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Benefits of Cloud Brewing Software and Our Pricing Model

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

In case you are curious about why we went with an annual subscription fee, and why we think it works better, this post should clear up some details.

You may be on the fence like this fellow brewer who wrote in (edited and anonymized):

Its hard to justify $10 a year when I can just buy an application for $28 or use a free website. Your site definitely has more features than others (I would miss the batch scaling capability), but I most likely will go with the $28 option unless I’m missing something. 

Here’s our honest answer:

Quite right, pricing is a challenging issue. We had to come up with something reasonable for the pricing and your feedback is appreciated.  That said, at $28 for a lifetime, we’d go out of business in a hurry!  Hosting, maintenance, support all add up.  Home Brew Talk asks $25 per year, and $125 for a lifetime last time I checked, so as for an online community we are well aligned there.

Maybe we could come up with a free forever edition that was somehow plastered with ads or nerfed in some other way?  It may come to that, but for now we have solid traction, sales at a very healthy conversion rate, and a decent growth rate.

The cloud based aspect is probably the biggest benefit.  If you use a smart phone or tablet, you can get on the site with that device and it works reasonably well (not quite a native experience but we are working towards that).  BF works on Mac, PC, Linux, just about anything with a modern browser and an internet connection.

Consider that Windows8 is going to hose a lot of application developers. In a year or two other software makers could be in a position where they have to re-write a lot of code, and force their users to upgrade.  Though it looks like $28 once, it is actually $28 every few years (this is true of all software, our model is just putting that up front).   Since BF is browser based, you have nothing to worry about in terms of technology shifting under your feet, and you get the upgrades automatically. In fact, we have ZERO incentive to hold back features so you buy again.  Instead, we have every incentive to make you delighted every time you visit!

As for free sites, you get what you pay for in terms of service, backups, and attention to detail.  We take pride in responding to user requests and we improve the site all the time based on user feedback. Check out the forum to see our progress there. We are also professionals, so that is something else to consider.   At the end of the day, we’d love to have you as a customer.  At $17.99 for 2 years, that ends up being a fraction of the price of a single batch, and solves the problem of organizing the details in one, easy to use spot.

  1. 7 Responses to “Benefits of Cloud Brewing Software and Our Pricing Model”

  2. Well said i have no problem paying 10 a year for all the features of this site. makes my brew day go alot smoother stores all my recipes,brew timer, and love the brew builder. thx for a great web site

    By chris markham on Aug 29, 2012

  3. Hey, those apps, can you do this with them?

    I really wish you guys would code a “Brewer’s Notebook” where we can tie comments to specific recipes or brew sessions and enter unstructured text about the beers.

    (That’s a real suggestion, by the way!)


    By Stephen Stanley on Aug 29, 2012

  4. Good idea on the brewer’s notebook.

    The system currently allows you to makes notes under a brew session in the brew log. Were you thinking of something in addition to what that provides?

    As for recipes, there is room to improve there, though the notes field is a catchall of sorts at this point.

    Could you post something in the feature request forum? That way we can see what others say, and you can more easily track our progress.

    By Larry on Aug 29, 2012

  5. I’m fine with the yearly dues. I love the site and I’m thankful for the place to use all sorts of brewing tools, save-share-store recipes, and to grow as a brewer.

    Thanks for making the site available, and for working so hard and making it even better every chance you get.

    By newTexian on Aug 30, 2012

  6. If you buy a tool once, it will at once start to depreciate. Some tools are better off rented. Someone else messes around with upgrading, maintaining, etc. Brewers friend won’t be stolen, die with a fried computer or be left at home. It won’t be die because of the inevitable os upgrades and if I’m at a friends house, I can access all my recipes etc. modify one and get him a digital copy. I can have it available on a potentially infinite number of computers/devices without licensing violations. If I change a recipe on one device, I don’t have to copy it to another. I don’t have to do weigh out the new features would be nice, vs. I only wanted to buy it once. Brewers Friend has room for refinements and improvements, but I’ve watched many of those fill in, AND I didn’t have to upgrade to get them! The developers aren’t resting on their Laurels, they have continued to improve the site and response to feedback has been prompt. They gave early and ample notice before going to a subscription site so you didn’t feel tricked into putting all your info into what you thought was going to be free and there forever. I think its great.

    Would be greater if we could use gallons/lbs for water/fermentables and grams for hops. Especially for more complicated/scaled hop schedules, but I haven’t forgotten how to do math

    By Paithen Larkins on Sep 1, 2012

  7. I really enjoy the overall experience of this site and paid up for my membership. My recipes are available for tweaking at any computer I log on to, I can fiddle with them on my iphone and I never lose them!

    I also enjoy writing my brew day notes down and being able to review them when drink the finished beer. Everything is time stamped which is great.

    Best of all, the site is constantly improving! Just when I think it’s complete – boom! another new feature.

    I’m still waiting on the reverse IBU calculator I asked for 🙂 in time i’m sure.


    By jammin on Sep 11, 2012

  8. $10 a year for seems pretty reasonable to me. There are many tools all in one place to make my brewing easier and more efficient.

    By Mark Bittrolff on Nov 4, 2012

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