The faltering economy could have folks around the country dreaming of drowning their sorrows with a nice cold brew.
Too bad beer is one of the legions of products with a price tag rising faster than a hot head of foam. According to government statistics, beer prices are rising at an annual rate of about 4% due to the increased costs of hops, malted barley and energy. And with microbreweries, who find it harder to absorb cost increases because they brew in small quantities, forced to drive up prices 15%-40%, fans with a particular palette are thirsting for relief.
So for those looking to tighten their financial belts (no advice here on how to rear in that beer belly) without sacrificing their hoppy IPAs and crisp Belgian tripels, consider the financial benefits of brewing beer in your own home.
While the increasing prices in hops and malted barley still affect the home brewer, the overall process can lead to big savings. "You can get started in the homebrewing hobby for under $100," says Todd Frye, owner of The Home Brewery, a brewing distribution center based out of Ozark, Mo. "This is a basic kit and the ingredients to do the first batch. The typical batch size is 5 gallons. This nets you about 48-50 beers."Considering that buying two cases (48 beers) of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale online at Beverages and More will cost you over $60 (before shipping and taxes), homebrewing could be too good a deal not to guzzle.
After you’ve made the initial investment, it only costs about $25 to brew each subsequent batch. So once you pound your way through the initial set-up costs, you will have made your money back by the end of the third round of brewing. From the fourth batch on, you'll be in the black thicker than a midnight Guinness. Even if you're more of a Budweiser (BUD) drinker ($40 dollars 48 beers on BevMo.com), it will only take you another two batches to start saving money.