Author Topic: How's your LHBS doing?  (Read 1345 times)

Offline Wilbur

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 356
    • View Profile
How's your LHBS doing?
« on: April 18, 2018, 03:33:27 AM »
My local shop is on the struggle bus... It seems like they're perpetually in a state where they might not be open the next day. It's really a hydroponics shop that added a homebrew element to bring in more business. I think most in the area shop online, because it seems like a ton of people brew in the area, even if they aren't affiliated in a club.

How about you guys?

Offline Robert

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1681
    • View Profile
Re: How's your LHBS doing?
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2018, 03:58:32 AM »
You know, I went in to talk to my guy today, actually to tip him off to a potential opportunity distributing for a new malt house, whose owner I'd just talked to.  He just seemed harried and tired, as always these days.  He's fulfilling for Amazon,  has a distillery going, but the brew shop biz seems to grind him down.  I hope something like localism (subject of my visit -- he's selling local hops already -- ) helps LHBS carve out a niche the big online dealers don't occupy.  (Mine FWIW is 30+ years old, early on national by mail, and also longtime online.)
Rob
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline dbeechum

  • Administrator
  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 2704
  • Pasadena, CA
    • View Profile
    • Experimental Brewing
Re: How's your LHBS doing?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2018, 04:08:46 AM »
My shop (Home Beer Wine Cheesmaking Shop) has been in business since 1972 and they're definitely fighting for business these days. Our club does a lot to rally around and encourage sales from the store, etc. Really sucks to see the strain.
Drew Beechum - Maltosefalcons.com
- Vote in the AHA GC Election! - http://bit.ly/1aV9GVd  -
-----
Burbling:
Gnome is in the Details
*Experimental Brewing - The Book*
Tap:
Peanut Butter Jelly Time
Tupelo Mead
Farmhouse Brett Saison

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 9642
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: How's your LHBS doing?
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2018, 12:44:20 PM »
We have a hybrid shop literally in the parking lot of the brewery complex (it is also a bottle shop/draft house). Business is not great in spite of a decent selection he has considered shutting it down and has made the footprint a lot smaller.

Offline dls5492

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 291
    • View Profile
Re: How's your LHBS doing?
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2018, 01:47:56 PM »
Our LHBS just closed. They weren't making much money and they have families to support. I completely understand. The closest shop to us now is about an hour drive away. Plus, there is ordering on line.
David S.
Cedar Falls, IA
Club: Cedar River Association of Zymurgy Enthusiasts (CRAZE)

And the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. II Cor. 3:17

Offline Brutal Eric

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 46
    • View Profile
Re: How's your LHBS doing?
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2018, 02:30:34 PM »
We must shop at the same store Wilbur. Same story lol. Sucks

Offline secondbase

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 17
    • View Profile
Re: How's your LHBS doing?
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2018, 03:14:19 PM »
My LHBS seems to be doung pretty well. It's also a garden and plant supply store and the customer service is excellent. I try to buy everything except hops there.

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3144
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: How's your LHBS doing?
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2018, 03:33:04 PM »
I believe the numbers are correct that the hobby has/is retracted from its peak a few years ago.

Shopping for homebrewing has changed a lot in the past few years. BIAB cut out buying mash tun equipment and being able to buy these all-in-one brewing systems directly or through Amazon can't be helping. Similarly, a lot more people have kegerators at home for commercial beer which means they aren't buying that equipment from homebrew shops either.

Another issue is that homebrew shops are competing against their past sales. At least here the local craigslist always has several complete homebrew setup listings for dirt cheap. I know several people who bought $500 of equipment for $100 from people getting out of the hobby. Hard to imagine stores can survive just selling people grain and hops.

Beyond stores that have a competitive online presence or a strong local following, I don't know what will keep a lot of stores open in the current business model. A lot of stores will have to rethink their business model or close.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 19470
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: How's your LHBS doing?
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2018, 03:50:08 PM »
we have 2 here.  One is doing very well, the other not so much.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline blatz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3435
  • Paul Blatz - Jupiter, FL
    • View Profile
Re: How's your LHBS doing?
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2018, 03:58:37 PM »
We have a hybrid shop literally in the parking lot of the brewery complex (it is also a bottle shop/draft house). Business is not great in spite of a decent selection he has considered shutting it down and has made the footprint a lot smaller.

