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Truman42

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The wife went to get her hair done in Frankston on Saturday so I went along to get a quick trim. As womans hair always takes longer than mens, with colouring, straightening, idle gossip, and all that crap, I decided to go for a walk to Brew and grow around the corner to get a bottling wand and some crown seals.

But when I got there the place had shut down.

It seems to be the trend with home brew shops, and places like Coles and Woolies not stocking HB supplies anymore.

So is it that HB is a dying hobby, or is it more so that with online suppliers and the larger stores like G&G and KK selling more variety that these smaller shops just cant compete?
I would have thought that with BIAB and easier AG brewing, the hobby would be more popular now than it was say 15 years ago.

I can see a shop in Hallam being next as there is never anyone in that shop when I go and I only go there to get emergency supplies as its just around the corner from work. I would love to support the smaller guys but shops like Brew and Grow really dont stock enough variety and seem to only cater for extract and K&K brewers. (That is unless your hobby is to grow and smoke rather than brew and drink.)
 

Rowy

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The wife went to get her hair done in Frankston on Saturday so I went along to get a quick trim. As womans hair always takes longer than mens, with colouring, straightening, idle gossip, and all that crap, I decided to go for a walk to Brew and grow around the corner to get a bottling wand and some crown seals.

But when I got there the place had shut down.

It seems to be the trend with home brew shops, and places like Coles and Woolies not stocking HB supplies anymore.

So is it that HB is a dying hobby, or is it more so that with online suppliers and the larger stores like G&G and KK selling more variety that these smaller shops just cant compete?
I would have thought that with BIAB and easier AG brewing, the hobby would be more popular now than it was say 15 years ago.

I can see a shop in Hallam being next as there is never anyone in that shop when I go and I only go there to get emergency supplies as its just around the corner from work. I would love to support the smaller guys but shops like Brew and Grow really dont stock enough variety and seem to only cater for extract and K&K brewers. (That is unless your hobby is to grow and smoke rather than brew and drink.)
IMHO I think that most of those shops cater to K&K brewers and AG is taking over to a degree so the places that attract those sort of customers get the market.

When I started doing K&K's the bloke that looked after me at Cleveland was a good bloke but couldn't compete on the AG front so I left. Still a good bloke but I am doing differnent things. (Hope this sounds alright I may have imbibed today) :p
 

Wolfy

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So is it that HB is a dying hobby, or is it more so that with online suppliers and the larger stores like G&G and KK selling more variety that these smaller shops just cant compete?
I would have thought that with BIAB and easier AG brewing, the hobby would be more popular now than it was say 15 years ago.

I can see a shop in Hallam being next as there is never anyone in that shop when I go and I only go there to get emergency supplies as its just around the corner from work. I would love to support the smaller guys but shops like Brew and Grow really dont stock enough variety and seem to only cater for extract and K&K brewers. (That is unless your hobby is to grow and smoke rather than brew and drink.)
With the increasing interest in 'Craft Brewing' I doubt that the hobby is dying.

However, most local 'Brew Shops' appear to be targeted toward kit-brewers and other-alcohol-products (such as extracts and the like), given the name of the shop you mentioned 'Brew and Grow" one assumes that a large part of their business was focused to growing some weeds.

My LHBS (the other one you mention) does not stock anything that I can imagine I want to buy, or offer any advice that I imagine I'd want to hear - so they do not get my business and if they go away it will be no loss to me. I drive past them to Keg King, or to Grain and Grape, both of which stock many products I am interested in and both can usually provide adequate advice. Other than that I buy off the net or in bulk, both of which make my 'LHBS' totally irrelevant to me.
 

Rowy

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With the increasing interest in 'Craft Brewing' I doubt that the hobby is dying.

However, most local 'Brew Shops' appear to be targeted toward kit-brewers and other-alcohol-products (such as extracts and the like), given the name of the shop you mentioned 'Brew and Grow" one assumes that a large part of their business was focused to growing some weeds.

My LHBS (the other one you mention) does not stock anything that I can imagine I want to buy, or offer any advice that I imagine I'd want to hear - so they do not get my business and if they go away it will be no loss to me. I drive past them to Keg King, or to Grain and Grape, both of which stock many products I am interested in and both can usually provide adequate advice. Other than that I buy off the net or in bulk, both of which make my 'LHBS' totally irrelevant to me.

