How much do you people spend on this hobby? I’m constantly get emails from brew supply places trying to sell me stuff. I mostly spend money on ingredients. It seems once your set up what more do you need. Hopefully more and more people start the hobby or these places are in trouble. I’ve never bought a kit and I don’t think serious home brewers do. Kits ate expensive better off buying alacarte I would think
Outside of ingredients I think I spent about $50 for new pieces of equipment so far this year. Improved temperature control and to have an extra bench capper on hand. Usually ingredients are kits when there is a discount offer. Convenient and saved dollars.
I haven’t bought any new equipment in past two years, just ingredients. If I had to guess I’m probably around $1.5k in gear at this point after 6ish years (kettle, burner, chiller, carboys, pump, stirplate, kegs, kegerator, faucets). I must admit I’ve been discussing some upgrades with some buds for larger batches we can split out which would make that number jump drastically but I’m not quite there yet. I tried out my new local LHBS and it was definitely cheaper on ingredients, but was sadly a bit dissapointed in the quality and freshness of his ingredients. I realize that kits are not the most efficient way to go in the long run, but haven’t talked the wife into buying bulk grains and hops yet. Someday. I’m averaging about 20 batches/year and can usually stock up when our host runs a 20% off sale to make it manageable and it’s still about half the price of buying cases.
This is what I’m saying. I don’t think the money is made on ingredients. Maybe they make a little more on kits but I’m seeing most buying sale kits. Sure there is the occasional uprade but it seems like the competition is pretty fierce. I don’t think I’d be surprised to see alot of these companies go down. The guy with a big shop near me tells me he sells more wine making stuff including juice and grape’s which he says is more lucrative. They have also added a brewery and distribute beer locally. I’m told the don’t make squat from brewing supplies.
I have two LHBS within about 30 minutes of me. One is pretty much ingredients and equipment only and is in about the cheapest rent area within that mileage of me. The other has higher rent but they’re also a craft bottleshop, sell craft beers on tap on premise and growler fills, decent pub food menu and they do brew on premise and teach extract brewing 101. They both seem to be doing fine.
I buy base grains by the sack, specialty by the pound, mill my own, hops by the pound, harvest and reuse yeast, etc… My most recent 5 gal batch of pilsner cost me $21 in ingredients and that included a new pack of yeast and dme for the starter. It’s way cheapr than buying beer.
My equipment which is all still perfectly serviceable has to have paid for itself many times over by now. CO2 has been my biggest expense recently but I think I have that worked out.
I started off with kits back in 20111-12, but quickly moved on to creating my own, although I do occasionally buy a kit if it looks interesting. I stock a lot of different specialty grains in the 1lb. range usually bought from NB, but buy the base grains when needed, usually from my LHBS. I’ve bought equipment slowly over the years as my experience and knowledge increased. Started out with the basic 2 plastic bucket setup, made a denny-style 5G cooler mashtun and bought a cheap 7G turkey fryer aluminum BK with burner early on. Bought the lab-grade hydrometers from NB, then a refractometer, got my water analyzed by Ward lab and downloaded Brun water, then bought various salts and acid malt. Bought a better quality 10G aluminum BK from a local restaurant supply store, and made a larger cooler mashtun. Last Christmas got a gift certificate for my LHBS, so bought a grain mill. Now I buy base grains in larger quantities from my LHBS. Last month I bought a pH meter, so now I feel I’m pretty much complete. I have no interest in moving into kegging (says I). I don’t calculate my cost per batch because that’s not why I brew. I enjoy the hobby, do about 20 batches yearly, give a lot of it away, and would do the same even if my costs were triple whatever they are.
P.S. I don’t tell my wife what I spend…
Like any hobby, there are just as many people figuring out how to do it on the cheap as there are gear fetishists. As much as I love my buckets and spend forever fretting over used freezer fermentation chambers, there are undoubtedly others upgrading their equipment as often as possible, stressing over incremental gains. More power to them, those guys subsidize my hobby.
When I brew extract, I buy kits. I tend to get them from NB when they’re on sale. My LHBS actually just made up a couple of their own kits. I bought one on pure blind faith just to support the business.
When I brew all grain, I brew 3 gallon batches. I’ll occasionally buy one of the limited selection of kits from Northern Brewer, but basically I buy sacks of base malt and specialty grain by the pound from wherever is convenient.
I get US-05, Notty, and SA-04 from Amazon. Liquid yeast I get from the LHBS or I do without. Wildly inconsistent ship times made NB lose my liquid yeast business.
I sincerely wish hombrew ingredients would be a profitable business, but perhaps it would be better for us all input homebrew supplies were more of a mainstream market than niche.
I have 2 LHBS near me and I buy my grains and juice from both. Would hate for them to close. It would really change the way I brew if I had to order everything online.
We HAD a home brew store up north of me… I really don’t think the owners knew what they where doing… Hence their demise… I’ve been buying bulk grains from breweries for many years, yeah I bought a couple of kits… I do enjoy dreaming about equipment and hoping some day to be set up close to a mini brewery… My last upgrade came in at about 750.00 bucks… BUT, I won’t ever need to change that piece of my gear… I am going to up grade my fermenting stuff… I use better bottles now, just lost my freez-mentor to become a keezer… Its cool enough up here now… 2 SS brew tech 7.5 gallon is in my sight… Each one will sit in a mini fridge with controllers… Put them on a rolling stand with empty keg storage underneath… That’ll be 700-900 bucks… Once its all together, say something causes me not to brew again, I don’t think I’d lose much if any… Then factor in the special craft brews I made and drank… I think I come out ahead… Sneezles61
My More Beer sculpture will be 10 years old this Christmas. That is as big as I plan to ever go so not much more equipment to add. Buy all my base malt by the sack. Hops depends on how far ahead I plan. Far enough out and I buy bulk, on a whim, whatever the LHBS charges. I reuse yeast a few generations sometimes.
