I have made the ecological argument for brewing my own beer, but there is an economic argument to be made as well.
All told, I was able to equip myself well for approximately $250. My original equipment order has been augmented with some items that I missed beforehand. A bottle tree is something that just makes the process of washing and sanitizing so much easier. A long handled paddle or spoon is also essential because it keeps your hand away from the boiling wort. This is not something you think of because how many times does one boil three gallons of liquid on the stovetop for an hour? Only the homebrewer. A few odds and ends have rounded out the equipment package.
Three ingredient kits have cost me approximately $75. My original recipe kit was slightly more expensive than the two I purchased originally because I chose and organic malt extract and a liquid yeast.
So, you ask, how does spending $325 on equipment and ingredients make sense? Consider how expensive a six pack of beer at the store has become. On average, the six packs that I purchase cost $8 before tax and deposit. Therefore, my average cost sits at $8.50 per six pack.
Now consider the math. A regular batch of homebrew will make approximately 48 12 ounce bottles—I do not use 12 ounce bottles because it takes that much longer to bottle—or 8 six packs. At the average cost of a six pack this represents $68 of retail cost per batch. Subtract the cost of ingredients—approximately $30—and you are left with an upside of $38.
Therefore, on my seventh batch of homebrew I will be in the “black” when it comes to covering my equipment costs. At two batches per month, I will be at that milestone before the holidays. Merry Christmas to me!