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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: Lazy Ant Brewing on August 05, 2016, 12:21:13 PM

Title: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: Lazy Ant Brewing on August 05, 2016, 12:21:13 PM
How many of you have access to a LHBS where brewing supplies are the primary business?

I live in S. Indiana and my three choices within a 25 mile radius are: a hardware store, a restaurant supply store, and an agricultural supply store. Home brew supplies are a sideline.

As one might expect, only the most commonly used malts, hops, and yeasts are available, and only one of the three has anyone on staff with any knowledge of brewing.  And that person says 7 days is adequate for fermentation!  Also two of them keep hops at ambient room temp.

While I like to support local merchants, I frequently end up ordering supplies on line.

Comments  on your situation please.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: HoosierBrew on August 05, 2016, 12:25:39 PM
How many of you have access to a LHBS where brewing supplies are the primary business?

I live in S. Indiana and my three choices within a 25 mile radius are: a hardware store, a restaurant supply store, and an agricultural supply store. Home brew supplies are a sideline.

As one might expect, only the most commonly used malts, hops, and yeasts are available, and only one of the three has anyone on staff with any knowledge of brewing.  And that person says 7 days is adequate for fermentation!  Also two of them keep hops at ambient room temp.

While I like to support local merchants, I frequently end up ordering supplies on line.

Comments  on your situation please.


It's a shame you don't live closer to Indianapolis. Great Fermentations is a dedicated LHBS (with a great nano next door) - they have a great selection and good staff. I know it's not totally like buying locally but they're online and loosely local.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: Erik_Mog on August 05, 2016, 01:14:34 PM
I have Atlantic Brew Supply about 15 min from home. They are connected with Raleigh Brewing, and only carry brewing supplies and a small selection of wine making stuff. Being the sister company of a brewery, there is a good selection of ingredients.


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Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 05, 2016, 01:25:17 PM
Adventures in Homebrewing is where I do most of my shopping, 35 miles, but mostly expressway. There is a small dedicated one closer, 12 miles,  nice place, not as much selection as AiH. There is another about 18 miles away, but much more traffic, lots of stop lights, and I feel like I can get to AiH in about the same time. Combining shopping stops in Ann Arbor results in most of my business going to AiH. I also know most of the employees at AiH, so it is nice to hear your name," Hi Jeff", when you walk in the door.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: slabtownebc on August 05, 2016, 01:37:05 PM
I tried real hard to support the 3 LHBS with in 30 minutes of me, one is ridiculously over priced and the other 2 have horrible business models.  I would routinely place an order via email tell them I would be over on my lunch break, they would respond all set.  I would get over there and either get the owe we are all out of that or some other excuse.  I now rely on one of the big online suppliers for 70% I my supplies.  The third local place has been closed for renovations for 4 months, I emailed then about estimated opening date and never heard back.  Guess I will stay with the online ordering for a while.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: theDarkSide on August 05, 2016, 02:01:07 PM
Most of the shops in NH and Maine that I've been too are dedicated homebrew shops.  But some also have wine and cheese making supplies as well.

Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: zwiller on August 05, 2016, 02:06:16 PM
I smell opportunity... 

Having a LHBS is mostly convenience.  I still get stuff online.  I try and support local businesses and these modern days with the web I consider anything in my state local and even adjoining states basically.  That said, as far as I know, none of the "big" online merchants are owned by huge corporate entities so I think it's all good. 

Back in the days when my LHBS was a good hour away, I would make a run and stock up.  I usually saved like 10% going well over $100.  The shop was great and remembered I was a big customer and treated me accordingly (load the car/help carry).  I would typically call the order in/pay and it would be waiting for me.  I would take the family on a road trip, pick the order up, and shop/hit a local micro after.  Other times, I would drop the family off to shop and I would get stuff and meet back up.  It did take a little planning but worked out quite well.  Good times...
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: Chris S on August 05, 2016, 02:08:26 PM
I have the good fortune to have the best homebrew shop in the world about 10 minutes from my house. It's The Homebrewer, and that's all they do. The entire crew is super friendly and knowledgeable. They have a vast supply and variety of grains, they have yeast from at least three different outfits, and they have hops in both pellet and cone varieties. You need gear? Brew kettles, mash tuns, cornies, etc. They recently opened a small tasting room adjacent to the shop, where, after you have devised your bill, you can kick back, drink beer, and talk about making beer with a bunch of other obsessives. Pretty awesome.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: riceral on August 05, 2016, 02:11:03 PM
LHBS is on the way home from work so dropping by isn't out of my way. Very knowledgeable staff who all brew and some have gone pro. Most if not all are members of the local club. They have started a monthly bottle share and other open events. Yea, I could get some items cheaper by using an online shop but then I would miss dropping by after work or on a Saturday or Sunday to see what's on tap or to share one of my beers and get their take on things. They do have wine supplies but I think that is less than the beer supplies.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: tommymorris on August 05, 2016, 02:23:24 PM
There are 2 places with small selections in Huntsville. One has liquid yeast which is nice. They keep hops warm so I avoid those. They also mostly cater to extract brewers. The few grains they sell don't make since. The staff are not knowledgeable at all. The staff doesn't know anything about beer either even though they sell growler fills. If you ask a question they consult a database on their computer.