In the winter however I do mostly kits or buy the stuff to make my own “kit”. We head south and of course all the stuff can’t go. I have bare bones equipment and order kits from mostly NB and Midwest when they are on sale. Keeps me brewing and having my own brewed beer. I find some of the kits are very good also. Need to talk the Mrs. into a southernmost kegorator or maybe just an extra fridge I can stick a tap in.
I think my initial buy in was relatively expensive based on how much money I make. A friend of mine who is now the head brewer at a local brewery walked me through the getting started process. His position was basically “get good equipment if you’re serious about this, it’ll save you a lot of BS when you’re actually brewing.” I’m glad I listened to him, all my good equipment has really made things easier.
I have a local homebrew store about 30 mins from my house so I tend to buy my ingredients from them. I usually round out at about $25-$30 a batch. Besides the buy in price for equipment, it really isn’t that expensive of a hobby for me.
I’ve spent a couple grand in my first 2 years of brewing but I’m pretty set now and just buy ingredients for whatever I’m brewing. With my keezer built, 15 gal brewpot and blichman burner bought, I buy hops in bulk and usually buy my grains and yeast from my LHBS. I may add a pump or other non-essentials with gift cards from the holidays but my set up is great for what I do and I make some pretty good beer. I do reuse yeast at times so my cost per batch on the ipas I brew is usually below $30.
I thought I was done spending money on equipment until I recently decided to go electric. I’ll probably drop another $1k on equipment for that, then I’ll be back to buying bulk grains and hops as needed.
Bought the NB starter kit that came with a “free” 8.5 gallon Megapot. I upgraded to a 15 and a 20 gallon Megapot to be able to go larger (10 gallon batches) and rarely use the 8.5 now. Bought our IC from NB but upgraded to a Jaded Hydra since it seemed the silver serpent took forever. Got the burner “free” from NB with purchase of some other stuff. I like very functional good quality stuff so probably have more into equipment than I should. All in I’d say we have about $1500 in equipment with a few more additions to go.
Did extract kits and bought most supplies from NB to start but quickly switched over to AG and develop my own recipes or use others’. I have a newer small HBS about 15 miles away who’s hours and selection can be a bit challenging but I do try to support him as much as possible. There is another amazing HBS about an hour away that has a very good selection of grain/yeast/hops as well as supplies for kegging and about anything else you’d need for beer, wine or mead. They also have an amazing beer/liquor/cigar selection so that helps make it worth the trip. If I go there I try to get bulk amounts of hops for my regular beers and things I know the smaller store won’t have.They also give a 10% AHA discount on ingredients. Their price on 2 row is $1.19 and MO is $1.49. I reuse yeast on some and buy new as well.
I admit I’m an equipment junkie and have quiet a bit wrapped up into this. I jumped in head first and with a Morebeer beer sculpture and my 3 conicals controlled by a glycol chiller I’m pretty much done in terms of buying things.
I buy everything in bulk. Even specialty grains are bought in 5lbs as I brew enough to use them up. I have a couple LHBS close by but prices are usually inflated and hours are strange. I’ll buy some yeast through them at times. The real big problem is they only sell a Briess and I’m a Rahr Guy.
Now I say that but I’ve been eying an all electric system…
VI am afraid to add it up…but it has leveled off now, at least until I buy another $700 of stuff from SS Brewtech ( stainless insulated mash tun and that 7 gal stainless fermentor). But for now all my stuff is working well so I will stay as is for a while. I do buy the kits but mainly as I have not gained any experience/ knowledge by trying to make my own recipes. That’s my next step.
I have one LHBS in my area but it’s a painful ( traffic) trip. So I mainly buy online.
My other hobby is electronics and programming. I’ve designed, built and programmed 2 temperature controllers for my fermentation chamber, (a 7.1 cu ft chest freezer.) I’ve probably spent enough on them to buy several temperature controllers, and a couple freezers too. Still it was very satisfying to work both of my hobbies in one project. That, and the fact that temperature control during fermentation made such HUGE improvements to the quality of my beer, that even the wife thought the expense was worth it. …Of course, she doesn’t know how much cheaper even top-shelf controllers are.
Me did buy last month some new carboys from nb. And hops. Pwb starsan. Grains i do get from the BREWERY. Free. 2 weeks ago did buy. Some. Beer kegs. To build a new. Brewsystem. And order. Stuff to build this. This was the most i spent this year on building a new brew system. About 450 dollar
I guess there isn’t any way to tell how big and expensive your set up will get. If I could have foreseen the stuff I have now then I could have saved a lot of money on the equipment on the way.
Funny how some of it came full circle. Like most of us I started with a plastic bucket. Went to glass carboys and a SS conical. Now I use the conical but back to buckets. They are easier to carry and no fear of a disaster. Since the conical is too heavy and awkward to move I fill the buckets from the chiller then carry them to it. Way better lifting up a bucket than a 6.5 gallon glass carboy. So for 20 gallons I fill the buckets and dump them into the conical. Then fill them again and stick a bubbler on. This works for me so I don’t see much new equipment replacing that unless the buckets wear out.