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Monday, March 16, 2009

Economics of Home Brewing

You can’t argue that any hobby has an associated cost to it. Many people hunt, fish, like to cook, etc. One of the coolest things I like about brewing beer at home is that if you are going to drink X number of beers you can save money by brewing your own vs. going to the liquor store and buying a 6-pack or a case of beer.
If you haven’t noticed, micro-brews or craft beers are quite expensive when you compare them to, well let’s just say some American Pilsner style beers, that I admit, drank a ton of these in my younger days. But as we get older our tastes become more refined and quality, not quantity becomes more important.

Depending on your location and what beer you get, a quality craft beer is going to cost you $7 - $10 per six pack. You will save a little bit by opting for a case but for comparison reasons let just say the cost per beer is: $1.25. When you compare this to the cost of brewing your own 5 gallon batch at home you’ll spend about $30 to make 5 gallons of beer (with an extract kit). That equals about $.57 per beer or about $3.42 per six pack.

Here’s another way to look at it:
Cost of 1 six pack a week from the store: $9 X’s 52 weeks = $468.00 per year.
Cost of a home brew six pack per week: $3.42 X’s 52 weeks = $177.84 per year.
Sure you can factor some other variables but you can conservatively save $250 a year or about $5 each week. That doesn’t even factor in the fact that you hopefully enjoy brewing your own beer and that my friend is priceless.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for all this info. It is very helpful. I don't know much about beer, however we did just visit a microbrewery/pizza place recently and it was fun. Both my husband and brother enjoy the occassional beer, and it sounds like a kit might be a nice gift. I will continue to glean more info from you before deciding whether or not they might like one, and if so which one.

March 17, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Thanks for the kind comments. I'm glad you find it helpful. This stuff is easy to write about because I truely enjoy this hobby. So thanks and lot more info to come : )

March 17, 2009  
Blogger brian_g said...

I think a kit would make a great gift. I bought one last summer. After looking at several kits, I decided on the Cooper's kit. It has everything for your first batch of beer. I liked it better then some of the other kits out there. I also looked at Mr. Beer. The thing I liked about Cooper's over Mr. Beer is that Mr. Beer is designed to make only 2.5 gallons of beer, while Cooper's can make 5 gal batches. 2.5 gallons sounds like a lot. The problem is that just about everything for homebrewers is designed around 5 gallon batches. Most kits make 5 gals of beer. Most recipes on the internet or in books are for 5 gal batches. So if you do mr. Beer, you are either stuck using their kits or you have to modify the recipes for 2.5 Gals. The major plus for Mr. Beer is that is probably the cheapest way to get started brewing.
I looked at some other kit being sold and I noticed that a lot of them didn't include all you need. It was usually everything but the bottles or everything but the ingredients. If I was going to invest in a beer kit, I wanted to make sure it really had everything I needed.
After weighing my options, I decided on the Coopers.

March 20, 2009  
Blogger jbolte1976 said...

Hi Brian,
I made that same decision and went with the Coopers kit, like you said, it's designed for the most popular kit size. I just bought a Mr Beer to test it out and Hopefully experiement a little (instead of experimenting with 5 gallons at a time). I'll probably buys some extract in bulk to test out some recipes in MR Beer, I just need to figure out a way to store the left overs. :)

March 20, 2009  
Blogger brian_g said...


You could start designing recipes around a 2.5 gal size. You could do an all grain on the stove. That could be fun for experimenting. But I don't think that would be very easy for a beginner to do. I think a person need a few batches under their belt before they start creating there own recipes.
If your using malt extract cans, I've heard of guys using a half can for Mr.Beer and then freezing the rest.

Btw, would you be interested in swapping links with my blog?

March 20, 2009  

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