WARNING: If You Do Not Support Your LHBS It Will Close.

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by plaztikjezuz, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (408) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    AB has brewed small-batch beers on and off for a long time. Back mid 2005- 2006 or so they had an IPA they called Hop Demon, 3 - 4 years ago they did a mix pack from each of their brewerys released regionally. I met a couple of their brewers at a beer fest a few yeasr ago, and they said that most of the brewers (at least in Merrimack) are really craft guys, they just work there for the paycheck and get experience in the field. Said most of them homebrew.
    LuskusDelph and hopfenunmaltz like this.
  2. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,353) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Mitch Steele worked at the Merrimack brewery before Stone.

    ABI brews top fermented beers at a couple of their breweries, Fort Collins comes to mind.
    LuskusDelph and SFACRKnight like this.
  3. brunascle

    brunascle Initiate (40) Nov 4, 2010 Massachusetts

    I owe my hobby to my LHBS. It started with a gifted Groupon for a beginner's kit and intro class there. I really lucked out too, they have a great selection, decent prices, and it's only 5-10 mins away. I get all my grain and yeast there, plus some odds and ends. Frequently used hops I buy in bulk online, and I shop around for more expensive equipment.

    I am a bit concerned about the store's sustainability. It seems like there's been a downtick in customers lately, and given the size and selection, I'm not sure how profitable it is.
  4. wasatchback

    wasatchback Disciple (302) Jan 12, 2014 Utah
    Beer Trader

    This x1000. It is the state of retail globally. It's natural selection. The internet ain't going away and it has raised the level of competition. The retailers that sit on their a** and do the same sh** they've always done will go away, plain and simple. It would be the same if an awesome brick and mortar store moved in across the street and offered a different more improved experience. The crappy Brick and Mortar stores always complain that it's about price and they're the ones that will be extinct. The ones that get it and offer top notch service and an educated staff will thrive and will be even more successful when their local competition disappears. People will gladly pay more for superior service, it's proven.

    I buy all my yeast, 95% of my grain, and more and more of my hops from my LHBS. I do purchase some things online but they're things my LHBS store would have a hard time getting and probably wouldn't be worth it for them to order it for me. They're 30 minutes away but I often make trips down there and back just to buy small items. They started a rewards program as well and I got a ton of free hops the other day with it. There are three shops roughly the same distance from my house. I've started only going to one cause everyone is super helpful and just fun to interact with. The other store I used to frequent has employees that are jaded and if I had a dollar for every time I'd heard them start a sentence with "well I'm lazy so this is how I do it...."

    Suppport your LHBS if they offer what you need and want not just because they're simply there.
    corbmoster likes this.
  5. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (2,189) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Premium Member

    Each of the three LHBS that I have used also have another product line that provides most of the profit -- two are breweries (Bell's, which is 30 minutes away and Dark Horse, a 15 minute drive), and one is also a bottle shop (Siciliano's), so that is probably the only way the local shops can survive. I have not used an online store because who doesn't want to go to Bell's or Dark Horse and have a beer while making the trip.
  6. pants678

    pants678 Crusader (790) Jan 26, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    ME: What is acid malt exactly?
    HIM: It's acid malt.
    ME: Oh I see.

    Also, after under pitching yeast, I literally had a guy yell at me, "Why don't you read a fucking book!" I don't want to paint them all as pricks or under-educated, I do want to echo that the onus is on them to keep their shop alive. I do one-gallon batches exclusively and when I brew on a whim, they're great for that. It's fun to drop off a sample and get suggestions for the next iteration. I like getting a smell of the hops before I commit to them. But online I can find a wider selection and up to date info from, often times, more affable people.
    corbmoster likes this.
  7. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (740) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    I'm wondering how many LHBSs have an internet presence now...just cause you're local doesn't mean you can't sell regionally.
    billandsuz and Mothergoose03 like this.
  8. Behlal

    Behlal Initiate (112) Dec 21, 2016 Illinois

    There are three semi local stores to me all approximately 45 minutes away so I rarely use them but one already has online ordering where they'll pull it and youxjist have to come in and pick it up and are working on adding delivery.

