From the HBD Archive
From: Chris Shenton <chris@asylum.gsfc.nasa.gov>
Subject: Homebrew suppliers: Part 1 of 4 -- Introduction
Date: 1990-02-16 20:09:30 GMT

Comparison of Homebrew Suppliers: Representative Prices and Products
1990 Feb 16 Fri 15:09 Chris Shenton (chris@asylum.GSFC.NASA.GOV)



INTRODUCTION

The following lists unit prices for a sample of supplies from a number of
vendors. These are only representative data points on some of the more
common items and should help in deciding where to shop. Some vendors sell
in small quantities, and some only in large quantities, but give bulk
prices. Consult the notes following the table for addresses and
information about quantities. Please send me any other vendors you have
information about so I can keep this list current. Thanks for your support.


SELECTION PHILOSOPHY

I didn't include most specialty grains (or specialty items) because they
are ordered in small quantities. Prices selected are for lowest-cost
variety available; for example, if US and German Munich malt is available,
I quote the cheaper US variety.

When price or amount depends on quantity ordered, I've tried to select an
amount suitable for a couple of batches, because that's the way I would
order by mail. For example, if there are 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 Lb bags of grain,
I used the 20 Lb price because that seems like a realistic purchase
quantity -- enough for about two batches. Likewise, if there's a 6-can
discount on a case of extract, I quote that price, rather than the higher
per-can price. With hops, same deal: if there were 1, 2, 5, 10 oz packs,
I'd quote the 5 oz pack price.


OTHER SUPPLIERS

There are a couple suppliers which do not fit in the chart because they
specialize in only one item, or sell somewhat unusual items. They are
included separately from the chart and its addresses. (Freshops is
force-fit into the chart below, however).


PERUSAL

My guinea pig said he found the raw data too overwhelming and would prefer
a more iconic style. Therefore, I've taken my numbers (price per quantity),
and broken things into intervals, then marked them using the familiar $,
$$, $$$, $$$$ notation.

Then, for each supplier, I averaged the interval-measure of each available
ingredient to get an average value for all that supplier's merchandise.
Presented in an iconic form at the extreme right, this shows at a glance
which dealers are expensive (e.g.: Wine & Brew By You) and which are cheap
(e.g.: Green Acres and Brew For Less [I would hope so with a name like
that! :-]). Note that this ignores unavailable ingredients, and therefore
variety/selection; companies with only a couple inexpensive items (e.g.:
Freshops) come out looking good, too.

After the body of the chart, I list the minimum, average, and maximum
prices for the items, in dollars per the quantity-measure specified in the
column heading.

If you want more detailed info, send me a note and I'll send you the raw
data.


FEEDBACK

I would be willing to maintain a list of user reports for each vendor. Send
me any comments on ones you have dealt with: price, knowledge, quality,
freshness, turn-around time, etc. I'll compile and send out updates every
now and then.

If you have other vendors I didn't include, send me a line or two with the
prices calculated for the ingredients in this table. (I can't afford to
keep current on all the dealers!)


DISCLAIMER

Some suppliers will have inevitably been omitted. These include places with
no catalog (eg: Col. John's), places which charge for catalogs (eg: Brass
Corkscrew / Brewer's Warehouse), and places I am not aware of. I apologize
for any omissions.

(The obligatory null-statement indicating my opinions are no one else's.)



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