Author Topic: Purchasing liquid yeast  (Read 422 times)

Offline Kirk

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Purchasing liquid yeast
« on: August 03, 2020, 07:28:47 PM »
Hi everyone,

I own a home brewing supply store (not trying to advertise), and wondering how many of you order liquid yeast rather than buy locally (if you have a LHBS)? I've been open for a year and a half and have a very small online presence. I find it incredibly difficult to keep a good variety of liquid yeast in stock due to the short expiration dates. White labs takes approximately 2 months to get yeast through their QC process, giving a retailer or consumer around 4 months to actually use it before hitting the expiration date. I started with a pretty good stock, but ended up throwing away over $500 worth. I've since learned my lesson and only handle the better selling ones.

Do you buy yeast from the bigger online stores like Northern B and Midwest or do you prefer to buy it locally?

Hope everyone is having a great summer! Cheers!

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Purchasing liquid yeast
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2020, 07:40:43 PM »
When I had a LHBS I would buy as much of my supplies there as I could, including liquid yeast, to do my part to keep them open.  They had a very good selection of yeasts. 

Sadly that was our last LHBS and it closed last year.

Paul
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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Purchasing liquid yeast
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2020, 08:59:48 PM »
Do you buy yeast from the bigger online stores like Northern B and Midwest or do you prefer to buy it locally?

I buy locally whenever possible, because it's cheaper overall (not having to pay shipping or for ice packs), more reliable (especially in the summertime temperatures), and I want to support my LHBS. They generally have what I need, and will special order stuff if I give them lead time, and worst case they have appropriate substitutions. That said, I live in southern California, and my preferred LHBS is only a 10 minute drive away, so I have a leg up over my dad, who lives in South Dakota and is 90 miles away from the closest shop! He usually orders on-line for liquid yeast, because 90 miles is a LOOOOOONG way to drive for some yeast.
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Offline chinaski

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Re: Purchasing liquid yeast
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2020, 09:06:01 PM »
I rarely purchase liquid yeast on-line.  My local store must move it well because they offer a big selection of Wyeast.  Sometimes they don't have a particular strain because its out of stock but I can usually find an acceptable alternative.

If you ever find yourself about to throw out yeast- let us know.  I, for one, am not afraid of a deal that requires a starter to be made.


Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Purchasing liquid yeast
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2020, 09:40:59 PM »
Serendipity plays a role for me.  My LHBS is 10 miles or so from my house and he remodeled his shop recently due to structural issues in his building, and also pivoted to becoming a cidery and winery, too, when he reopened the location.  He also has an eclectic variety of beers on tap and packaged beer and wine.

He was an early supporter for Omega yeast (only 35 miles away), so he gets fresh Omega products regularly.  I also have him order items for me on occasion.  He also sells to his repeat and regular customers at a dramatic discount when yeasts are approaching an end date, knowing that we don’t mind making starters to proof a batch.

Not sure how much of that helps you, but I support my LHBS for all of the above reasons.  If it were an hour away, I might feel differently, but I would probably time my purchases better and buy in larger bulk for some things, so that I could justify the travel.
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Offline Kirk

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Re: Purchasing liquid yeast
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2020, 10:21:11 PM »
I rarely purchase liquid yeast on-line.  My local store must move it well because they offer a big selection of Wyeast.  Sometimes they don't have a particular strain because its out of stock but I can usually find an acceptable alternative.

If you ever find yourself about to throw out yeast- let us know.  I, for one, am not afraid of a deal that requires a starter to be made.

Yeah I hear you. Some of my pain is simply being new as a store owner, but liquid yeast in general has been the most difficult portion of my business so far. I make starters all the time. I even offered to make the starter for customers free of charge. A couple actually took me up on this, but it was far and few between. What is the oldest yeast you've tried to make a starter with?

Offline Kirk

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Re: Purchasing liquid yeast
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2020, 10:23:20 PM »
Serendipity plays a role for me.  My LHBS is 10 miles or so from my house and he remodeled his shop recently due to structural issues in his building, and also pivoted to becoming a cidery and winery, too, when he reopened the location.  He also has an eclectic variety of beers on tap and packaged beer and wine.

