Especially since I%u2019m not comparing my homebrew expenses to a 30 pack of Miller Light (nothing against Miller Light, I just don%u2019t enjoy it).
I think this is another huge consideration. I doubt that anyone would be able to compete with the price of something like Bud or Miller. They've optimized their processes to a degree that I'm certain we could not, and they buy ingredients in bulk at a price that we cannot. But I'm not trying to reproduce their beers, either.
I did the calcs a few months ago on my costs, and was pleasantly surprised to discover my cost per was way cheaper than any decent beer in the stores, and maybe as cheap or cheaper than Miller or Bud (I don't know what they charge per case).
Granted, my kit is probably the cheapest imaginable... boiling in a propane turkey fryer that cost me less than $40, mashing in a $10 igloo cooler; the most expensive items I have are a 2-roller grinder (<$90) and an immersion coil chiller (<$50). Igloos, plastic buckets, etc. No kegs, I probably spent $70 on a couple hundred PET bottles that I reuse.
And of course that's not costing in the time for my labor, but who does that for a hobby??
I need to do the calcs again and write them down, but I'm making solid (even 'great', arguably) craft beer for less than half of what a Sierra Nevada or Terrapin would cost me from the store... And that's only spreading the equipment costs over maybe 80-100 batches (I've only been brewing about 4 years or so.) Sunk-costs-wise, cost per batch just keeps getting cheaper.
I'll bet I'm close to matching the cost for buying Bud or Coors or Miller. Making great homebrews can be done super-cheaply, if you don't mind the cheap gear. I realize better gear might make the process more enjoyable, but I love the beers that I make.
And that's with higher cost malts too, Weyermann Barke, BestMalz, Mecca Grade, Simpsons/Crisp, etc. I almost never use basic 2-row pale.