Brewing on a Budget with Chris Graham – BSHB Podcast 19

by Brad Smith on July 26, 2011 · 5 comments

This week I interview Chris Graham from and we talk about how to save money brewing beer at home. Given the economy, many brewers are working on a tight budget both in terms of time and money so Chris provides some useful tips on how keep within your budget and save a bit of time while still enjoying your home brewed beer.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (37:00)

  • This week’s guest is Chris Graham, a partner/owner from – one of the largest online brewing supply stores. Chris is a longtime brewer, and is focused on helping brewers get the most out of their brewing dollar.
  • We talk about Chris’ early experience in brewing beer, including his first home brew
  • Chris explains how you can in some cases save money – especially when compared to higher priced premium beers
  • We discuss how to save time, and why home brewing is a great hobby for people who are busy
  • Chris provides some tips for those just starting out who are looking to make that initial equipment outlay of $200 by using items you already have, co-owning or borrowing them. He also shares some good tips on purchasing inexpensive equipment.
  • We talk about building your own equipment and some of the more popular equipment you can build yourself like cooling coils
  • Chris shares some tips to save money on ingredients by purchasing in bulk or sharing in group buys
  • Chris talks about buying ingredients online as well as supporting your local homebrew store
  • We talk for a minute about how Chris decided to turn his hobby into a full time business
  • Chris shares his thoughts about why brewing continues to grow even in a tough economy

Thanks again to Chris Graham who was kind enough to appear on the show!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Martin Rosendahl August 2, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Thanks for the info on this podcast, I am always looking for lower prices on the stuff I use or when I want to upgrade on equipment. I have a suggestion to add to the part of the interview regarding buying grains in bulk (50 lb bags.) My local homebrew supply shop has “grain cards” where they sell 50 lbs of grain for $1.80/lb, and you can use any grain on their grain wall with your grain card. For my basic 2-row, even that’s a little pricy with how much I go through. So I asked them if I could buy a bag of 2-row for a cheaper price, and they sold me a 50 lb bag for $53. Then I asked if instead of taking a 50 lb bag of grain home and transporting back and forth to grind at their shop and brew at home, I asked if they could just do a seperate grain card for that 50 lbs of 2-row. They said that they’d let me do that on any grain I’d like. So now I have a grain card for 50 lbs of American 2-row that I bought for $53, a grain card for 50 lbs of Belgian 2-row that I bought for $72, and a grain card for 50 lbs of specialty grains that I bought for $90. So my base malts are cheaper, and I still get my specialty grains for a decent price. They also discount everything I buy there by 10% since I’m a “regular” and they’re always willing to negotiate pricing if I ask. I don’t even tell them “I can find this for $10 less at,” I just tell them I’d been thinking of buying a – refractometer, pump, another glass fermenter, etc. – and pick up the item and ask if they’d be willing to sell it to me for $XX.XX (whatever I’d seen online or at another store.) They look up their cost on the computer and have never told me no. They’ve always given me the price I ask, even though I don’t say that it’s the price I saw it for at another store.

Jorge - How To Brew Beer August 4, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Great interview… love the morebeer deal of the day too!

Mutineer Magazine August 8, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Great interview! Thanks for sharing.

Jim August 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I think we all have our belts tightened a little bit more during this economic downturn… Great interview, and a timely one at that!

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