Like wolfy said :p
 

Bribie G

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My own take on this is from the point of view of an elderly gent (as you perceive me :p ) who actually ran a LHBS in the late 1970s at the time that HB was getting a go-on with the first kits on the market.

Initially there was a big interest in kits and extract brewing, with the brewers realising they wouldn't be able to recreate XXXX or Carlton, but make a tasty brew they could get pissed on. This market stayed fairly stable until a few years ago with quite a few long lived LHBS, when the supermarkets got into it and Coopers in particular started some national advertising.

coopers_ad.jpg


Combined with the rising interest in craft beers such as JS and LC many new home brewers got into the market and everything boomed, including the LHBS. At the same time a hard core of AG brewers arose, sort of "in parallel" to the kit brewers and became what we see today on our forum and the clubs and events around Australia.

The supply of AG ingredients became fairly centralised into some strong regional/national suppliers such as MHB, CraftBrewer, Grain and Grape etc et. The LHBS couldn't really become strong in this market because in each of their catchment areas there were either only a few, or no, AG brewers.

To supplement their income most LHBS turned to distilling requirements, as the government has de-facto legalised this craft (or doesn't enforce the laws) and this enabled LHBS to enter an new period of stability.
However for new brewers entering the store, the LHBS couldn't really advise on aspects such as AG because they were unable to offer the products.

This is a double edged sword, because they need to retain their brewers as kit or extract - but supermarkets are very convenient and "bleed" a lot of their sales. A lot of supermarkets have gone out of HB but many still stock. So a lot of new brewers go to them, but no advice available.

My own opinion is that Coopers et al should look carefully at their future and maybe decide NOT to supply the supermarkets and reinstate the LHBS as the point of sale and advice, to avoid a collapse in kit and extract brewing.



Discuss B)

Edit:

A silly quirk is that the Coopers Distribution "contractor" refuses to supply the likes of Craftbrewer (who is in a perfect position to offer advice to home brewers) because there is a LHBS allocated to his area, but Coopers will quite happily have their stock in IGA or Woolies in the same area where the staff are unable to offer advice.

Further discuss :rolleyes:
 

Phoney

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Online sales are definitely hurting the bricks and mortar shops. The only reason I ever have to go to a LHBS nowadays is to swap a c02 tank over, then I'm like a kid in a toystore and usually walk out with something else but this is once every 6 months instead of once every few weeks. And when you're shopping online it doesnt matter if the store is located 10km away or 1000km away, price and variety always wins out which means the little guys always lose.
 

Dazza88

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Isn't there a general trend of retailing doing it tough at the moment?
 

pk.sax

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I gotta say Bribie nailed it.

The biggest brew shop here is hellbent on staying out of AG and they have other concerns like cheese making under the same roof, floor area wise, the shop is bigger than g&g.

You might've noticed but on this forum itself there is a disproportionate number of people that are first gen Aussies.
Point being, most have plenty of other interests, those tht venture into HB never go past k&k. As easy as it sounds, AG brewing does require some brainwork & time, the number of it people and tradesmen on this forum dwarfs others, markets respond to demographics.

As Melbourne grows and the population pushes outwards, they are displacing the so called 'lazy crowd'. The k&k clientele is melting away.

There are definite ways to relate these trends to what happens on the ground.
 

peaky

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I buy all of my grain in bulk buys, except for the odd kilo of specialty grain (which I purchase online anyway). Almost all of my hops come from the US. ALL of my yeast comes from swapping slants with other slanters around the country. I own very little equipment, some of it I make at work myself, almost nothing gets purchased from LHBS. All of my brewing questions are answered by searching online.

It's (kinda) funny how I normally try to support local small business when I shop for everything except brewing stuff.

Sorry to the bricks and mortar LHBS owners....


I also do a lot of spearfishing and ALL of my dive equipment is purchased locally from the shop (never online). As far as diving goes I get better answers to my questions in-shop rather than online.
 

dr K

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LHBS get a lot of support and so they should, but the simple fact is that are those that just push product (usually Kits) out the door and those that really are part of the scene. Grain and Grape in Melbourne and Mark's Home Brew in Newcastle are two prominent examples of Brew Shops that are full of enthusiastic and knowlegdeable people (and thats just the customers !), of course there are many others.

G and G , MHB and others have supported this hobby for a long time, and their clients have reciprocated.
The hobby continues to grow.

