Monday, June 18, 2007

Commercial vs. Home Brewed

There is a small handful of costs that go into brewing quality beer at home. In this post I will compare these costs to that of buying commercial beer. This turned into a longer post than I originally intended. Since I've "gotten into" some advocacy of the hobby, comparing the cost is a big selling point. There really is no comparison...but here goes...

After a number of attempts at a certain style, I've gotten some pretty darn good results. In my own opinion, I prefer some of my better beers over anything commercial. After I break into a fully conditioned batch of "liquid gold," I'm even more tickled to know that the pint I hold in my hand cost only 75 cents to make. Luckily its not a chore to make & bottle it...its really a very rewarding past-time.

In my comparison, the inclusion of equipment costs is sort-of difficult to figure in. On the commercial side, it's also difficult. Since it is a "fixed cost," I will go ahead and exclude it, and any other fixed costs. Also, the way I look at it, paying for cool new equipment is much like paying for a ride at an amusement park...its just FUN!

First up...Commercial Beer...What the heck are we paying for?

Production: barley & grains, hops, yeast, fossil fuel + tax
Packaging: new bottles, caps, 6-pack box, case box
Sanitation: cleaning products
Employees: waged, salary
Distribution: trucking, fees
Alcohol Tax: production, retail level
Mark-up: retail level

a. Avg. price of a good micro-brewed pale ale, 6-pack plus tax = $10.34
b. At that price a 12oz. bottle = $1.72
c. At the local pub, 1 pint...plus 50cent tip = $5.00
d. At a modest consumption of .5 gallon/week, bottled beer cost = $9.10
e. With consistency throughout the year, bottled beer cost = $473.20
f. At a modest consumption of .5 gallon/week, pub pints cost = $20
g. With consistency throughout the year, pub pints cost = $1,040.00
h. At .5 gallon/week, half bottled & half pub pints combo cost = $14.55
i. With consistency throughout the year, combo cost = $756.60

Now onto...Home Brewed Beer...

Production: barley & grains, hops, yeast, fossil fuel + tax/shipping
Packaging: bottle caps
Sanitation: half-cap-of-Iodiphor/batch
Employees: we work for beer
Distribution: basement to frig, glass, mouth, esophagus, belly
Alcohol Tax: None
Mark-up: None

a. Avg. price of an "all-grain" good home-brewed pale ale, 6-pack = $3.36
b. At that price a 12oz. bottle = $0.65
c. A poured pint = $0.75
d. At a modest consumption of .5 gallon/week, bottled beer cost = $3.00
e. With consistency throughout the year, bottled beer cost = $156.00
f. At a modest consumption of .5 gallon/week, pints cost = $3.00
g. With consistency throughout the year, pub pints cost = $156.00
h. At .5 gallon/week, half bottled & half pub pints combo cost = $3.00
i. With consistency throughout the year, combo cost = $156.00

So you can plainly see, after you get your home brewed beer to taste very much like any commercial beer out on the market, you will be saving a lot of money!

It costs roughly 3 times more for commercial beer from your local store!
It costs about 6.7 times more drinking pints at the local pub!

While brewing beer, you could also be putting $600/yr away for better things (vacation, a bike, clothes, CSA food shares, more brewing equipment, a bike, a skateboard, education, investments, cool toys for your kids)

Lastly, see...the big brewery's distribution can potentially lead to pretty disastrous results...



7 comments:

Brian said...

Good stuff. Nice breakdown on cost, and I do agree that hard costs should not be included here (i.e. equipment, advertising media etc).

Keep up the good work!
Brian

Ted Danyluk said...

Breaking this down and hashing out the numbers has caused a change in me. Now, every time I order a pint for 5 bucks, I think about my 75 cent pint at home. Sure that New Holland Mad Hatter tastes pretty darn good, but now its very easy for me to sip and enjoy only one.

My ultimate goal with home brewing is to only drink my own beer...or the vast majority. Breaking down the costs is definitely going to help.

Orange Loren said...

Where was this disaster? What happened here? Did they care to clean up after it like they do oil spills with hazardous broken glass for the wildlife? Oh my!

As for the cost breakdown, I couldn't agree more. I feel the exact same way with coffee. Get green, roast it yourself, grind, and brew. I just bought a stove top coffee brewer for only $2.50! Coffee at about 1pound for about $5. Buying a coffee in a coffee shop costs about $3. Can you believe that? 18kr = almost $3, probably more like $2.50. What a huge difference. In just 3 cups, I've made my "money back"! I just need a roaster and decaf coffee... that's the thing that's impossible to find here. Roasters, decaf coffee, and even grinders, so hard. Maybe I need to change that!

Cheers to learning trades for ourselves and then the savings on the wallet for doing what's actually tons of fun and then loads easier on the budget.

Love,
Lore

Ted Danyluk said...

Couldn't agree more, Lore! Hey that rhymes! I just copied that disaster pic from the web. Not really sure what happened. Maybe the driver was drunk on Grolsch. But I'd never do that to my home made beer...you can count on that!

Hey, I didn't sell yer roaster yet. So if you want to bring it back with ya, I can procrastinate a little bit longer. Ha!

Orange Loren said...

That sounds like fun, to have the roaster, but I'd want one of those cute smaller, by the pot models. Also, I have to worry about Swedish plugs/outlets, and even the wattage. It's 220 here, not 110. So, US appliances tend to run pretty inefficiently.

Thanks for the offer for my own machine back! hee hee.

I will see, in time. First, I'm trying the coffees they sell in stores and seeing what is out there. What do you call this? Learning about the new market, I believe.

Skål to great homemade drinks! (You know by now that skå=cheers, right?)

Lore

Richard C. Lambert said...

some advocacy of the hobby, comparing the cost is a big selling point. There really is no comparison...but here goes... how to use machine embroidery thread

Adiba Alam said...

They cleans cover and mats, tidies bedding calfskin furniture's, shines windows, mirrors, vinyl tiles and statues, washes garments and attire, autos and carports, scraps sinks, waste lines in kitchen and restrooms, irons drapes and so on.http://www.clearviewsurfaces.com/