Author Topic: Is extract brewing patriotic?  (Read 2129 times)

Offline kgs

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Is extract brewing patriotic?
« on: April 06, 2016, 03:51:26 AM »
For those of us gathered under the homebrewing flag...

I just listened to the Beersmith interview with Gary Glass. It had a lot of great information about homebrewing trends. http://beersmith.com/blog/2016/04/04/the-aha-and-homebrewcon-2016-with-gary-glass-beersmith-podcast-123/

A couple of the data points I kept noticing: more homebrewers are brewing all-grain (often from the first or an early batch) and are brewing less frequently. Also, homebrewing store sales are down (that makes sense, if brewing happens less frequently).

The AHA has over 46,000 members. Also, over one million people brew beer at home. (That's an interesting delta.) If every AHA member added an extract brew to his or her brew calendar every year, that would be a nice bump in sales. Just a thought. I've read Gary Glass arguing for more extract brewing, but I didn't put it together with the larger homebrewing ecology.
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Offline blair.streit

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Is extract brewing patriotic?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2016, 04:12:09 AM »
I've recently tried doing this on my lagers in lieu of a starter. I've brewed a 1G extract batch (actually fermented it in my 5L Erlenmeyer) and then stepped that yeast up into a smaller "vitality" starter before moving on to the 5G all grain batch.

I also brewed a 2.5 gallon extract Hefeweisen (my wife wanted it and I was being lazy).

Both turned out quite nicely and saved me a fair amount of time.

One of these days I'd like to brew an all grain and comparable extract batch at roughly the same time just to do some side by side tasting.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2016, 04:13:59 AM by blair.streit »

Offline pete b

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Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2016, 11:05:10 AM »
I recently needed to buy a keg and NB happened to have a deal where you got an extract kit with a reconditioned keg so I ended up with a free Irish Red extract kit. It was great to whip it up fast and increase my supply and variety. It wasn't outstanding but it was good. Im also doing an extract batch as my challenge beer for our beer swap on this forum.
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Offline piersonm

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Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2016, 11:33:36 AM »
When I first started homebrewing I was an extract brewer.  I was living in an apartment so that was really the only way I could brew.  Now I do AG.  But I tell all my friends who want to start brewing to start with extract.  Learn the basics, start with a few specialty grain and get your techniques down before making the jump.  I feel learning with extract helped me be a better AG brewer.
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Offline tommymorris

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Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2016, 11:59:59 AM »
I guess it would be even more patriotic to buy a bunch of blicmann gear or a Picobrew.

When the market needs me to do something I wouldn't normally for it to survive, the market has more problems than I can fix.

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Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2016, 12:21:30 PM »
I guess it would be even more patriotic to buy a bunch of blicmann gear or a Picobrew.

When the market needs me to do something I wouldn't normally for it to survive, the market has more problems than I can fix.

I agree here. Sounds like treating the symptoms rather than the cause.

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2016, 01:08:57 PM »
Last year I tried switching back to extract in an attempt to pump out more beer in less time. I was busy with school and didn't have the time to brew all grain.

The end result? I learned how much I enjoy mashing. It's my favorite part of brewing, and I ended up sick of extract fast. IMO, better a rare brew day that you really enjoy than having lots of beer via extract brewing.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2016, 01:20:23 PM »
I guess it would be even more patriotic to buy a bunch of blicmann gear or a Picobrew.

When the market needs me to do something I wouldn't normally for it to survive, the market has more problems than I can fix.
Yea, I would never do the occasional extract beer just to help sales, only if it naturally fits with what I'm doing.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2016, 01:28:21 PM »
I guess it would be even more patriotic to buy a bunch of blicmann gear or a Picobrew.

When the market needs me to do something I wouldn't normally for it to survive, the market has more problems than I can fix.



