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Porthos

Mr. Beer and the LHBS

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I went in to a LHBS today thinking I should pick up a hydrometer and to check out other bottling options and maybe future ingredients when I move on. Anyways, I told the guy at the store that I was currently brewing my first beer with a Mr. Beer kit. His response was "I hope you like drinking shit". He then proceeded to show me all the beer making starter kits he had, and then showed me the beer recipe kits which I think were basically fancy extract kits (I never got all the details). He did mention steeping options to change the recipes too but nothing about All Grain.

The only good part is that he brought out a bunch of beer samples for me to try that the store had made and I have to admit that most of them were very good.

Anyways, is this attitude towards Mr. Beer at LHBS pretty common? Is it better not to mention Mr. Beer and just say you make small batches?

Oh, and I completely forgot to pick up a hydrometer after all the beer sampling. B) I guess I'll have to go back or try another LHBS (but they aren't as close as the one I went to).

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I would have looked him in the eye, said F*CK YOU and walked out.

What a prick.

He then proceeded to show me all the beer making starter kits he had, and then showed me the beer recipe kits which I think were basically fancy extract kits (I never got all the details)

Of course he did. This is common.

Anyways, is this attitude towards Mr. Beer at LHBS pretty common?

In some LHBS it is the prevalent attitude. In some cases it's better to say "I'm a small batch extract brewer." That is usually enough to describe what you do because a lot of folks do split 5 gal kits and some LHBS will split them up for you if you ask so it's not out of the ordinary.

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Yeah, I recall other folks on here receiving some "MrB attitude" from their LHBS. I personally don't get it. We are not limited in any way with a MrB set up. With 2 LBKs you could do standard 5 gallon batches if you choose. And it sounds like there are some LHBS's that need to take some more customer service training. I'm fortunate to have a very courteous LHBS (Brew and Grow - Chicago, IL). Never had a problem with them. Hope it gets better next time 'round for ya.

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Home Brew Pro Shoppe where I go doesn't have any attitude. Now that I've been in there as many times as I have, I walk in, say, "Hi Charlie" and hand him my list.

It's easier than reading it off to him and he just buzzes around the shop getting everything while I look over the hops in cold storage or peruse the packaged yeasts.

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I thought about walking out but I think I just said "I'll let you know what it tastes like when I'm done first brew"

Other than that one comment, he was OK but I didn't push the Mr. Beer thing much. I plan to stick it out with the Mr. Beer LBK for at least my first 10 brews anyways (with the first 5 being MB refills) so I wasn't listening to what he was selling.

The thing about most of the LHBS in my city is that they seem to be more focused on wine making than beer making. At least that is the sense I got from looking at them online and from my visit today. The beer stuff was mostly kits with some add-ons and a few yeasts. I didn't notice much for hops.

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lhbs dudes are typically snobs. they sell their own kits and anyone buying from mb is cutting into their potential profits. so they respond with attitude. no excuse for it really. everyone has to start somewhere and what better way to whet your appetite for brewing and soak up a ton of knowledge before kicking things up a notch than MB?

if i worked at a lhbs i would congratulate the new brewer with the mb kit and say that when youre ready to take brewing to the next step we're here for you... hope youll drop in.

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"Wings_Fan_In_KC" post=314198 said:

I would have looked him in the eye, said F*CK YOU and walked out.

YOU sir are my hero. :cheers:

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I might not like the prices I saw at the LHBS, but they acknowledged that Mr. Beer gets people brewing. I purposely mentioned it to see and it didnt make any difference to them, Brewing is brewing.

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"Porthos" post=314209 said:

I thought about walking out but I think I just said "I'll let you know what it tastes like when I'm done first brew"

Porthos, you have more self control than myself! Wings response was the first thing that came to mind!
I wouldn't let him know anything after I tried my first batch.

In fact, I doubt I would even go back in there.

When I first visited my LHBS and told them I was using Mr Beer kits, the owners response was, "You can brew some fine beer using extract". Customer service at it's finest!
I pay a little more than online for some things, but it helps his business.
It's all about sales to alot of these "snobs" and I'll be damned if I would give them my money after sh**ty comment like that!
I'd rather pay the shipping and order on line than put up with an attitude like that.