The other store with homebrew supplies is a health food store. They have a better grain selection (but mostly just in 1 lb bags).  They don't sell liquid yeast. They also keep the hops warm and again the staff are not brewers so their knowledge is limited.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: reverseapachemaster on August 05, 2016, 02:41:15 PM
There are a few dedicated homebrew shops in the larger metro area and one mixed general store-type place that carries supplies. The latter is closest to my house but has the oldest ingredients and outrageous hop prices ($4/oz cascades that are at least a year old, easily more). I don't shop there too much and when I do it's for emergency non-yeast/hops/grain pickups.

I tend to shop online a lot because it's convenient, cheaper and unfortunately tends to be better customer service. When I buy locally it's usually an online order for pickup to one of the furthest shops in the area because their prices, selection and support are better than closer options. I occasionally buy grains from the closest full-time homebrew shop when I'm in that area because they carry Avangard at a low price. Otherwise I don't particularly care for that shop. The others in the area are in areas I don't often visit.

 
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: Slowbrew on August 05, 2016, 02:45:10 PM
Here in the Des Moines area we have an excellent LHBS called Beer Crazy.  The folks who work there brew and make wine and they have cheese making supplies too.  It has most everything you need or want.  Their prices are reasonable for a local shop and I get most of my supplies there.  It's really nice that it is on my route home and only a block off the main road and only about 1.5 miles from my house.  They pride themselves on having every beer that can be sold in Iowa on the shelf and sell by the bottle in mix/match packs so no having to buy a six pack of something you just want to try.

We have (had?) another shop in town called Heartland Homebrew that is (was?) in Valley Junction.  He got us through a time when all the shops in town were going out of business.  I haven't been there in years so I'm not sure he is still open.  He always had a great selection and good prices.

Paul
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: rob_f on August 05, 2016, 02:54:50 PM
I live halfway between a full-service LHBS, Maryland Homebrew, and a corner of the 3 Stars Brewery called the DC Homebrew Shop. Each is about a half-hour drive.  Because of its much bigger inventory, I will always head toward Maryland Homebrew unless I have another reason to go to 3 Stars Brewery.

The benefits of living in a crowded, East-coast metroplex, I guess.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: toby on August 05, 2016, 03:26:29 PM
I have one on my way home from work (name is LA Homebrew) that stocks 90-95% of everything I need.  Occasionally, I'll have to make the ~60 minute drive to Brewstock in New Orleans for a few things (LA Homebrew almost never stocks Spalt hops which I use in my Kolsch and will sometimes not have the yeast I want in stock for a spur of the moment brew).  The only things I don't get from one of them are the occasional piece of equipment (usually small relatively rarely used fitting like an NPT-MFL adapter for a regulator) or bulk hops.  I use Adventures in Homebrewing for most of that stuff lately (or their Austin branch).
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: denny on August 05, 2016, 03:32:13 PM
We have 2 here that are strictly brewing.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: blair.streit on August 05, 2016, 03:34:54 PM
I'm really loving SoCo Homebrew here in South Austin (open about 2 years now). They have everything I need, and a really knowledgeable and helpful staff. Reading about your situation, it makes me feel guilty to say this, but I was so excited when SoCo Homebrew opened up so that I didn't have to drive 30 minutes across town to Austin Homebrew Supply, also a dedicated, full-service shop with knowledgeable staff.

If I were in your situation, I wouldn't "vote with my dollars" for stores that are only doing it halfway. It's nice to have someone that might stock something you need, but if the knowledge and dedication is that poor, they're probably not taking great care of the products either.

I agree with zwiller -- it smells like an opportunity for someone. Clearly if 2 or 3 stores are "doing it halfway", then there's probably enough business for someone to make a living if they come in and do it right.


Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 05, 2016, 04:20:56 PM
We have 2 here that are strictly brewing.
AiH is all things fermented: Beer, wine, mead, cheese, vinegar, spirits, what am I forgetting? There are parts of the store that are not for me, but it increases their revenue stream.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: denny on August 05, 2016, 04:26:34 PM
We have 2 here that are strictly brewing.
AiH is all things fermented: Beer, wine, mead, cheese, vinegar, spirits, what am I forgetting? There are parts of the store that are not for me, but it increases their revenue stream.

So is at least one of ours....just didn't want to get too far off track! And yogurt and coffee.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: Steve L on August 05, 2016, 04:32:07 PM
My LHBS, Southern Hills Homebrew Supply just south of Roanoke, VA, is fortunately only 25 minutes from home. They also have wine supplies, but beer seems to be his big business. Also the home of Frankenyeast. Robb the owner will make a big starter with a bunch of different almost expired yeasts and then give away vials. Brulosophy has been xBmting with it here recently. Great shop!

