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Messages - phunhog

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1
General Homebrew Discussion / Old brewing magazines
« on: October 22, 2016, 10:40:01 AM »
Just curious what you guys do with your old mags ( Zymurgy, BYO, etc)?  I have quite a collection going and I hate to recycle them.  They are full of great info and recipes.  I know everything thing is digital now but I always like reading a hard copy.  What can I say.....married to a librarian.

2
When I heard that Firestone Walker is stopping production of three of their award winning beers it really opened my eyes.  They even admit that too much of their beer is sitting on the shelves way too long.  As others have said there is just so much beer out there it is getting harder and harder to stand out.   Do you know what makes a beer stand out for me every time? PRICE!!  If I buy beer at all it is always the cheapest craft six pack.  If you aren't going to compete on price you probably won't get my business.  Thankfully I can get FW sixers for around 6.99 since I live in South Central CA.  I doubt any other craft breweries can touch that price.

3
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: macro homebrew trends
« on: October 07, 2016, 07:58:39 AM »
A trend I am seeing regionally (California) and even the rest of the USA is that laws pertaining to home brewing are becoming much more relaxed. 

4
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The Decline of Homebrewing
« on: September 27, 2016, 07:56:19 PM »
I think one reason people quit is home brewing is not easy to get right on the first few batches. Especially if you are used to good quality craft beer. Your first few batches will not compare.
Maybe, but who knocks pizza dough or bread out the park first time? Maybe risk/reward is high due to the amount of time.

I do brew to save money. Beer is stupid expensive right now. $6+ bombers, $10+ six packs, $7+ pints. If I factored the time at minimum wage, I'd still be saving on a 10 gallon batch. I think it is unfair to factor time when it is also my hobby. If i wasn't brewing, I'd be out spending or watching tv.
I think many people quit all kinds of things that are hard.  Lots of people receive home brew equipment as a gift, give a try a few times and move on.

I agree home brewing is cheaper as long as you don't count the value of your time and probably you need to exclude equipment cost. The way I see it equipment and time are costs associated with my hobby. Ingredients, fuel, CO2 are costs associated with the beer.
I always find it funny when people mention the "value of their time" or even equipment costs.  Maybe I have gone a bit nuts but I think of brewing beer the same way I look at cooking meals.  If you cook dinner at home do you factor in your time shopping, preparing, and cleaning up afterwards?  Probably not. If you did you would be eating out all the time. 
One of the biggest reasons I brew is because it is dramatically cheaper even when accounting for all the misc. expenses ( propane, cleaning agents, etc.).  5 gallons of your run of the mill craft beer will set you back 80-100 dollars whereas my homebrew is right around 20 dollars for 5 gallons. 
I started noticing the decline in homebrewing over a year ago when several of the online forums started to slow way down and/or disappear.  There has also been a substantial drop in the number of homebrew clubs in my area and the ones that are still around have less members.
Even this forum is a little dated.  There is a sticky on top with results from the 2010 Homebrew Survey?? 6 years really?  Look at the Legislative updates.  Nothing going on since Spring of 2015?

5
I have not organized a festival BUT my neighbor has put on 5-6 small festivals.  I have seen all the work that goes into it at first but he has said once you get a few under your belt it is much easier.  I have poured at every festival and I can tell you what I think makes it a success.
- A mix of commercial and homebrewed beers.  We usually strive for a  50/50 mix.  People flock to the homebrewers big time since they are unique and can't find them anywhere else.
- Treat the brewers well!!  Every brewer get 4 free tickets with a free lunch included! 
-Bathrooms.....duh!!
-Food....he gets a local restaurant to donate food and then sells lunch plates.
- Don't oversell the event.  People don't want to wait 10 minutes in line for a 3 oz. pour.
- Live music.  Doesn't have to have to be anything fancy.  Some guys jamming and singing is all this festival has.
-  Provide volunteers to pour the commercial beer.  Not every brewery can afford to send an employee to pour donated beer.
-  Have professional silkscreened tasting glasses. Plastic is okay.  No solo cups.
-  Make sure ALL proceeds go to a worthwhile charity and have that charity set up a booth in a very visible location. 
- Schedule far in advance BUT also talk to other brewers.  The festival was postponed this spring because of two other nearby beer festivals are on the same date. 

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homebrew at festivals
« on: March 23, 2016, 10:13:05 PM »
I did this several years ago.   We won the " fan favorite" comp.  I think we pissed off a few "real" breweries!!.🍻

7
Absolutely you do need good recipes or you could just borrow some very good internet recipes.;) It can be done and yes you can make money. I'm proof of that for the last 2 of 3 years any way.

 It all depends on how you approach it. Opening a brewery is way to much for one person to do alone. You have to realistic about it. New stuff and labor cost a lot of money and unless you have that million, you have to borrow it and pay it back. So comprise is the rule, (for me anyway), everyone likes the nice new brew house and all that is needed to make it go, who doesn't. I didn't have that million, but I did have craigslist and the benefit of a mentor who took the same plunge a couple years earlier to lean on. (Thanks Leos!)

That said my equipment looks like huge homebrew equipment made from dairy equipment and plastic fermenters. I have had to build a few things like a keg washer, bottler and labeler. There is a lot of work involved, a big thank you to the forklift inventor. I was fortunate to have had a job in manufacturing so I had a very good idea on the how boring this work can be and is at times. A brewing education would be a plus. Just like any occupation you have to really be into it, to survive and thrive in it.
That's awesome that you can make it work. I am curious how many small breweries make it after 10-15 years.  If it is like any other small business chances are they won't be around or that it will be under different ownership.