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I initially contacted my LHBS via email for a business reason and said in the email I had a Mr. Beer and said "yeah, I know, turn up your nose". He said "On the mr beer- it is a fermeter. You could use a toilet for a fermenter and make great beer. It is the ingredients you use not the fermenter:)".

I have been there several times, first bought LME, then bottling equipment, then more LME, hops, a Munton's refill. They matched Midwest on my bottling equipment order when I pointed out that the Super Agatha was $12 lower everywhere else. They are a few points higher on most things, LME is $2.50 a pound though.

Biggest issue I have had is that people on the floor have no knowledge of Mr. Beer despite selling the product. I have to find the knowledgeable ones, but I come in prepared with questions. The owner responds to their emails and he has been very helpful. When I was looking for three different kinds of LME ( since Mr. Beer's recipes had three different DMEs), he said use their Light LME for everything.

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I simply can't understand the negative attitude some LHBS guys have. This attitude is also prevalent among so-called "beer/homebrew aficionado" websites. Snobs and douches, all.

But it's particularly baffling to confront it at an LHBS. You wouldn't be in there in the first place if you weren't brewing, and if you're using Mr. Beer, what business is it of theirs? I can understand them wanting to sell you something, and a kit is a good thing to sell, but to run it into the ground is just counter-productive.

I didn't say anything to my LHBS guy about Mr. Beer the first few times I went there. But as he got to recognize me, and we got to talking, and he knew I was a serious all-grain homebrewer, I mentioned that while I had a five-gallon set-up, I got started with, and still used Mr. Beer, he nodded and said, "Yeah, they're good; you can make some good beer with that."

Wings would have told the guy to eff off and then walked out. But Wings is not as subtle or devious as I am. I would have collected a whole bunch of ingredients and equipment; I mean, like $500 worth of stuff, brought it up to have the guy ring it up, and when he was done, I would have told him, "I'd like to buy all this stuff, but since you insulted my method of brewing, and therefore insulted me, I think I'll take a hike and never come back here again. Void this purchase, dickhead." And I would have walked out and never gone back.

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I like Dave's devious plot against douche-y LHBS guys! :evil:

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Wow makes me feel lucky to be near Adventures in Homebrewing. After receiving my Mr. Beer kit as a gift and making a couple of recipes I went in to pick up a hydrometer and look around. I told the salesperson why I was in and they gave me a general tour and brought me to the recipe section and said here is where we keep our Mr. Beer refills and pointed out a few that seemed to have the most repeat customers. While Mr. Beer isn't the first thing they recommend to people I have never heard them bad mouth it and they are helpful even suggesting steeping grains or hop additions for the Mr. Beer refills if you want to step up a level.

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I got the odd look long ago from the LHBS about mb. I traveled 30 miles to get some stuff and I wasn't going to be detoured from my mission by the odd comments. I got the jokes about extract only ... blah blah blah.

I kept going back. As I brewed more, I also was upping my game. They started asking for samples (as the guy belonged to a brew club, and that's what they do). So I started bringing them in. What they didn't know what that it was the MB I was bringing in. Started getting told how good I was doing and all that. I waited a while before I told them what I did to them.
They don't bother me anymore... and look worried when new customers come in and I am there.

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When you went to sample his beers you should have spat one out regardless of taste and told him THAT tastes like shit, turn and walk out. So best to do it on the last one. lol

:pound:

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Wings would have told the guy to eff off and then walked out. But Wings is not as subtle or devious as I am. I would have collected a whole bunch of ingredients and equipment; I mean, like $500 worth of stuff, brought it up to have the guy ring it up, and when he was done, I would have told him, "I'd like to buy all this stuff, but since you insulted my method of brewing, and therefore insulted me, I think I'll take a hike and never come back here again. Void this purchase, dickhead." And I would have walked out and never gone back.

