BOSTON (MainStreet) -- If you like beer but don't like handing over $5 to $7 a pint at the bar or several times that per case, nobody's stopping you from brewing it yourself.
If anything, they're encouraging it. From $80 to $110 starter kits to books of recipes that clone almost any beer a drinker can find at the local pub or packaged-goods store, home brewing has become a thrifty and thriving alternative to hitting the bars or buying the bottles.
|Home brewing is cheaper than buying pints or cases and has a keg full of other benefits.|
"There's usually a reverse relationship with the economy where when the economy's down, people start picking up the hobby," says Gary Glass, director of the Boulder, Colo.-based American Homebrewers Association. "This time around, we were seeing growth as early as 2005 and 2006 before the economy was going down."
The AHA surveyed home brewing supply shops earlier this year and found that their gross revenue grew 16% last year, matching growth in 2009. Roughly 82% of those shops also saw an increase in beginner-kit sales as more beer fans take up the hobby.Home brewing requires a bit of an outlay at first, but it starts making that investment back in a hurry. That five cases' worth of initial spending is usually enough to buy a glass transporting and fermenting jug, a plastic fermenting bucket, stoppers, hydrometers, thermometers, tubing sanitizer, bottle fillers, bottle cappers, caps and recipe books that brewers will be using over and over again. The AHA even has a free downloadable copy of its beginner's guide in case you're still lost. Many of the home brewing essentials don't even need to be bought. Have a five-gallon pot kicking around the kitchen and a stove to sit it on? Great, you have a way to boil your brew. Have a few cases of used bottles laying around? Wash them out and you have something to put your beer into. Unfortunately, you will have to buy a $25 to $45 extract kit of ingredients, but that will be more than enough to make five gallons of brew. "That's more than two cases of beer," Glass says. "Since home brewers are usually making craft-style beer, that's a significant savings over what they'd usually be spending on similar beers."
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV