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If one wanted to buy homebrew equipment in bulk, is there a way to go straight to the distributor? Bypass the LHBS / Northern Brewer / etc., and buy straight from the supplier? IF so, does anyone know who the main suppliers are?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Equipment manufacturers use distributors to pass their products onto consumers as they are focused on R&D, manufacturing and quality management, not customer service. With a few exceptions, like Dell and Apple in the PC arena, suppliers will not sell direct to consumers for a number of reasons.

  1. Agreements with their distributors, prevent them from doing this.
  2. Tax and liability issues.
  3. Customers services, single unit shipping, returns, payments etc.

That being said, if you are going to make repeated bulk purchases, many suppliers are willing to make you a distributor of their products and will set you up as a company/trade account. Implied in this are that you will probably require a business tax id and an ability to receive freight at your property (16-wheeler friendly and possibly a dock).

If you are just looking for a discount. I would suggest approaching LHBS or Northern Brewer about a trade account and discuss discounts with them while you are on the phone.

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If, let's say, I were a brewery... –  hookedonwinter Apr 27 '10 at 17:43
    
If you were a brewery, you wouldn't be buying homebrew equipment. Jim Denmark is right and its true in almost any industry. If a vendor sells equipment through a channel (resellers like NB, Austin etc) they either won't sell direct, or they specifically won't undercut the reseller (because it makes the resellers boiling mad). If you are going to purchase in bulk, ask the reseller for quantity discount. Often they will cut you a break. Plus, it can't hurt to ask. –  TinCoyote Apr 30 '10 at 18:41

The only reason you would want to do this (I imagine) would be if you want to start a homebrew store. If this is the case, I would suggest contacting the manufacturers directly and ask for wholesale pricing. They will at least be able to point you to a wholesaler if they don't sell directly.

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There are other reasons one might want to do this. When I asked this question (2 years ago) I was exploring the idea of a brewing co-op with many carboys. –  hookedonwinter Feb 20 '12 at 18:40

Not exactly an answer to your question, but it looks like your out to save a bit of coin. Check with your local homebrew clubs, many of the locals here have agreements with Midwest or Northern Brewer for club discounts.

I've also seen people selling kettles in on craigslist, and I would imagine to get enough price savings to turn a profit perhaps they approached one of the kettle brands to become a licensed distributor.

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