+1 on that one! The only thing I'd add, is make sure it's the owner or manager ringing it up. If Dickhead is an ignorant staffer that's just there to count the minutes on the clock, he won't care.

I'm going to the local shop today to check it out and see if they have a table capper. I'm going to make sure they know exactly what I'm brewing with, and will eagerly await their answer. If they knock it, I'll do the above = $1000. Heck, I guess I have too much time on my hands just sitting here waiting for my brew to ferment.

Week 1 is complete, and BIG order is arriving Wed with all kinds of stuff including another LBK! I'm already regretting not getting a 3rd. Too many people have asked me for a drink when it's complete, and they're amazed how easy it was to brew the first batch. Do you have any idea how many LBK I'll probably sell when the beer starts flowing out...

Got the Palmer book from Amazon lastnight....seems there is WAYYYYY more in that book than what was in the online version. By the end of the weekend, my patience will be truly tested with all this online and book knowledge and no where to go with it yet

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Dave, your plan is now my go to strat if I ever run into a douche at a LHBS.

Much more effective!

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If they had any sense they would say something like "We've got some steeping grains here and some UME that can really spruce up a Mr Beer brew."

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On the surface....If a LHBS snob's only knowledge of Mr Beer is what he sees sitting on the shelf at Kmart, IE a smiling guy holding a beer that you can make in two weeks...I can see where the attitude is from...Below the surface where we operate...we know the LBK system as something else....

It tells me the LHBS owner/salesperson lacks product knowledge and how can you trust them to be knowledgeable about the product they are trying to sell??? especially in what would be classified as a "specialty shop"

Remind me about the last few times car shopping with SWMBO....Wifey spends weeks researching the product she wants...knows features, trim packages, even the goofy color names they come in, safety ratings etc etc. A we browse the car sales guy comes up to me, like I have a clue...I smile, point to wife and say try again...Its funny watching when she knows more than sales person about their product. We have shopped for cars at one dealer, knew the car she wanted was there and ended up at another dealer having them drive and get the same car we looked at at the previous dealer, all on how the salesman treated her.

Long story short, know your product, know what you want, know price points...and hopefully you get a sales person that has a clue, so you can TRUST/BELIEVE any product recommendations they make...

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"gophers6" post=314285 said:

If they had any sense they would say something like "We've got some steeping grains here and some UME that can really spruce up a Mr Beer brew."

This ^^ !!

That's my biggest issue with some of these dudes. Why piss on a customer's parade and insult them? Try to suggestive sell them hops, yeast, DME, grain.....anything but "Hope you like drinking sh*t!"

Like I said my LHBS is OK but I've been in some in other cities that aren't as welcoming.

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Porthos, sorry to hear your first trip to a LHBS worked out that way. Was the guy that waited on you the owner or a worker there? Either way not good for business. Sounds like he is very uninformed on the MB process and the results. That comment he made would keep me from ever going back there again, I'd drive more miles or pay more anywhere else then there.

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I wish I had it in me to do some of the things you guys suggested, but I guess I don't have it in me. At least I left the store without buying anything.

There was one other thing that the LHBS guy said that I forgot to mention last night. When he was showing me his brewing kits he said the Mr. Beer plastic leeches in to the beer. I did some research this morning and know that isn't true, but it is just some other misinformation that is being spread.

I plan to check out another store in the next fews days and buy a hydrometer there if they have a better attitude, otherwise I'll shop online.

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When he was showing me his brewing kits he said the Mr. Beer plastic leeches in to the beer.

No respect for liars!

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You could do two different things at the next store, mention that you are just starting out with MB and plan on learning and pursuing the hobby and see how that goes, or as others have said if asked just say you are brew ing in small extract batches and leave it at that.
Good luck, they all won't be snobs.

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My first trip to the somewhat newly opened LHBS was akward as well.

I went in the owner greeted me, let me walk around a bit dazed then asked if he could help.

I explained I was looking to get some champagne yeast (for the fruit drinks I made my wife) and that I normally use MB to brew beer.

He didn't snob it but you could tell MB was on his low list.

