Author Topic: Home Brew Supply Startup  (Read 3679 times)

Offline Gordonwerks

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Home Brew Supply Startup
« on: August 12, 2013, 07:53:48 AM »
I am contemplating (rather seriously) about starting a Craft Beer and Home Brew Supply. All the standards (beer, wine kits) as well as a growler bar and selection of regional craft beer. My question is: What keeps you going to the HBS you frequent? Is it location? The only one around? Selection, quality? Would you travel farther if you liked the store better? What is it that keep you coming back again and again? I want to do all I can to make the first time you stop in, the best experience. I personally frequent one that is 40 minutes away. There are others, but farther away. The store is OK, but is small and a little disheveled due to no place for extra inventory. I see a lot that I can improve on. But who is better to ask than a potential client?
Pappy

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Home Brew Supply Startup
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 08:06:36 AM »
Prices
Also I email him what I want, he gets it, I pick up when convenient

Offline denny

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Re: Home Brew Supply Startup
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2013, 08:12:57 AM »
I go because the place is clean and well stocked, but mainly because the guy who runs it (and his wife) are such great people and I enjoy talking to them.
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Online Steve in TX

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Re: Home Brew Supply Startup
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2013, 08:19:39 AM »
I go for the convenience. I have two shops relatively close by both carry the same stuff.

One is 15 minutes away and a little pricey for tubing and hardware. I do most of my shopping here.

The second is 20-35 minutes away depending on if I want to pay for the toll road. They offer a blanket 10% discount if you sign up for their free "club." I go here if I need  bottles, buckets, or other hardware.

Offline thebigbaker

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Re: Home Brew Supply Startup
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2013, 08:27:40 AM »
The people.  My LHBS (The Brew Hut in Aurora, CO) has just about everything you need and most of it is at a reasonable price.  The staff is awesome and even if I can find what I need cheaper online, I still go by and get it from them to support them.  Customer service is always the deciding factor for me.  It does help that they are only about 10 minutes away and attached to Dry Dock Brewing.

Each month I get a 15% off one item coupon (can't use on Blichmann stuff) from them and use it on sacks of grain.  They also do cool events such as homebrewer's night, host a coulple of competitions and they send out a nice email newsletter each month that has the 15% coupon, recipe of the month, specials, etc...
Jeremy Baker

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Home Brew Supply Startup
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2013, 08:36:11 AM »
My LHBS :  1.  Is owned by excellent brewers, one of whom is a BJCP
                2. Has a great selection
                3. Has a knowledgeable staff
                4. Prevents me from having to have liquid yeast shipped.
                5. Does a good job of getting new hop varieties when available.
                6. Has a very good nano next door started by a former employee,so the overall atmosphere is   
                    terrific.
Jon H.

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Home Brew Supply Startup
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2013, 08:40:47 AM »
My LHBS is 45 minutes away, even though I have 3 others that are within 20 mniutes of me.  They are great people and the shop is next door (they share the same storeroom) to their nanobrewery.  They also host our homebrew club meetings.  They have most of what I need and also hold classes in homebrewing to attract new people to the hobby.

Sometimes, however, I need some special ingredients or I find I forgot something, I will hit the other local stores or order online.


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Offline erockrph

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Re: Home Brew Supply Startup
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2013, 08:44:10 AM »
There's a hardware store just down the street from me that has a small homebrew supply section. I get all my odds & ends from them that I can (dry yeast, DME, the occasional small equipment purchase, gypsum and so on). It's convenient as hell that they are so close, plus I live in a rather small town, so I try to support them as much as possible.

What may be more useful for you is why I don't use the two LHBS near me very often (I do about 95% of my grain, hops and liquid yeast purchases online). First of all, neither one is open convenient hours. They are both open a handful of weekday nights and limited weekend hours. They just aren't really useful given my work and family schedule. One of them is run by a guy who is a bit of a know-it-all, but gives out a lot of outdated info. The other one is often staffed by people who don't seem to know a hell of a lot regarding their ingredients. The main reason I do shop at either is if I need a last-minute ingredient. All too often they don't have what I'm looking for in those situations, either. And neither shop stocks Wyeast, which is annoying, too.

My ideal LHBS would be a place that is open normal business hours, and run by knowledgeable, helpful staff. A good selection, including both White Labs and Wyeast, is a big plus as well.
Eric B.

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Offline The Professor

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Re: Home Brew Supply Startup
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2013, 09:09:11 AM »
I go because the place is clean and well stocked, but mainly because the guy who runs it (and his wife) are such great people and I enjoy talking to them.

Pretty much the same here.  Prices are not at the forefront, since any business is entitled to make a profit on their goods and services...I appreciate a bargain as much as anyone, but I'd rather pay a little more and support a local business that is run by helpful, knowledgable, friendly and dedicated people.