    They seem semi knowledgeable but I've also heard things from them that have made me go question there actual knowledge
  9. Granitebeard

    Granitebeard Initiate (158) Aug 24, 2016 Maine

    My LHBS does this. Depending on what you are trying to do and your timing, they can place special orders this way to get just what you want. I have not done it though sometimes I feel I should when I show up and the guy in front of me but the last package of yeast I want. With this they also have the order online but pick up in store option which over all I am sure helps drive some sales.
  10. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (333) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Sometimes the local business feels they are entitled to your money for the simple reason they are local. The LHBS is guilty.

    Mediocre selection.
    Clueless employees.
    Out of Stock is the most common supply.

    I'm local too, and they don't give me any discounts. Sorry.
  11. anteater

    anteater Crusader (784) Sep 10, 2012 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    I love supporting my LHBS. I did not love getting home and seeing $35 for a pound of Mosaic on my receipt.
  12. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,489) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    One option is to buy most of your homebrewing supplies from your LHBS but buy hops from an online vendor – Hops Direct will sell you a pound of Mosaic for $16.15.


    LuskusDelph and 209Hill like this.
  13. WV_Charles_Homebrew

    WV_Charles_Homebrew Initiate (131) May 17, 2017 West Virginia

    I wish I had a local homebrew store to support. I do not currently know of any brick and mortar HBS stores in the entire state of WV. At one time there was a store in the panhandle, but that is about a 4 hour drive for me, and that store is now a brewery that no longer sells homebrew supplies (Its owned by the same guy, he just converted it to a brewery). So I have no choice but to buy my supplies online. I have stopped buying from Midwest and Northern brewer though, since they sold out to AB Inbev. If ever a local HBS does pop up, I will be waiting outside for the doors to open. I would love to have the option of buying my supplies locally.
  14. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (858) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    A great deal of people who brew beer aren't that terribly interested in advanced techniques or in the science of it. They just want to make beer. That's it.

    I'm not that kind of person, as I want to know as much as I can about my hobby, but I understand it.

    As far the downfall of brick and mortar LHBS goes, I just don't think that most of them are doing anything to keep up with trends, not only in the industry, but with people in general. How many have YouTube videos or Podcasts? How many have in-house lectures? Not many, from where I'm standing. Now couple that with the fact that most people can not only get better prices on ingredients and equipment but a better variety of ingredients and equipment and the reasons for the decrease in popularity becomes pretty obvious.
  15. 209Hill

    209Hill Initiate (109) Dec 22, 2016 Virginia

    I give most of my business to my LHBS - it's 2 minutes from my house and owned by my neighbors. I don't mind paying a little bit more there than I would online, and they always have great advice, a friendly conversation, or both.

    The only price differential that drives me online are bulk hops (1lb) - those I generally source from hopsdirect.
    EvenMoreJesus likes this.
  16. jlordi12

    jlordi12 Devotee (426) Jun 8, 2011 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I buy all my grains & most yeast from LHBS. Hard to compete on price with online, but even my brewing has slowed down immensely lately with young kids and the wealth of fresh and affordable brews in the area.
  17. jlordi12

    jlordi12 Devotee (426) Jun 8, 2011 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    what are some online shops that are owned by AB that I can now avoid?
  18. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (2,189) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Premium Member

    The Places features of the BA site can be your friend when looking for various kinds of beer-related places. You have 9 homebrew stores in WV, so maybe one of these is within reach of where you live. https://www.beeradvocate.com/place/...&city=&s_id=WV&c_id=&submit=Search&homebrew=Y
  19. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (4,866) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    With my local store, Keystone, you can order through their website and either have shipped or pick up. I've never used it but it's an option. They also host classes, homebrew clubs, special events, etc.