He off handed mentioned when I was ready to move up they had 5 gallon kits.

THEN he went into like a 15 minute tour and speech about how they make wine and have wine making classes and they sell wine they make.

All this AFTER I told him I don't like wine. Not the best listening skills.

Now when I go in there he says hello asks if I need anything and then lets me get what I want on my own. Usually DME and now hops and DME.

He's pretty hands off, but I do hear him try to upsell other people that come in with some things I don't think they need.

If it wasn't for the convenience of him being the next town over I'd probably just order online and pay for the shipping. I'm not getting anything out of talking to him.

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here is an idea that im a big fan of [evil-grin] ,,,,,,,,, AND IT WORKS GREAT,,,,,,,, go to YELLOW PAGES.COM ,
make a account ,,,,,,,,, look up [store that pissed you off] ,,,,,,,send in your story,,,,,,,,,,, :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: [sorry - it works for me ] :drinking:

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I was suprised to find a lhbs 15minutes from me. I walkede in told him I was doing mr beer and he pointed me to the shelf were he had several basic refills. Mentioned I had one brewing and was looking to brew a different one. didnt recommend one but said that Mr beer was bought out and figured they all would be good (i think he's a wine guy). Answered other questions I had even though he was busy.

The place has a good online store. will have to hunt up the link

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"jersey john" post=314637 said:

here is an idea that im a big fan of [evil-grin] ,,,,,,,,, AND IT WORKS GREAT,,,,,,,, go to YELLOW PAGES.COM ,
make a account ,,,,,,,,, look up [store that pissed you off] ,,,,,,,send in your story,,,,,,,,,,, :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: [sorry - it works for me ] :drinking:

Mwah-hahahahahahaaaaaaaaaa!

Yes, that's awesome too.

Revenge is best served via the internet!

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Interesting. I have two LHBS's near me. One is five mins away but is moving to a bigger building at the moment, the other is about 15 mins away. When I went to the closer one for the first time, I mentioned how I was going to be doing a Mr. Beer recipe for my first batch, he told me that I should probably only do one of those because the ingredients are probably bad and then step up to "Their Recipes." Then last week I went to the one 15 mins away, and they sell all you need to brew beer and wine like other places, plus they have mr. beer HME's!

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I have been in the only shop in town just a couple of times so far. When I told him that I was using Mr. Beer, he told me that his job was to make my beer better no matter what system I used. Didn't try to sell me anything. He also gave me a print out about sanitation. He also sells survival supplies......I thought beer was a survival supply....

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I have two LHBS near me depending on what I am doing I use both.

Brew and Grow is one of them and the only issue with them is that the product has less turn over than the other place.

The Guys at Brew and grow are way more friendly and chearful but are more garden supply guys that brew were as the other shop is hard core brew shop and Wines.

Been happy with both, when I asked what they thought of Mr. Beer the hard core place was "Sorry not experience with it, but We get people that come in all the time that have used it" and the brew and grow guys are more "Ok, how can I help you?"

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Walked into Brass and Bullets, our local powder, shot and reloading store and by gosh! They've doubled the floor space and the other half is entirely filled with beer making supplies.

Can't think of a better combination that that.

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"piscator" post=314697 said:

Walked into Brass and Bullets, our local powder, shot and reloading store and by gosh! They've doubled the floor space and the other half is entirely filled with beer making supplies.

Can't think of a better combination that that.

That is hard to top that. :gulp: :shoot:

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"Porthos" post=314299 said:

There was one other thing that the LHBS guy said that I forgot to mention last night. When he was showing me his brewing kits he said the Mr. Beer plastic leeches in to the beer. I did some research this morning and know that isn't true, but it is just some other misinformation that is being spread.

So is he selling just glass carboys? If not I'd have had to question why he had all the Ale Pails hanging around, some of his grains and ALL his DME's packaged in plastic. :angry:
Man, I would never set foot back in that place!
Jersey John's got it right, go on line and shred him a new one! :evil:
If he's a pretty established place, it won't hurt him a lot with his regular clientele, but a lot of people do use online ratings to find new people to do business with, and if he's a new business then it'll make him think twice about how he speaks to his customers!