I agree. The market will have to sort itself out. If more brewers really are brewing AG exclusively, maybe retailers need to carry less extract in their inventories. I'm all for LHBS with a bigger selection of grains and less extract. As for brewing less often, that's a brewer's preference. Life is busy. The good shops and retailers should be able to survive if they flex with the times.
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2016, 01:28:28 PM »
Maybe homebrew shop sales are down as people are brewing more and buying bulk supplies.  As much as I want to support LHBS, I would be brewing less with the differences in cost.

I also wonder is the homebrew shop sales are including the sales online or are they just brick and mortar sales?

I brewed an extract batch back in December, but it was a hard root beer.
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Offline kgs

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Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2016, 01:48:19 PM »
Maybe homebrew shop sales are down as people are brewing more and buying bulk supplies.  As much as I want to support LHBS, I would be brewing less with the differences in cost.

I also wonder is the homebrew shop sales are including the sales online or are they just brick and mortar sales?

I brewed an extract batch back in December, but it was a hard root beer.

The sales are down all over, at least per the interview. It didn't sound alarmist, just an observation. AHA does do some very good surveys of brewer behavior. I understand the hypothesis (all-grain brewing takes time, therefore people brew less, more brewers start out with AG or move to it earlier in their brewing experience, and brewing less = fewer sales overall), though there could be other drivers, such as an overall "craft beer bubble" that is softening. Gary Glass noted a significant number of homebrew stores closing last year. Whether or not you agree in tinkering with market forces :-) it's a really interesting interview.
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2016, 01:50:43 PM »
I personally think homebrew sales are down because there are MORE homebrew stores. When I started we had one and then a few supplies were available to members at a Co-op. Now I count at least seven stores in the same area and there may be a couple more lurking out there. I know homebrewing increased with the last drop in the economy, but a sevenfold increase in stores means unless the number of homebrewers increased by 7X sales had to drop for the single store.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2016, 02:21:55 PM »
I personally think homebrew sales are down because there are MORE homebrew stores. When I started we had one and then a few supplies were available to members at a Co-op. Now I count at least seven stores in the same area and there may be a couple more lurking out there. I know homebrewing increased with the last drop in the economy, but a sevenfold increase in stores means unless the number of homebrewers increased by 7X sales had to drop for the single store.

Exactly.  As I read this thread I was wondering if it's total sales or same store sales that are dropping.

The hobby has grown so quickly I would bet there are too many stores.
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Offline OTIST

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Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2016, 03:29:08 PM »
I brew AG and the "significant other" factor should be considered too.  Lately, I've been getting a lot more "are you brewing again?" from the wife.  She just doesn't get it.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2016, 03:41:11 PM »
Maybe homebrew shop sales are down as people are brewing more and buying bulk supplies.  As much as I want to support LHBS, I would be brewing less with the differences in cost.

I also wonder is the homebrew shop sales are including the sales online or are they just brick and mortar sales?

I brewed an extract batch back in December, but it was a hard root beer.

The sales are down all over, at least per the interview. It didn't sound alarmist, just an observation. AHA does do some very good surveys of brewer behavior. I understand the hypothesis (all-grain brewing takes time, therefore people brew less, more brewers start out with AG or move to it earlier in their brewing experience, and brewing less = fewer sales overall), though there could be other drivers, such as an overall "craft beer bubble" that is softening. Gary Glass noted a significant number of homebrew stores closing last year. Whether or not you agree in tinkering with market forces :-) it's a really interesting interview.

Extract has a higher margin, so less extract hurts the bottom line. All grain is popular now, and combined with the rise of brew in a bag, less extract and fancy all grain equipment sales is a double whammy. Some are brewing less, but the AHA also knows that 4200+ breweries is having an influence on that. As Mike pointed out, more stores in an area dilutes the sales per store. There are the bigger internet stores that are growing and taking some business from the mom and pop Local store. The AHA membership is strong, but the hobby is not seeing double digit growth like in a string of previous years, just single digit growth. Then there are all of those guys Homebrewing like crazy to nail the recipes down, then they go pro and don't Homebrew (much). No one single answer, is there?
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