Unfortunately, the high volume/low margin trend that has invaded American business makes it difficult for the kind of customer service oriented mom & pop operations which once existed on a much larger scale.  One of the most frustrating examples is Home Depot: despite the appearance that they carry everything under the sun, on three occasions in the past month alone they didn't stock items I was looking for... items which, in the past, I could have found at just about any corner hardware store (the type of corner store that was ultimately driven out of business by Depot).
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Offline scottNU

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Re: Home Brew Supply Startup
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2013, 09:10:58 AM »
My LHBS :  1.  Is owned by excellent brewers, one of whom is a BJCP
                2. Has a great selection
                3. Has a knowledgeable staff
                4. Prevents me from having to have liquid yeast shipped.
                5. Does a good job of getting new hop varieties when available.
                6. Has a very good nano next door started by a former employee,so the overall atmosphere is   
                    terrific.

True for me, except for #6.  Which is, however, a great suggestion I need to make to the guys during my next visit!

Offline denny

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Re: Home Brew Supply Startup
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2013, 09:20:13 AM »
Pretty much the same here.  Prices are not at the forefront, since any business is entitled to make a profit on their goods and services...I appreciate a bargain as much as anyone, but I'd rather pay a little more and support a local business that is run by helpful, knowledgable, friendly and dedicated people.

Sounds just like my situation, Al!  I can get slightly lower prices elsewhere, but not enough to overcome the personal connection I have with my LHBS.
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Offline Three

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Re: Home Brew Supply Startup
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2013, 09:25:36 AM »
My LHBS :  1.  Is owned by excellent brewers, one of whom is a BJCP
                2. Has a great selection
                3. Has a knowledgeable staff
                4. Prevents me from having to have liquid yeast shipped.
                5. Does a good job of getting new hop varieties when available.
                6. Has a very good nano next door started by a former employee,so the overall atmosphere is   
                    terrific.

I 2nd this as I shop here as well.  Awesome inventory.  Liquid yeast. And the nano brewery rocks!  Just wish it wasn't a 20 mile drive (to both the LHBS and the nano :)!)
Anyone who sings a tune so sweet is passin by........

Offline bluesman

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Re: Home Brew Supply Startup
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2013, 09:28:04 AM »
I go to my LHBS as often as I can, because I believe it's important to support your "local" businesses. Plus the owners are great people that support the local homebrewing scene. The store is very clean and well stocked. If they don't have it in stock, they can get it rather quickly. They give me a discount every time I go there, because I'm there so much.
Ron Price

Online jeffy

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Re: Home Brew Supply Startup
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2013, 09:35:02 AM »
I have the best of all worlds.  My local is less than a mile from my house, is open evenings and weekends, has a huge selection, friendly, knowledgeable staff, stocks both Wyeast and Whitelabs, is a nano brewery with over a dozen taps, and they also sell a selection of good beer, plus they have a nice beer garden outside and help all the local clubs out with meetings, storage space for competitions and discounts.
That and I like to support local businesses and these guys are urban pioneers, making positive changes to a rather run-down neighborhood.

I remember having to mail order stuff back in the day, but that day is long gone.
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Offline repo

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Re: Home Brew Supply Startup
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2013, 09:36:45 AM »
What may be more useful for you is why I don't use the two LHBS near me very often (I do about 95% of my grain, hops and liquid yeast purchases online). First of all, neither one is open convenient hours. They are both open a handful of weekday nights and limited weekend hours. They just aren't really useful given my work and family schedule. One of them is run by a guy who is a bit of a know-it-all, but gives out a lot of outdated info. The other one is often staffed by people who don't seem to know a hell of a lot regarding their ingredients. The main reason I do shop at either is if I need a last-minute ingredient. All too often they don't have what I'm looking for in those situations, either. And neither shop stocks Wyeast, which is annoying, too.

My ideal LHBS would be a place that is open normal business hours, and run by knowledgeable, helpful staff. A good selection, including both White Labs and Wyeast, is a big plus as well.

LOL, I know those two shops. I had some great quotes from the know it all guy, One I will always remember - Amarillo is from Texas and it's had to grow a lot there so it's in short supply.  He also looked at me as if I had said I'd seen an alien when I mentioned making a starter.

I would rather shop locally but when I can get a sack of grain delivered to my house for 20$ less than going to pick it up, game over.  Keeping prices competitive is paramount for me. I will spend a few dollars more with someone I like. I pay a little more for my yeast now, but I get it from white labs tasting room.

Provide a good price and selection of the items it costs more to ship and you can get people in the door. Then you can start developing relationships