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"Wings_Fan_In_KC" post=314302 said:

When he was showing me his brewing kits he said the Mr. Beer plastic leeches in to the beer.

No respect for liars!

He's either a liar or he's ignorant. And either way, why would I want to do business with him?

Wings, I'm glad I converted you over to my devious strategy. It's much more effective and satisfying to make them see how much money they are actually losing by being intolerant and rude to their potential customers. I have a little experience in sales, and a lot of experience with salespeople, and I've never understood the way some of them approach their job. You'll do much better if you listen and sell the person what they want, rather than trying to sell them what you think you need to sell, whether they need it or not.

I have a feeling this particular LHBS guy has never used Mr. Beer or tasted a Mr. Beer recipe. He's basing his rude, off-base comment on what he's heard or read. Add to that the fact that he only saw the OP as a source of short-term revenue rather than a person/potential long-term customer, and you've got an epic fail.

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The MB instructions and forum is great. At this point I don't want to brew 5 gal at a time, I just want small batches that work even if they arguably aren't the best. I already tried the LHBS 5 gal experiment as a first attempt 2 years ago and it was a disaster. I totally lost faith until my son gave me the MB for Christmas and after looking at it I thought even I can do this and make it work!

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"Strelnikov" post=315191 said:

I just want small batches that work even if they arguably aren't the best.

I think I would argue that point.... you can make just as good or better beer at 2 gallons as u can with big batches. You can graduate into all grain, or partial grain if u want, all for LBK sizes. I've had some LBK kits that rock!

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"FrozenInTime" post=315194 said:

"Strelnikov" post=315191 said:

I just want small batches that work even if they arguably aren't the best.

I think I would argue that point.... you can make just as good or better beer at 2 gallons as u can with big batches. You can graduate into all grain, or partial grain if u want, all for LBK sizes. I've had some LBK kits that rock!

+1

The fact is, you can do anything with the LBK that you can do with a five-gallon kit, with the exception of making a five-gallon batch.

I've used every beer-making technique in the LBK; the Mr. Beer recipes, my own extract recipes, partial mash recipes, and all grain. Actually, the only thing I haven't done is buy a 5-gallon kit and split it between 2 LBKs.

As far as the Mr. Beer recipes and ingredients being inferior, they aren't. Plain and simple. They aren't inferior at all, and as Yankeedag did, I bet you could bring a Mr. Beer finished product to a homebrew club meeting or an LHBS and have people try them, and they wouldn't be able to tell you it was a Mr. Beer HME recipe.

Mr. Beer has an unfair and undeserved reputation in some quarters, because it's such a simple system. But what these detractors don't seem to appreciate is the fact that it's supposed to be that way; it's designed to be that way. It's an introduction, at the most basic level, to homebrewing, just the same way learning that 2+2=4 is an introduction at the most basic level to Advanced Architecture or Rocket Science. Not everyone advances to the furthest stages, but that doesn't make 2+2=4 invalid, does it?

I still make Mr. Beer Advanced Recipes on a regular basis, because I like the convenience of them. And they're good recipes that I like very much. Do I prefer my own original all-grain recipes? I'd be lying if I said no, but that's because I have the added satisfaction of knowing I did it all by myself, from choosing my grain and hops to grinding and mashing and boiling it. It's a chore, but it's also a labor of love, and satisfies my creative juices while it satisfies my thirst for good beer. But I also know I'd never have been able to get there were it not for the ease and simplicity (and, yes, the quality) of the Mr. Beer system.

That's why I think the LHBS guy who prompted this whole thread was such an idiot. He could have had a long-term customer (which equals long-term revenue) if he'd been enthusiastic about a HOMEBREWER and maybe encouraged him to try a little DME or added hops, or maybe steeping grains, rather than telling him how crappy his beer was going to be and try to sell him extra stuff he wasn't interested in and might not get any use out of. That was for the sake of hoping for a large short-term profit, and it backfired.

He's an idiot.

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