For those who like to homebrew your beer, it just got a bit more difficult to do in Longmont.
Brewmented, Longmont’s newest homebrew supply store, will be closing its doors at the end of August. The store’s owners posted the following on their Facebook page:
“After a year and a half of serving Longmont and the surrounding area, we are saddened to share that we will be closing our doors at the end of this month. Despite the efforts of our customers and staff, we just did not experience the growth we needed to keep the store and taproom open.
It has been a great adventure, and we want to thank you for supporting us through it all. Over the past year, we have made some great friendships and learned so much from all of you. We are better brewers and individuals because of you. We will still be open for the next couple weeks and would love to have one more chance to see you either in our store or taproom.”
According to a 2017 report by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), there are an estimated 1.1 million homebrewers in the United States, producing over 1.4 million barrels of beer, which represents about 1% of all beer produced.
“I was surprised by the closing, ” said Gary Glass, Director of AHA. “There’s not many homebrew supply stores out there. A lot of them are started by home brewers without much business experience, but that didn’t seem to be the case with Brewmented. I was a regular customer there and the place was more busy than most shops I’ve been in. I’m guessing that they were just not getting the traffic they needed to make it.”
The closing of Brewmented may be part of a larger downtown in the homebrew industry. “The home brewing market is rough right now,” noted Glass. “We just finished our semi-annual survey of shops and gross revenue is down by an average of 8%, and that continues a trend of single-digit average declines since 2016.”
The home brewing market may be the victim of its own success in that homebrewers have shifted their production into some of the many craft breweries in the area. Of the approximate 7,000 craft breweries in the United States, almost 400 are in Colorado, which ranks the state as number 2 in the nation for the number of craft breweries, according to the Brewers Association.
“That impacts the homebrew shops in a couple of ways,” says Glass. “For one thing, when craft breweries are started by home brewers, the homebrew shops lose one of their best customers, who goes from ordering supplies for large weekly batches to instead ordering from wholesalers who supply the commercial market. And then all the friends of that homebrewer, they’re probably in the same homebrew club, and those other homebrewers are going to want to support that new craft brewery, but they’re not going to be drinking more beer just because there’s a new brewery that opens up, so that means there’s less demand for supplies to brew their own stuff.”
Regardless of the fortunes of this particular homebrew store, the craft is alive and well. “Homebrewers who are still practicing are doing it to have their own artistic expression by creating their own beers, as opposed to a necessity to get beer styles that were once so unavailable,” Glass observed.
Brewmented is currently selling all inventory at discounted prices until they close at the end of August. After its closure, homebrewers or those interested in the craft can still find supplies at Bald Brewer on 8th Avenue.
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