He was an early supporter for Omega yeast (only 35 miles away), so he gets fresh Omega products regularly.  I also have him order items for me on occasion.  He also sells to his repeat and regular customers at a dramatic discount when yeasts are approaching an end date, knowing that we don’t mind making starters to proof a batch.

Not sure how much of that helps you, but I support my LHBS for all of the above reasons.  If it were an hour away, I might feel differently, but I would probably time my purchases better and buy in larger bulk for some things, so that I could justify the travel.

I like Omega labs yeast as well - nice product. Definitely support your LHBS! This is a tough business!

Offline denny

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Re: Purchasing liquid yeast
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2020, 10:24:54 PM »
I rarely purchase liquid yeast on-line.  My local store must move it well because they offer a big selection of Wyeast.  Sometimes they don't have a particular strain because its out of stock but I can usually find an acceptable alternative.

If you ever find yourself about to throw out yeast- let us know.  I, for one, am not afraid of a deal that requires a starter to be made.

Yeah I hear you. Some of my pain is simply being new as a store owner, but liquid yeast in general has been the most difficult portion of my business so far. I make starters all the time. I even offered to make the starter for customers free of charge. A couple actually took me up on this, but it was far and few between. What is the oldest yeast you've tried to make a starter with?

For me, it.was 3 1/2 years old.
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Offline Kirk

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Re: Purchasing liquid yeast
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2020, 10:38:33 PM »
I rarely purchase liquid yeast on-line.  My local store must move it well because they offer a big selection of Wyeast.  Sometimes they don't have a particular strain because its out of stock but I can usually find an acceptable alternative.

If you ever find yourself about to throw out yeast- let us know.  I, for one, am not afraid of a deal that requires a starter to be made.

Yeah I hear you. Some of my pain is simply being new as a store owner, but liquid yeast in general has been the most difficult portion of my business so far. I make starters all the time. I even offered to make the starter for customers free of charge. A couple actually took me up on this, but it was far and few between. What is the oldest yeast you've tried to make a starter with?

For me, it.was 3 1/2 years old.

Wow! That's impressive.... I take it the beer tasted fine?

Offline Bob357

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Re: Purchasing liquid yeast
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2020, 11:19:41 PM »
IMO, you're doing right by only stocking only what you can move while it's still at a reasonable age. The last local shop I used lost my business when they sold me a vial of yeast that was outdated by 4 months. Instead of offering to make it right, one of the owners said, "just make a starter" I told him that I always made starters for liquid yeast, but wouldn't pay a premium price for an outdated product. After his shoulder shrug, I took my business elsewhere.

Your real customers will understand your limitations if you explain to them that you only sell quality product and offer them substitutes or special orders. Any customer worth retaining will work with you if they are assured of your good intentions.
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Online tommymorris

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Re: Purchasing liquid yeast
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2020, 11:29:04 PM »
I usually avoid liquid yeast because my LHBS doesn’t sell it. But, when I get the hankering I order it online and make a starter.

Liquid versus Dry must be a hard problem for the LHBS. I am sure many customers prefer liquid but some of that is based on false beliefs about liquid being a superior product. I don’t think dry yeast is inferior in any way. The only real advantage to liquid is more available strains. But, I survive with that dry has to offer (there is more and more variety all the time).

Offline Kirk

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Re: Purchasing liquid yeast
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2020, 12:32:32 AM »
IMO, you're doing right by only stocking only what you can move while it's still at a reasonable age. The last local shop I used lost my business when they sold me a vial of yeast that was outdated by 4 months. Instead of offering to make it right, one of the owners said, "just make a starter" I told him that I always made starters for liquid yeast, but wouldn't pay a premium price for an outdated product. After his shoulder shrug, I took my business elsewhere.