8
Like many of you it too was my dream to open a brewery someday.  Now....not so much.  I literally sat down one day and did a whole pro/con list.  Needless to say the "pro" list wasn't very long once you get passed the "romanticism" of owning a brewery.  I often wonder what brewery owners long term vision is.  Let's face it.  There are more and more breweries competing for limited tap/shelf space and there is a practical limit of how much beer you can move through your own tap room.  Here is the thing. I see a lot of well educated, extremely talented people starting breweries.  What happens when the brewery reaches a point where it has reached its equilibrium and its not really feasible to grow?  They have reached the top of the breweries earning potential.  Unfortunately that profit does not let them do things like own a house or send your kids to college.  Very few make a good living in the brewing industry.

9
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Questions about competitions...
« on: January 15, 2016, 09:34:33 AM »
1)  Have any of you guys ever caught someone entering a commercial beer into a Home Brew competition?

2)  How do you think some of the commercial beers (say Fuller's ESB, Pliny the Elder, Young's Chocolate Stout...) would fare in a large competition?

I have always wanted to do something like that. Not to win a comp but rather to "prove" how subjective comps and scoring really are.  With a label on the bottle it is world class.....without a label it is "ok".   Just shows our unconscious bias....

10
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Trading is legal?
« on: September 11, 2015, 10:16:54 PM »
Probably isn't legal but any reasonable person wouldn't think twice.  A buddy gives me backyard eggs and I fill his growler.  Don't think anyone really cares. Or at least the government doesn't.
Not I am not one for conspiracy theories but....at this years NHC there was a panel on Homebrew Law and Legislation.  The head of the CA brewers guild and someone from the BA were panelists.  One of the topics touched upon was homebrewers trying to sell, barter, trade their beers and all the reasons why it is illegal.  Now I listened to the podcast so maybe something was lost in translation vs. being there.  They mentioned that they are very much "stakeholders" in the commercial brewing industry. Remember the AHA is just a small part of the much larger BA.  And the BA is really nothing more than a industry group for craft commercial beers.  My take on the podcast is when homebrewers trade/barter their beers it potentially hurts their industry and members. It makes sense. If I trade a growler fill for eggs that means that is one less growler fill for a local commercial brewery (potentially).

11
I think it is wrong to say Duvel Moortgat bought FW. I think Duvel invested in FW to allow expansion.

This article says they combined US operations but says both sides would not call it a merger or acquisition.

I think FW gets an in flow of cash to expand their brewing operations and a new or improved distribution channel and sales force. It's not clear the FW founders are receiving any cash themselves. It seems more likely the new monies are going into the business.

http://fortune.com/2015/07/17/duvel-moortgat-firestone-walker-craft-beer-empire-deal/?xid=gn_editorspicks&google_editors_picks=true

Getting bigger does tend to make a brewery less local focused. I also wonder if bigger breweries can stay nimble. Overtime, can they still lead with new an innovative beers or do they migrate to business model that maintains old popular brands and copies innovative beers but doesn't really innovate themselves?
Good point! If that is the case then I would be a little less worried.  However I still wonder why FW "needs" to keep expanding.  Maybe this is a sign of the times since I am convinced we are going to be having a "craft beer war"  soon.  As an example I can walk into any supermarket here in CA and find IPA's by Stone, FW, Lagunitas, New Belgium, and Sierra Nevada. All great beers. You know which one I pick every time....the cheapest one!!  I know my friends who drink craft beer feel the same....the craft beer they drink is the beer that is on sale!

12
I am a little bummed.  FW was for years my "local" brewery even though they were two hours up the coast. Their logo was "Fresh. Local. Firestone"  Their top selling beer,805, is named after our area code.  The owners lived local and one would think that the majority of the profits would stay somewhat local. 
I always thought craft beer drinkers put a big premium on drinking local and supporting their local brewery. Maybe I am wrong. 

13
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: State of home-brewing
« on: May 25, 2015, 09:53:22 AM »
Also, I know of multiple "generation X" and "millennial" homebrewers...it is more common than you would think

As I said before, the facebook brewing "forums" are much more popular with this age group

I am a member of some of those FB forums.  I don't find them nearly as useful as this or other brewing forums. Mainly because they are broken down in various sub forums (fermentation, DIY, etc...).  If anything I find the FB groups to be a bit tedious....the same questions being asked by different people.  Plus you can't really do a search and find the answer yourself like you can in a traditional forum. 

14
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: State of home-brewing
« on: May 24, 2015, 09:33:08 PM »
I have been wondering for a while if maybe the popularity of homebrewing is beginning to fade a bit.  I only say this because it seems like many of the popular homebrewing forums are not nearly as busy as they were 3-4 years ago.  It would seem that if there are more homebrewers the forums would be busier than ever with various questions/issues. Not really seeing it.....

15
General Homebrew Discussion / NHC San Diego- Can't decide.......
« on: May 05, 2015, 07:54:08 AM »
Hey guys,
Can't believe I am even writing this but I am having a hard time convincing myself to go to the NHC in San Diego. I have never been to a NHC and I only live 3.5 hours from San Diego so it would seem like a slam dunk. Between the cost of the conference, hotel room, meals, and time away from the family.... The biggest draw for me is the presentations....but the AHA puts those online. I am sure the beers are great.....but I will spending several hundred dollars to drink homebrew? So past attendees....PLEASE convince me to go!! What am I missing here?

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