K
 

Batz

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There's nothing like walking into a HBS, even if it's mainly K&K I still go in and say hi to the owner and have a look around.

batz
 

kelbygreen

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not only that but the closest store near me is usless and give ill advise so the chances of there costumers coming back or even brewing again is minimal. They said I could ferment beer in my shed during a heat wave of 38-42c for a week and a half straight without any aids to cool it down. There words where it will just ferment faster! Now I am not sure if any of you have fermented a beer at a stable temp of 35c but I can tell you that you will be going to the shop to buy some vb as it will taste like the best beer on earth at that point!

Needless to say that I never went back in there and found this forum then was buying kits from the supermarket, As one it was more convenient as I was already there and 2 you have to park like 500m away from the shop as it was in a main street and half the day you cant park there and the other half there is no way you can find a park. also there advice was shocking so you wasted your time asking them. The guy packing shelfs at coles prob had more of a idea how to brew then them and he prob only touched the cans to put on the shelf.
 

Smokomark

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IMHO I think that most of those shops cater to K&K brewers and AG is taking over to a degree so the places that attract those sort of customers get the market.

When I started doing K&K's the bloke that looked after me at Cleveland was a good bloke but couldn't compete on the AG front so I left. Still a good bloke but I am doing differnent things. (Hope this sounds alright I may have imbibed today) :p


You're right, Jeff at Cleveland is a great bloke, Ross at Capalaba is also. They are servicing different markets really, but i am happy to spend my money with either.
Without guys like Jeff a lot of people won't get into brewing at the entry level.
Without guys like Ross a lot of us wouldn't realise our passion for brewing.
 

the_new_darren

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My own take on this is from the point of view of an elderly gent (as you perceive me :p ) who actually ran a LHBS in the late 1970s at the time that HB was getting a go-on with the first kits on the market.



My own opinion is that Coopers et al should look carefully at their future and maybe decide NOT to supply the supermarkets and reinstate the LHBS as the point of sale and advice, to avoid a collapse in kit and extract brewing.



Discuss B)
I reckon Coopers should re-establish "shop front" sales of malt to homebrewers like they used to do.

Coopers crystal was the ducks nuts. as was the wheat and pale, but alas, the olden days are gone.

tnd
 

wessmith

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I reckon Coopers should re-establish "shop front" sales of malt to homebrewers like they used to do.

Coopers crystal was the ducks nuts. as was the wheat and pale, but alas, the olden days are gone.

tnd
Who do you think made their crystal malt Darren?

Wes
 

Feldon

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Seems the demise of bricks & mortar homebrew shops is not restricted to Australia.

A newbie posted this today on UK forum Jim's Beer Kit :

Hi all, I am looking for a home brewing shop based in London, ideally close to SW4 (no car). I just need to get some dry malt (ideally coopers light) for a kit brew, so a small place that does some brewing equipment would be ideal...​

and a reply :

... Your nearest supplier is roughly about 7 miles away from your postcode. Its a frequent problem that people these days dont have a "local" home brew shop - they can be few and far between (my nearest shop is 16 miles away and rarely ever open, meaning I use another one thats nearly 30 miles away ! ) The internet presents the best combination of price and convenience as you can shop from your armchair and its all delivered by postie​

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/viewtop...f=6&t=50055
 

bum

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I would have thought that with BIAB and easier AG brewing, the hobby would be more popular now than it was say 15 years ago.
Perhaps - not sure how that helps a LHBS that doesn't sell grain outside of a few bags of pre-packaged spec. This is the same LHBS where the register attendant once told me that "it's not worth all the trouble" of using grain.

However, I did have to wait about 15 minutes once while he designed a hydro system for some kid who can't have been 18.

I would love to support the smaller guys but shops like Brew and Grow really dont stock enough variety and seem to only cater for extract and K&K brewers.
They supported extract brewers? Pig's arse! I've told this story before but early on in my brewing career, I once went in there with an idea to brew an all-extract wheat beer (turns out that wasn't the best idea in the world but I digress). I explained to the guy what I needed (tins of wheat goop). He says "where are you going to get your bitterness from?" and I say "I'll boil it up with some hops...?".

I swear I am not making this up - he says "Can you even do that?!"

Good riddance.
 

kelbygreen

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places like nevs that sell just kits and a few brown pumps, I cant see how they keep running ;)
 

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