    I buy all of my supplies there.
  20. BumpkinBrewer

    BumpkinBrewer Disciple (357) Jan 6, 2010 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    My local is a good 20miles away (beer-wine hobby). Its my typical go to for specialty grains, adjuncts, yeast, small pieces of equipment, and CO2 exchanges. Their prices are steep but the staff is fairly knowledgeable, they have a vast selection of grain, and their yeast is usually fresh. I typically buy bulk hops online and try to participate in bulk grain buys with local homebrew clubs. If I had to pay lhbs prices for hops and grain, I would quit the hobby.
  21. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,353) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Northern Brewer and Midwest.
    jlordi12 likes this.
  22. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (740) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    I use an online store that feels like (the good aspects) of a LHBS. It's probably >200 miles away (Bay Area) but the free shipping on >$59 orders keeps me coming back even though their prices aren't fantastic on a lot of items. My orders almost always arrive the next day. I wouldn't hesitate to order liquid yeast from them...except this week :slight_frown:.
  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,489) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Barry, I am pretty sure that we shop from the same place except that I select to have my items shipped from their PA location.
    Same for me as well.

    My LHBS is about a 30-40 minute drive and the principle route there is a toll road. If it was more convenient to me I would shop there more often.

    I have been very happy with our online vendor.

  24. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (740) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Jack, you must be referencing Morebeer, but that's not my HBS (most of the time)...but good guess :slight_smile:...it's not Williams anymore either except for dry yeast).
  25. pinyin

    pinyin Disciple (324) Sep 19, 2013 New York

    Keystone is a great LHBS. The best I've ever been to. They are quick and the people they have working there are very knowledgeable and helpful. Prices are on point too. Usually slightly cheaper than online for hardware.

    I'm usually pretty critical of most retail businesses but these guys have the LHBS format really dialed in. Hopefully Amazon doesn't try to take them out too. I always enjoy sampling some of the homebrews they have on deck while waiting for grains.

    I also prefer buying liquid yeast cold and keeping it cold in a cooler in my car. Those cold packs that online stores use lose their chill pretty quick, especially in the summer months.
  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,489) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Interesting that they both you the same free shipping for orders over $59. I suppose it is a competition thing.

    Anyhow, I have been ordering from MoreBeer since the fall of 2015 and I have been pleased with them.

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  27. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (740) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Well, for you, Jack it makes sense. Morebeer has a PA warehouse that is fairly close to you. On the other hand I have a relative who owns a HBS in Santa Rosa, CA that hooks me up with beer shwag almost every order while his wife draws smiley faces on my receipts :slight_smile: cheers
    frozyn, FeDUBBELFIST and JackHorzempa like this.
  28. Jaguar10301

    Jaguar10301 Initiate (162) Mar 1, 2010 Maine
    Beer Trader

    I want to support my LHBS but I'm not wealthy enough to pay the exorbitant prices. I brew a lot when I brew and I need to buy in bulk and I need the cheaper prices.

    I would like to know which online stores are AB owned to avoid them but I can't fully support local homebrew shops. I buy things I need last minute there but if I'm planning it out, I'm going online.

    Also from my understanding our local homebrew shop turned off the local homebrew club by trying to go behind their back to get a local brewery to stop providing them with grain orders. Not very cool. You should be giving discounts to the homebrew clubs, supporting them, creating a synergy, not trying to sabotage them.
  29. WV_Charles_Homebrew

    WV_Charles_Homebrew Initiate (131) May 17, 2017 West Virginia

    Thanks for the heads up, I hadn't actually used that feature on the site before. One of those results is the store I mentioned that is now a brewery (Mountain Man), and 5 of the others are just too far away. I've actually been to Bonded by Bottles (one of the best bottle shops in the state) but the last time I was in they did not have any brew supplies as the store is still pretty new, and the plan is to add homebrew supplies later. But the Charleston one is doable, if the info is up to date. I will have to check it out next time I am in Charleston.
    Mothergoose03 likes this.
  30. epk

    epk Initiate (148) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    Also have started going there. I'm happy with it so far. Spend $60 and get a free pack of yeast with a Homebrewers Association membership, I'll take it. Been happy with the selection and fine with the prices.

