The ‘silver lining’ of lockdown is that is has provided us with more time for homebrewing. For some it was the final nudge to make their first foray into the world of beer craft. But you don’t need a PhD in economics to see that the whole economy is pretty wobbly right now. Many will have experienced this firsthand as their household income has plummeted during the past few months. So some tightening of belts has been necessary (not literally…I mean, has lockdown shrunk anyone’s waistline?) But what to economise on? It’s tempting to point the finger at the beer fridge brimming with homebrew, but it seriously doesn’t seem the right time to scrimp on the bevvies. A good case is needed to be built in defense of homebrew during times of crises! Which got us thinking: does brewing your own beer actually save you money?
We put the question to some of the awesome homebrew communities on social media. This suggestion that homebrewing saves money produced a hell of a lot of PMSL emojis. Let’s look at some of the reasons and do a bit of myth busting.
TIME IS NOT MONEY WHEN HOMEBREWING
Some comments pointed to the time investment needed. Well, it is said that ‘time is money’. Especially if you’re a big earner. But the truth is that you can’t fairly slip into the equation your hourly rate when considering how much your homebrew is saving or costing you. Regardless of how much you’re pulling in from your day job. I mean, if you’re billing yourself £1000 a day plus expenses (lucky you!) to make your own beer then you need to fire yourself immediately and put in a call to your local brewery and order a few crates. Because your numbers are not going to justify themselves.
Yes, if you’re a commercial brewer you need to account for time and wages. But as a homebrewer you have the luxury of not thinking about that. The giveaway is in the title: ‘Home’ Brewer. It’s a hobby. So free your mind of all guilt of how much your delicious (and, perhaps, sometimes less delicious) beer is costing you in time. It’s a far more productive use of your time than scrolling the internet, for example. Or playing golf. Or cricket. They go on for hours. And you don’t get lashings of lovely homebrew at the end.
Obviously, it’s more time efficient to brew 20L rather than 5L at a time. But you don’t need me to point that out.
THE KIT UPGRADES
Undoubtedly your biggest outlay. And let’s be honest, shiny gadgets are fun and sexy. And expensive. But if you stick to the basics you can get away with around £50. And even the next step up is ‘only’ about £500. Which would easily pay for itself within a year (probably less) with the money you save per homebrew pint. One great workaround for the cost of buying kit is to join or start a homebrew club so you’re splitting the initial invest with a number of others. See issue 003 for Dave Parry’s tips on starting a homebrew club. (We offer discounts to homebrewing clubs, by the way! Contact us for details. )
Another club you can join to get a 10% discount on gear like mini kegs, all grain brew kits and brew kettles (e.g. Brewzilla) is by joining the Dark Farm Hop Club.
Another good solution is the age old trick of denial: getting your fancy upgrades delivered to a mate’s house so your other half doesn’t see. But, other than that, if you can resist the bling then you’re quids in.
THE FANCY MAN CAVE / BREW SHED
Again, this is like the fancy kit. Really nice to have. But not a necessity. Recommend not including this in your homebrew budget to plead your case. As above, sneak it in when the other half’s not looking.
Listen, do you want to know exactly how much you’re saving each month by brewing your own? We have created a nifty calculator to support your case. It even includes the point when your kit will have paid for itself and when you’ll have saved enough by brewing your own to treat the other half to a romantic weekend away. You’re welcome.