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Beer Economics

July 21st, 2008

First Class is Cheapest

I said you had to be an idiot to spend hundreds of dollars on a bee hive, when honey is so cheap. And a commenter said I had spent $6000 on brewing, and that microbrews were available cheaper. I know he was kidding, but I did a calculation anyway. And I’m amazed at how cheap homebrewing is. I thought I was was getting a price break of about 80%, but it’s even bigger.

Here a six-pack of microbrew costs at least ten dollars, including tax. Some are worse, but that’s a good, solid figure. There are 72 ounces in a six-pack. So that comes out to about 14¢ per ounce. Not good.

I just realized I made a boo-boo. This is what I get for laying off coffee. Okay, let’s run with it anyway. I put the wrong number in the homebrew cost calculation the first time around. I’ll do it right this time.

I used to pay twenty bucks for ingredients for five gallons of beer. That’s 640 ounces. Do the math, and you get 3.125¢ per ounce. That’s less than 25% of the cost of microbrew. Ingredients are more expensive now, thanks to the hippies and the idiotic ethanol scam, but ingredient costs are hitting microbrews, too, and they will never be anywhere near as cheap as homebrew.

What if I had bought microbrew in the amounts in which I brewed my own beer? Let’s see. Multiply 640 by 0.14. You get almost ninety dollars. Good Lord.

It’s true, I spent money on equipment, but I went completely insane and still kept it under a thousand dollars, over six years. I’m not sure of the actual figure, but that’s probably correct. If not, it’s not far off. I don’t use fancy equipment.

Apart from the economics, homebrew is better than microbrewed beer. You get exactly what you want, and regardless of what anyone tells you, bottling adversely affects the taste of beer. When you drink from your own kegs, you’re drinking better beer, stored in the best possible way.

My beer is just plain superior to the fancy-shmancy stuff in liquor stores. And if you brew at home, your beer will be better, too.

What if I decided to keep bees? If the stuff I’ve read on the web is any indication, these days, it’s expensive. Hundreds of dollars for equipment for a single hive. And what do you get? Honey that is no better–maybe worse–than the honey you get at any store. What’s the most money you can save? I spend ten bucks or less per year on honey. So even if beekeeping cost nothing at all, the most I can hope to save is less than ten bucks per year.

I’m not seeing the logic.

My relatives in Kentucky used to keep bees, but they spent absolutely nothing. You prop a section of hollow log on a stone slab, paying nothing for materials, and you let the bees do their thing. If I could do it that way…no, it’s still a stupid idea. They did it because they were used to producing their own food, and they had lots of kids to feed. For me it would be silly.

I think I’ve proven that you have to be a fool not to brew your own beer. It would be IRRESPONSIBLE not to. Why, you have an obligation to start brewing, as soon as possible.

Get on it.

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