Why is it that so many new brewers are nervous about making their first trip to the local home brew shop? Many newbies avoid this as long as possible. Do you fall into this group of new brewers that have avoided going to the local physical store? Let me know down into the comments what your reason is for waiting. Here is the story of the first trip to my local homebrew store.
I Avoided My Local Homebrew Store Too!
How do I know that many new brewers avoid the local home brew shop? As a new brewer, I fell into this trend as well. With the rise of internet shopping and two day delivery, I was drawn in by the allure of web based brew stores and not entering my local homebrew store.
(Become more knowledgeable about the world of homebrewing by reading How To Brew by John Palmer. If you purchase this product we can make a small percent of the sale and keep the site running!)
The real reason I didn’t want to go into an actual store was my lack of knowledge. I didn’t want to be pegged as a newbie by others with more knowledge than myself. Here’s the real truth though: Owner’s of local stores NEED new brewers to grow their business. Their number one goal is to help you find success so that you keep brewing and buying from them.
As a new brewer, use this relationship to your advantage. Your store owner has a wealth of knowledge that you can access for free, you just have to ask. I suggest you put your owner to the test and find out how helpful and knowledgeable they are as soon as you meet. Ask them questions and feel out how helpful they are to you. They should be willing to assist in every way to make sure you have a successful first brew day.
(Go to the store with some confidence. Learn all about the Necessary Extract Equipment for Brewing by reading our previous post.)
How to Overcome Your Initial Fear
Start a dialogue with your local store owner. An email is a great ice-breaker for those who fear the home brew store. Introduce yourself, ask for help, and give the owner a chance to respond and welcome you to their shop. Find a time which they can give you their attention and set you up with the ingredients or equipment you need.
You have to get off your rear and walk into the store. I promise, once you do you’ll regret waiting. My store owner has helped with recipe formulation, ingredient substitutions, and of course sampling the end product!
Don’t Forget to be Flexible
When it comes to brewing, there are a million different ingredients available. As a store owner, it would be virtually impossible to stock everything under the sun. Be flexible with your local home brew store owner. In the worst case scenario, they can order that special ingredient for you.
(Pick a style that first time brewers can be successful brewing by reading our article: Five Steps to Choosing Your First Extract Beer. You’re local store will appreciate that you didn’t pick a barrel aged sour for your first attempt!)
There are often times reasonable substitutions available for many products. Listen to the advice your store owner gives you. You may want a fancy rare liquid yeast but maybe the style you’re brewing doesn’t dictate the need for that. They can let you know and steer you in the right direction.
Benefits of Buying Local
There are countless reasons that as brewers we should buy locally. There are five though that really stick out and I would like to cover with you.
- I know my ingredients are at the peak of freshness. I can reject yeast that is almost out of date before buying and having delivered to my home (not that my guy would do that). You watch my grains crushed right before your eyes. It doesn’t get any fresher!
- Knowing your store owner gives you a level of accountability in them. If my yeast doesn’t ferment, I can talk to the owner who has the power to do something about it from a customer service stand point. If an online yeast doesn’t work, how do you contact the business owner to tell them? Do they care? Will they blame it on shipping?
- I love my 2-day shipping. I can plan my brew on Monday and Tuesday and be brewing on Friday. However there is an even greater level of instant gratification when you can make the purchase at a store and get it now! Moreover, what if you find you forgot to purchase an ingredient? Are you going to wait two more days to brew? I can just run to my store and pick up the missing piece. Instant Gratification!
- You’re helping a community member make a living. You’re literally helping them put food on their tables at home. I don’t know about you, but I value doing that. Plus, if they run a great business, then they deserve to make a profit like any other business.
- Finally, who can you call for help if you have a brew day question? Your local store is there and can assist you whenever a question arises. Nice to have a backup plan should something go awry on brew day!
There’s simply nothing to fear about going to the local home brew store. If anything, you’re actually missing out on valuable knowledge that could assist you come brew day. So get up and get into the store. Introduce yourself and start a relationship that is mutually beneficial.
That mutually beneficial relationship is the key. They will take care of you and assist you because long term they stand to make a profit. You’ll receive the benefit of their experience and knowledge and your continued patronage will keep them in business. Supporting local business owners is the key to keeping the homebrewing movement alive.
Finally, all of these pieces add up to brewing better beer. Using the freshest ingredients and relying on the expertise of your local home brew shop owner will yield better results. So get off your rear, get into your local store, and start brewing better beer today. You won’t regret making the local connection like the one I made at my local homebrew store.