You’ve probably heard that now—more than ever—is the opportune time to pick up a new hobby or two, and to further promote that ideology, Keystone Homebrew Supply is offering the perfect way for you to start up a new activity that is truly spirited.
Keystone was founded in 1992 by Jason Harris, and the company’s main goal has always been to provide quality beer and wine making supplies along with expert advice to consumers who wanted to produce their own beer and/or wines at home. During the age of coronavirus, the company’s objective still has the same goal, but now holds a bit of a different purpose for those who are looking to pass the time in a creative way while social distancing.
According to the release, Harris first got his start with homebrewing early in the movement, making his first batch in high school in the late 1980s. He brewed all through college and even started a homebrew club (Wort’s Up?) at the University of Vermont, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 1991. By 1992, he launched a new homebrew store in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania. From then on, Harris has seen highs and lows in his business, and although coronavirus has hit Keystone on some fronts, social distancing has proved to be a very impactful high for the company in the homebrewing category.
“Like everyone else, we can’t wait for things to return to normal,” said Harris in a release. “We’ve had to implement strict new protocols to ensure the safety [of] our families, friends and customers. For the hobby, though, the quarantine measures have been a boon. We’re seeing a perfect storm of elements that have brought us consumers looking for projects to occupy their time, and beer and wine lovers who want to continue to drink but don’t want to spend a lot of money. Furthermore, with this being a time of significant financial uncertainty, this gives people the opportunity to enjoy beer or wine at home at a fraction of the cost that typically comes with going to their local craft brewery, distributor, bottle shop or liquor store.”
Keystone offers an affordable way to make your own brews at home, with the cost rounding out to be about $1 per pint with these kits—that is significantly less than the typical offerings from bars or specialty stores. The wine-making kits hold the same value, one kit yields 30 bottles of wine for a $60-$70 investment (rounding out to be $2 per bottle), or up to $200 ($6-$7 per bottle) depending on the quality. Harris, who also owns Stone & Key Cellars, a winery whose volume is more than 30,000 gallons per year, has had to make adjustments during this precarious time like everyone else—but luckily his supplies have still offered a way for the company to make much-needed revenue and even offer those at home some purposeful activities.
“With the homebrew business, one thing we loved in the early days was working directly with consumers,” added Harris in the release. “But we’re experiencing less interaction with people lately because of the quarantine. Online sales are growing nicely, but with no customers shopping in the store, there’s considerably less face-to-face interaction and consultation, which we miss. I built the business assisting homebrewers in producing really incredible products that helped many of them raise money to launch award-winning small breweries. Now it seems we’re assisting people [to] gain new skills to help get them through one of the most difficult times in their lives. Who knows, maybe one of our new homebrewers will become a future Great American Beer Festival medalist, which will definitely be a silver (or gold) lining that comes from this moment in time.”