewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2005
Messages
1,172
Reaction score
4
Location
West Monroe, Louisiana
My two cents on this is that it is not a math problem.

You probably will not save any money on homebrewing unless one or more of the following is true:

1. The homebrew you made and drink replaces some or all of the commercial beer/wine/liquor you would otherwise have purchased from liquor stores and bars.

2. You don't drink six times as much as before just because it's good, convenient and cheap. (Been there/done that myself).

3. Homebrewing tends to replace other hobbies that you would otherwise be spending money on.
 

TexLaw

Here's Lookin' Atcha!
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 19, 2007
Messages
3,673
Reaction score
36
Location
Houston, Texas
If you bought your first bit of equipment and never bought anything else, you'd save plenty of money. Do much of anything else, and you won't save a thing. :) It's a hobby, and that's the way hobbies work.

For example, a friend recently gave me an old CO2 bottle that came from his family's old soft drink distributorship. "That's quite a generous gift," I thought. "Now, I have a spare!" Yeah, a spare. Instead of a spare, I started thinking "now, I can expand!" After another $600, I have an additional chest freezer, Ranco controller, regulator with three way dispensing manifold, and another CO2 bottle ('cause I gotta have a spare now).

You don't save a thing. :)


TL
 

homebrewer_99

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Messages
19,578
Reaction score
1,193
Location
I-80, Exit 27 (near the Quad Cities)
Some good comments above...;)

I buy bulk DME and wash my yeast so there's a savings there.

I don't go out to bars unless I'm on a busines trip.

I also do 99% of my drinking at home. I find that I actually drink less at home.
 

Lil' Sparky

Cowboys EAC
Joined
Feb 6, 2006
Messages
3,952
Reaction score
91
Location
Honolulu, HI
I'm amazed that this subject receives this much attention. I don't have any other hobbies I think of even remotely in these terms.
 

5 Is Not Enough

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2007
Messages
463
Reaction score
6
Location
Erie, PA
Lil' Sparky said:
I'm amazed that this subject receives this much attention. I don't have any other hobbies I think of even remotely in these terms.
Most hobbies don't produce something you would otherwise purchase.

I don't think many people get into brewing thinking - "I'm going to save money" but once you're already there, why not consider the economic value?
 

howlinowl

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 25, 2007
Messages
265
Reaction score
1
TexLaw said:
If you bought your first bit of equipment and never bought anything else, you'd save plenty of money. Do much of anything else, and you won't save a thing. :) It's a hobby, and that's the way hobbies work.

For example, a friend recently gave me an old CO2 bottle that came from his family's old soft drink distributorship. "That's quite a generous gift," I thought. "Now, I have a spare!" Yeah, a spare. Instead of a spare, I started thinking "now, I can expand!" After another $600, I have an additional chest freezer, Ranco controller, regulator with three way dispensing manifold, and another CO2 bottle ('cause I gotta have a spare now).

You don't save a thing. :)


TL
I hear ya there. I was looking for a spare CO2 bottle on craigslist last year. Instead, I found a half barrel kegerator (Beverage Aire BM23C) with the CO2 cylinder for 75 bucks.... heck, the bottles worth that!! I thought. So I picked it up, figuring that I'd keep the bottle, and sell the kegerator if it was worth anything, if not, I'd part it out, selling the faucet column and recycling any metal. Well, it didn't get cold, compressor and fans run. Leak check it, bad condenser coil. Order the coil and Capillary tube (thin tube that runs from the condenser coil to the evaporator, acts as a metering device) since I had the system opened and they sometimes plug up. Replace those parts and the high side dryer. Since I was fixing it, why not spruce it up? Repaint the underside, inside and replace the front casters.....Well, now I got more into it than what I can get out of it, so I kept it. Mind you, I already have a True 3 keg two tower kegerator in the house, so this one is being used for fermentation in the garage and on the back patio for dispensing on special occasions (BBQs and such in the back yard).

Allan
 

Lil' Sparky

Cowboys EAC
Joined
Feb 6, 2006
Messages
3,952
Reaction score
91
Location
Honolulu, HI
5 Is Not Enough said:
Most hobbies don't produce something you would otherwise purchase.

I don't think many people get into brewing thinking - "I'm going to save money" but once you're already there, why not consider the economic value?
Maybe that's why I've spent so damn much on this hobby, just like any other. There's no way I'll ever brew enough to recover the cost of what I've invested. If it was just about being cheap, I would've stuck to a bucket-in-bucket MLT, turkey fryer, and IC. Gotta always try to make it bigger, better, neater, though.
 

budbo

Beer is good
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 6, 2006
Messages
2,294
Reaction score
21
Location
La Plata, MD
Beerthoven said:
On a typical all grain batch I save between $0.50 and $1.00 per bottle if I only count money spent.

Factoring in the value of my time, its costing me something like $5 per bottle in reality.

It's worth it.
Factoring in time is kinda useless on a hobby. It would only be accurate if someone were going to pay you to make beer.

If I were taking time off work without pay to brew then time would become a factor and the cost of the beer would jump from $8-$10 up to over $150 a case considering a 6 hour brew day (including prep)..But then no one is going to pay me the same rate I get at work to brew beer, so my time on Brew day is worth nothing as it is free time I choose to use for brewing
 

Bosh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
1,055
Reaction score
227
Location
Seoul
It depends a lot on what sort of commercial beer you're comparing it to and how much equipment you buy.

I have almost zero equipment so price wise my stuff is about the same as the local crap and about 1/3 the price of imports. I'm happy with that.
 

MashStirBrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
188
Reaction score
2
Location
Dav. IA
A typical micro-brew locally is $4 a pint, you do the math. And if I figured time and money invested in my other hobbies like fishing, I would probably sit at home and watch Al Linder catch fish on TV while I eat a lb of Walleye I bought at the market for $5. A guys gotta have toys regardless of expense. Making beer is like a big boys chemistry set. The only thing I worry about is SWMBO sending me to AA or starting an HBA chapter (Home Brewers Anonymous).
 

grasshopper1917

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2007
Messages
435
Reaction score
15
Location
Halifax, Nova Scotia
I think I have a good answer to this - the definitive answer.

If your in Canada yes you can save considerablly.

In the USA you can save a little.

Other countries - I dont know :p


In Canada for a 24 case of commercial beer its 37.99 - Microbrewed about 11.50 for a 6 pack. It costs me 25 - 30 dollars to make about 55 bottles. So for me I do save money and have some fun at the same time - win win situation.
 

homebrewer_99

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Messages
19,578
Reaction score
1,193
Location
I-80, Exit 27 (near the Quad Cities)
grasshopper1917 said:
I think I have a good answer to this - the definitive answer.

If your in Canada yes you can save considerablly.

In the USA you can save a little.

Other countries - I dont know :p


In Canada for a 24 case of commercial beer its 37.99 - Microbrewed about 11.50 for a 6 pack. It costs me 25 - 30 dollars to make about 55 bottles. So for me I do save money and have some fun at the same time - win win situation.
I know it really depends on too many variables, but I KNOW that drinking at home can save your time and $$$ by not getting a DUI also...:drunk:
 
Top