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Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: Stevie on August 05, 2016, 04:38:28 PM
One very close and one of the oldest in the country about 40 min away. I find both have selections that leave a bit to be desired, but I can order most everything else from MoreBeer.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: chezteth on August 05, 2016, 05:28:59 PM
I have a place that I order from frequently, online, that has local pickup. They have good selection and prices. Unfortunately, its not a retail shop. Other than that the closest LHBS (The Cellar in Fond du lac) is 45 minutes away. I enjoy going there as the staff is very knowledgable, they have a good selection and prices. There are other places within the 45 to 60 min drive but I don't frequent them.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: 69franx on August 05, 2016, 06:17:28 PM
I am also in Southern Indiana, but on the extreme East side of the state ( read less than 2 miles from Ohio state line) and I work out of an office in Cincinnati's west side. I am lucky enough to regularly work in the field at our 7 different self storage facilities and driving around town gives me access to 3 different full service, dedicated LHBS to choose from. In the end, Dan Listermann's Home brew supply and brewery is the closest for me most of the time, the staff are great and very knowledgeable, the inventory is immense, and the brewery's beer is top notch (it has to be the way craft beer is booming here in the Cincinnati area.) I know that at any time, I can likely find almost anything I need just by stopping in. On the rare ocassion that they are out of something, they are fully able to suggest a proper substitution or get it ordered for me for pick up the following week. They do offer email and phone ordering, but I just love to spend some time walking around inside the store checking out the various supplies on hand, so I have not used those options. Honestly, if there were no Listermann Brewing supply store, I would likely not be brewing, and probably would not have even started.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: dzlater on August 05, 2016, 08:13:57 PM
I'm in South Jersey outside Philly.
There are 5 within roughly 30 miles of my house.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: brewinhard on August 05, 2016, 09:50:35 PM
My local guy is less than 4 miles from my house. He is pretty well stocked, a decent brewer and quite knowledgeable with wine and beer. Oh yeah, and man he can drink me under the table!
Title: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: banjo-guy on August 07, 2016, 07:52:05 PM
I've got Karp's Hardware. They are pretty well stocked.

I'm really impressed by a two year old LHBS called " Homebrew and Handgrenades" ( I've never asked the owner Pete exactly what that means) His shop looks better every time that I go there.
They are both on Long Island, NY about 30-40 minutes away from me,


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Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: Stevie on August 07, 2016, 08:11:24 PM
My guess is it's from the old saying "close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades" Maybe it's a comment on the idea that beer is beer, and your first beer is always the best beer you've ever made up to that point.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: westcoastbrew on August 18, 2016, 06:41:47 PM
There are 2 or 3 in my part of SoCal.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: Stevie on August 18, 2016, 08:06:13 PM
There are 2 or 3 in my part of SoCal.
The shop in Costa Mesa is my favorite.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: Visor on August 18, 2016, 08:27:53 PM
Y'all are lucky in this regard, our closest LHBS is 130 miles away, almost two hours driving to get there. The owner is a heck of a nice guy and keeps as much as I imagine he can afford to, but the place is about the size of my living room. FWIW, there was a thread a while back on opening a LHBS, and all the experts were saying you'd need a population base of around 500,000 to succeed, this store is in a town of 50,000 and the doors are still open, don't know if that qualifies as "succeeding".
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: denny on August 18, 2016, 08:55:35 PM
Population base of 500K seems ridiculous.  We have an urban area of about 200K total and have 2 stores doing really well.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: duboman on August 18, 2016, 10:27:12 PM
Mine is owned by a friend, GrowMasters@gmail.com, about 25 minutes from my house, super knowledgeable staff, great supply of all ingredients and hardware from kits to advanced brewing, homebrew on tap to sample and they also do gardening and hydroponic systems. Great ace to hang out and great place to shop. They also have a reward/loyalty program for great discounts on everything.

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Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: 69franx on August 19, 2016, 01:35:28 AM
I think that 500k estimate was just an estimate based on number of home brewers in Gen pop. Add to that equation the likelihood of each or any of the local home brewers making monthly purchases, volume of purchases by those that do come in, etc. Mainly a rough guestimate to be on the safe side. It can certainly be done with lower population numbers as long as quantity of brewers in the population is higher than normal. Just the way I remember, no quotes here, just my memory.
Title: Re: Dedicated home-brew supply store?
Post by: ynotbrusum on August 19, 2016, 10:01:51 PM
I agree with Jeff - it's great to get your name called when you walk in the door (especially when I am with one of my neighbors who homebrew much less than me....)  But, I gotta run.  My LHBS called and my oak smoked wheat malt is in - time to brew my first Grodziskie tomorrow!