The Economics of Home Brewing (i.e. $4.86)

One of the main reasons I started making my own beer was for financial reasons. Skeptically and cautiously, I asked: Is it possible to afford drinking beer that tastes like Two Hearted Ale (check out my video on how to make it)? Well, after making my 25th batch of beer, I was very happy to find out that my price per six pack has come down to exactly $4.86 per six pack. So yes, it’s affordable. That’s cheaper than Bud Light. And yes, I’ve taken very good notes on what I’ve spent–I have all my receipts. I’ve done this financial breakdown at several times ($8.52, $6.96, $6.30, etc). I must say I didn’t expect it to get this low this fast. Think about it. A six pack of Two Hearted Ale costs at least $9.99. I just cracked open a Two Hearted Clone that tasted just as good for $4. And yes almost all of my beers are 7% ABV or above and hoppy, which happen to be expensive beers to make relatively speaking. Also I rarely buy beer at the store anymore. I must note that, although almost all of my batches tasted good, one was so bad that I didn’t finish drinking it. I tried to mix it with Miller High Life and limes and still couldn’t drink it!

Why would the cost come down? Well, I’m calculating every single cent I have every spent on equipment, ingredients, my KLOB membership (costs $15/year but gets me 10% off ingredients), the Scotch that I put in one of my beers–everything, not just ingredients. Basically what’s happening is that the initial and occasional investment on equipment has gradually proven its value and now I’m mostly paying for just the ingredients to make the beer. How much are those? A 5 gallon of, say, Two Hearted will cost around 30 dollars to make, getting you around 45-50 beers. That’s about 4 dollars per six pack. Most recipes will be cheaper than that. I made a nice brown ale for $17 and got 43 beers, which is only $2.40/six pack. So my cost should go down a little more but probably not below $4. All grain brewing, which I purposely don’t do (I do “partial mash”), could potentially save more money, but comes with a huge initial investment on equipment–so the savings wouldn’t show up for a while, at least a year I would say.
There’s a shit load of things that I did to save money. I only bought what I needed. I reused yeast (that’s a big one). I used sugar. I took good notes. I borrowed stuff from friends. People gave me stuff.
Yeah, but don’t you drink more? Ummm….I don’t think so, although this is a very good worry to have and I’ve noticed that home brewers never talk about it. My wife says I don’t, so I trust her more than I trust myself to answer that. I agree with her. I blame it on becoming an adult. I certainly drink more frequently, but only one or two beers at a time, probably averaging about 22 oz. of beer per day. I believe that’s called moderation. Of course sometimes I do have to test out the alcohol content of my beer (too cheap to buy a hydrometer which measures that), and so I will go ahead and get drunk just as a test. Just as a test , not because I want to get drunk off the delicious beer I’ve made. Course not.
The Economics of Home Brewing (i.e. $4.86)