Your real customers will understand your limitations if you explain to them that you only sell quality product and offer them substitutes or special orders. Any customer worth retaining will work with you if they are assured of your good intentions.

Honestly, that's my biggest fear - losing customers. The profit on liquid yeast is next to nothing, and there are to many varieties to stock and move quick enough. I was doing $1 off for every month over, with a max of 3 months past the date. I've done starters before with older yeast (up to 3 or 4 months past) and it turned out fine. My issue is that most people don't want to do the starter, so I started offering the starter free of charge on expired yeast. That worked out ok, but many people still didn't take me up on the offer. I appreciate the feedback.

Offline Kirk

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Re: Purchasing liquid yeast
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2020, 12:35:07 AM »
I usually avoid liquid yeast because my LHBS doesn’t sell it. But, when I get the hankering I order it online and make a starter.

Liquid versus Dry must be a hard problem for the LHBS. I am sure many customers prefer liquid but some of that is based on false beliefs about liquid being a superior product. I don’t think dry yeast is inferior in any way. The only real advantage to liquid is more available strains. But, I survive with that dry has to offer (there is more and more variety all the time).

It is hard to keep a good fresh stock. I've made plenty of beer with both liquid and dry, and I thought they all turned out great. I agree - some of it is likely due to the variety and specific strains available in liquid form.

Offline denny

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Re: Purchasing liquid yeast
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2020, 02:06:26 PM »
I rarely purchase liquid yeast on-line.  My local store must move it well because they offer a big selection of Wyeast.  Sometimes they don't have a particular strain because its out of stock but I can usually find an acceptable alternative.

If you ever find yourself about to throw out yeast- let us know.  I, for one, am not afraid of a deal that requires a starter to be made.

Yeah I hear you. Some of my pain is simply being new as a store owner, but liquid yeast in general has been the most difficult portion of my business so far. I make starters all the time. I even offered to make the starter for customers free of charge. A couple actually took me up on this, but it was far and few between. What is the oldest yeast you've tried to make a starter with?

For me, it.was 3 1/2 years old.

Wow! That's impressive.... I take it the beer tasted fine?

Yep.  Took a few stepups but turned out fine.  This is nothing I would encourage anyone to do as a regular procedure.  I did it because I wanted to see if it would work.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Megary

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Re: Purchasing liquid yeast
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2020, 03:22:34 PM »
IMO, you're doing right by only stocking only what you can move while it's still at a reasonable age. The last local shop I used lost my business when they sold me a vial of yeast that was outdated by 4 months. Instead of offering to make it right, one of the owners said, "just make a starter" I told him that I always made starters for liquid yeast, but wouldn't pay a premium price for an outdated product. After his shoulder shrug, I took my business elsewhere.

Your real customers will understand your limitations if you explain to them that you only sell quality product and offer them substitutes or special orders. Any customer worth retaining will work with you if they are assured of your good intentions.

Honestly, that's my biggest fear - losing customers. The profit on liquid yeast is next to nothing, and there are to many varieties to stock and move quick enough. I was doing $1 off for every month over, with a max of 3 months past the date. I've done starters before with older yeast (up to 3 or 4 months past) and it turned out fine. My issue is that most people don't want to do the starter, so I started offering the starter free of charge on expired yeast. That worked out ok, but many people still didn't take me up on the offer. I appreciate the feedback.

I don't know if this helps or not, but its a data point.

My LHBS carries a small variety of White Labs liquid yeast...maybe 5-6 varieties at most.  But only 001 can I ever expect to find (reasonably) "fresh".  I might get lucky and find the cooler stocked just after an order has arrived, but I would never count on say..013 or 080 being there on a whim.  Those I would special order.
They have a fantastic assortment of dry yeast however.

All other brands of Liquid yeast I order from MoreBeer, in the cooler months only.

If you aren't making any money on liquid yeast, can you look into another supplier or another brand??  If given the choice of having a LHBS with liquid yeast I'm not familiar with or having a LHBS that went out of business carrying my preferred yeast, I would take the former every time. 

Good luck!