My 'local' is actually a small hybrid business, actually 3 biz - they supply distribute grain to most of the breweries in florida, have their own small brewery (I think 3 or 7 bbl system though it may have changed) and a small homebrew operation.  On my trips over to that coast, I usually buy my bulk grain and other large items that don't ship free from them, and buy specialty grains and everything else online.  I'm grateful that they have other businesses, as I doubt they'd survive on homebrewers alone.

I think the LHBS concept is dead unfortunately.  for people who want to jump into the hobby, there is plenty of info and support via online forums and books, and its easier to order things online these days.
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281

Offline thcipriani

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 181
    • View Profile
Re: How's your LHBS doing?
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2018, 08:57:14 PM »
There are 2 shops close-enough to me to call them my LHBS. Both seem to be doing really well (although admittedly I'm not familiar with the finances of either). One interesting point about both is that they have tap rooms where they serve beer they brew in-house. Boulder Fermentation Supply/Vision Quest brewing is one of the tap rooms I frequent most-often. Brewmented in Longmont has a lot of guest taps from breweries around town. I still go out of my way a bit to go to Vision Quest because the beer is awesome.
Tyler Cipriani
Longmont, CO
http://gangsta.party/

Offline ynotbrusum

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2805
  • Da mihi sis cerevisiam.
    • View Profile
Re: How's your LHBS doing?
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2018, 09:06:45 PM »
My LHBS down-sized and moved across the street from its original location, so it could remodel the old space into a wine production and tasting bar (beer license also).  The shop will stay active for as long as it remains viable in the location across the street and may be helped by the wine making and serving aspect at the remodeled location.  Definitely a different business model and I hope it works for them.  Wine had become a bigger draw over the last few years, but he has kept up with the essentials and I can order anything special and have it for pick up within a couple days, typically.  I want him to be open, so I try to get all ingredients from him and some equipment (though he wasn't set up for a lot in the equipment category).
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline Druman07

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: How's your LHBS doing?
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2018, 01:17:14 AM »
My shop seems to be doing well, and of course i continue to support them. Great people, good variety of ingredients, and just a pleasure to deal with.
Home Brew & Hand Grenades - Baldwin, NY

Offline Robert

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1681
    • View Profile
Re: How's your LHBS doing?
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2018, 01:36:23 AM »
You know, I went in to talk to my guy today, actually to tip him off to a potential opportunity distributing for a new malt house, whose owner I'd just talked to.  He just seemed harried and tired, as always these days.  He's fulfilling for Amazon,  has a distillery going, but the brew shop biz seems to grind him down.  I hope something like localism (subject of my visit -- he's selling local hops already -- ) helps LHBS carve out a niche the big online dealers don't occupy.  (Mine FWIW is 30+ years old, early on national by mail, and also longtime online.)
Want to clarify, mine is doing great; any time I'm there (was back again today) employees are busy packing orders to ship, there are customers in the shop, everyone's busy, but I think that's it -- they have to work their @$$&s off, probably on smaller orders, to keep up.  Maybe as one shop doing well,  they're surviving at someone else's expense.  It sounds like the market is shaking out big time And most won't survive.  And the other businesses (distillery/make your own wine)  no doubt make money with less stress. I know the Amazon thing is a real devil's bargain for them.  But amazingly there are two other shops in a 20 mile area, at least one of which also seems to be okay.  The other would be no great loss.  And they are the only straight up brew-shop-only.
Rob
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8878
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: How's your LHBS doing?
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2018, 02:27:52 AM »
I believe the numbers are correct that the hobby has/is retracted from its peak a few years ago.

Shopping for homebrewing has changed a lot in the past few years. BIAB cut out buying mash tun equipment and being able to buy these all-in-one brewing systems directly or through Amazon can't be helping. Similarly, a lot more people have kegerators at home for commercial beer which means they aren't buying that equipment from homebrew shops either.

Another issue is that homebrew shops are competing against their past sales. At least here the local craigslist always has several complete homebrew setup listings for dirt cheap. I know several people who bought $500 of equipment for $100 from people getting out of the hobby. Hard to imagine stores can survive just selling people grain and hops.

Beyond stores that have a competitive online presence or a strong local following, I don't know what will keep a lot of stores open in the current business model. A lot of stores will have to rethink their business model or close.

Your points are spot on. I know some that buy and resell old equipment. I know some that are down sizing to smaller electric systems, selling their old rig.

I talked with some guys last fall that are in the equipment business, they say it is brutal right now.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!