    I'm fine paying a little more to support a local business, but there is obviously a line. That said, I don't typically use my LHBS for any sort of advice, I would hope they were knowledgeable though.
    #70 epk, Jun 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
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  31. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (273) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    Make sure u download the Perka app. At 500 points you get ten percent off an order. That's usually when I get a bag of base malts
    epk likes this.
  32. epk

    epk Initiate (148) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    Thanks for reminding me. They mentioned it the first time I was in - will check it out. I've litterally only been there three times, was using Home Sweet Homebrew on occasion (I work in Philly, so it's conveneient but a pain to lug bags on the train) and before that mostly Brew Your Own Bottle in Westmont :slight_frown:.
  33. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (273) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    Ya sad what happened in collingswood brew your own bottle. He was a really nice guy. This place is nice. Where in jersey do you live. I'm in hammonton. Berlin is 25 minutes for me.
  34. epk

    epk Initiate (148) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    Down south west from Deptford, town called Gibbstown (not to be confused with Gibbsboro), so Keg and Barrel is a bit of a drive for me but not really any other options in South Jersey.

    I was just in your neck of the woods this past weekend, drove down to Hammonton after picking up some ingredients and hit Three 3s and Toomfoolery brewing.
    Prep8611 likes this.
  35. Eggman20

    Eggman20 Initiate (128) Feb 14, 2017 Minnesota

    Always go to the LHBS and with the 10% off for AHA members their prices are always competitive. It also helps that it is just a couple miles away. Their employees have a wide range of experience but they're always friendly and willing to talk homebrewing which is sometime giving me ideas and sometimes me giving them ideas.
    hopfenunmaltz likes this.
  36. minderbender

    minderbender Aspirant (218) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    This makes a lot of sense to me. At least in theory, a brewery/HBS could turn over its inventory of grains etc. much faster than a typical HBS, keeping everything nice and fresh. Whereas when you walk into a typical HBS to buy a specialty grain that only ever gets used in small quantities, you have to wonder how long the grain has been sitting around. Same logic could potentially apply to things like coriander—if the brewery makes a wit, then the coriander in the store could be relatively fresh (assuming the business sets it up to work that way). With hops it probably doesn't matter as much, and of course breweries don't use homebrew quantities of yeast. (Although, in theory a brewery could sell you a pitch of super-fresh yeast from its own fermenters... that is actually kind of an interesting idea, assuming you want the same strain of yeast. Just bring a sanitized container, take home a super-fresh pitch of yeast with no need for a starter...)
    Mothergoose03 likes this.
  37. plaztikjezuz

    plaztikjezuz Defender (600) Dec 19, 2004 Michigan

    Not familiar with that brand name. But generally beerstone/milkstone very similar in composition. Milkstone has a little fat in it. But generally the stone cleaner is phosphoric and nitric acid.

    They do not contain Dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid at 15% like Star-San. Without it is not going to kill the same way. Not saying that it would not kill a lot of bugs. But they add Dodecylbenzenesulfonic for a reason.
    GreenKrusty101 likes this.
  38. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (740) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Yeah, benzene will kill anything :slight_smile:. I thought it (the 15%) was a surfactant
  39. plaztikjezuz

    plaztikjezuz Defender (600) Dec 19, 2004 Michigan

    Come visit me in Grand Ledge at The Red Salamander and have a beer at the Sanctuary up stairs. ;-)
    Mothergoose03 likes this.
  40. corbmoster

    corbmoster Aspirant (253) Dec 15, 2014 Texas
    Beer Trader

    My LHBS is 40 minutes away and has consistently had the same problems. Crappy selection in stock, expired liquid yeast (by 6 months or greater), terribly misinformed (basically thinks all dried yeasts are the same and it doesn't matter which one you use). Doesn't understand the importance of pitching temp, or fermentation temps, generally not a friendly person. Poor storage practices of grains. I started using online suppliers in the region I live because they were the antithesis of the store, and provide very fast, and cheap shipping.
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