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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2011 * Archive through December 10, 2011 * Great customer service < Previous Next >

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Greg Brewer
Intermediate Member
Username: Greg_r

Post Number: 316
Registered: 03-2005
Posted From: 64.124.83.190
Posted on Monday, September 12, 2011 - 07:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My LHBS closed ("remodeling" according to the phone message for the last year) so buying on line is my best option. To limit shipping fees, I ordered practically everything I plan to use through next spring. Northern Brewer's flat shipping fee of $7.99 was one reason I gave them my order, as well as an excellent selection and fair prices.

My two very large boxes arrived as scheduled the same week I ordered, and the order was almost perfect except for one ounce of hops, where they sent Perle instead of Saaz. I sent them an email asking how I could exchange the hops, and within an hour they responded that a replacement was on the way. No hassles, no returns, simply sending me what I needed.

Just thought I'd share a very satisfying experience in a sector that can be much less than satisfying, including my former LHBS. Other than the convenience of having been local, I don't miss them!
 

robert rulmyr
Senior Member
Username: Wacobob

Post Number: 1076
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 72.48.216.253
Posted on Monday, September 12, 2011 - 10:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I was 'up' in Minnesota this summer. Bought 4 sacks of malt. They ( female employee ) picked up each sack and handed it to me as I placed it in my car-top carrier. Strong women from the North Country.
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 2927
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 76.28.105.249
Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 02:13 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I now have a conundrum.

For most of a decade, I have been spoiled by similar service from The Grape and Granary in Ohio. ("Similar" as in "fast, accurate filling of any size order and immediate correction of the rare small error", not as in "Brunhilde tossing grain bags one-handed into the air".) I can't praise those people enough.

(I had no quarrel with my local -- they gave fine service -- they just weren't very local, being more than an hour's drive away.)

Years of excellent service had made me extremely loyal to G&G. I'd like to continue using them forever.

But now I have a new local that is only 20 minutes away. Being new and small, their selection isn't huge. But the owners are incredibly nice, knowledgeable, helpful, and eager to grow the store. Their customer service is also top-notch.

I'm torn between a store which has treated me extremely well for years and a local guy trying to get some traction in a tough economy. Brew season starts in a few weeks. I have to make a choice.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13191
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 03:04 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Paul, give the local guy half the business you would do with G&G. Tell him you're doing this because you want to support local suppliers and him in particular. And let him know you hope he will continue to earn your trust. Then see how it goes.
 

Brad On Bass
Member
Username: August_west

Post Number: 111
Registered: 11-2010
Posted From: 72.88.48.32
Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 03:05 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Anytime I'm in a similar scenario, I always go local, if for the simple fact that the money you spend there is more likely to come back to you in some way. Not to mention supporting a LHBS will contribute to your local brewing community and you drinking better beer at club meetings and competitions.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13192
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 03:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree it's a joy to have a really good local homebrew supplier. Unfortunately not everyone enjoys that enviable situation.

Brad, your local supplier is just over an hour away from me, assuming no border delays (sometimes a big assumption). I agree they're top-notch in terms of service and friendliness, and they stock over 90 percent of what I need. Closer to home, I can get about 30 percent of my supplies from a friendly shop about a 25-minute drive away, but they admit the local market isn't big enough for them to cater to all-grain brewers (their focus is wine and extract beer on premises). And just recently there is the first full-service homebrew shop in southern Ontario in about 10 years that opened a 40-minute drive away (assuming it's not at rush hour).

So I have a number of choices, none perhaps ideal but certainly an improvement over what some people face. If you have a local shop, I agree you should direct some of your business their way unless you have had a really bad experience with them.
 

Bierview
Senior Member
Username: Bierview

Post Number: 1039
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 68.197.192.230
Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 08:58 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For years I used a local shop until last Oct when Northern Brewer came out with their $7.99 flat shipping rate. I found that when I would ask for a specific ingredient the local guy wold say, "oh just substitute this, it won't make any difference". After a while I got tired of hearing that and went to Northern Brewer. I will use the local guy for 50 lb. sacks.
 

dhacker
Senior Member
Username: Dhacker

Post Number: 2405
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 184.41.98.254
Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 11:34 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The only conundrum I have is which online store to use. I split it three ways . . Austin because they have a fantastic inventory and free shipping for orders over $100. Northern because they have the great customer service and decent prices and have always supported the Tennessee Cigar and Brew Fest. And Rebel because FedEx ground service is one day and when I need yeast, their price is lowest. Plus, I know the 100 billion cells won't be languishing in the back of a hot truck for several days. I've also started using their subsidiary . . 50poundsack.
 

Andy Hancock
Intermediate Member
Username: Ahancbrew1

Post Number: 314
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 192.55.54.40
Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 12:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I had a LHBS called Fermentation Frenzy that I liked a lot. The owner was friendly and the shop was only about 30 minutes away. If they didn't have what I needed, I would order online from B3 (Morebeer.com). Then B3 bought my LHBS. Now if my LHBS doesnít have what I want, my Favorite online shop wonít either.

I also could use Williams brewing (who are in the area) for shopping online and Northern Brewer, who are about 2000 miles away.

My only complaint with B3 buying out my LHBS was that all my brewing recipes used Wyeast and B3 only carried Whitelabs yeast, which I have gradually converted over to. But I just checked B3ís site and found that they now carry Wyeast as well as White labs. So my only complaint is that I have nothing to complain about :-)
 

gregory gettman
Advanced Member
Username: Gregman

Post Number: 753
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.235.5.198
Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 10:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Paul I could not agree more about our new store in Clinton CT. Wonderful people. Not the most competitive prices but......

It's just nice to walk in and talk to a LHBS owner who is not an elitist brewer or psycho.
 

Jim DeShields
Member
Username: Niquejim

Post Number: 211
Registered: 07-2006
Posted From: 184.7.146.136
Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 11:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Being at least 2hours from anything resembling a HBS (I do have a winemaking shop that carries kits and some dry yeast) I decided last week to order from 50poundsack. I received my grain, here in remote SW Florida, 46 hours later. I'm impressed
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 4206
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.122.104.54
Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 01:49 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I can actually get bags of grain from my lhbs cheaper than ordering anywhere when you add in the shipping. But if faced with a substitution I will often go online. But I love having a good local store.
 

Rob Farrell
Advanced Member
Username: Robf

Post Number: 612
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 72.83.254.246
Posted on Friday, September 16, 2011 - 10:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm very fortunate to have a great LHBS, but for equipment I sometimes have to buy online. I recently bought a $25 digital scale from Northern Brewer. When it arrived, it worked fine but the plastic over the display was cracked all the way through. I called NB and would have been happy with a $10 store credit. They insisted on sending another and me not returning the cracked one. That is first-rate customer service.
 

Steve Ruch
Intermediate Member
Username: Rookie

Post Number: 267
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 209.240.206.194
Posted on Saturday, September 17, 2011 - 03:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I like my LHBS, it's close (if my order is small I can go there on the bus) the crew is friendly and knowledgable. Most of the prices are pretty good. The only problem I have is it is fairly small and just doesn't have some stuff.