White Labs and Wyeast Yeast Price Increasing
This is a hard post to write. As a brick and mortar retail store liquid yeast is one of the most difficult products to work with. Yeast is a living organism and has very limited shelf life. Wyeast claims that their packaging keeps their yeast good for 6 months (though, the sooner you use it the better) and some of the White Labs vials that we were receiving had "best by" dates of only three months after we received them. White Labs is beginning to transition to a new packaging that increases their shelf life to six months, as well. The first strains of White Labs yeast to use this new packaging are WLP001, WLP002, and WLP004. We received our first shipment of WLP001 in the new packaging last week.
When we opened we made a decision to stock both White Labs and Wyeast products. Personally, I like both of these companies and their products, and I wanted to be able to offer you their entire lines. Unfortunately, because of limited demand we will have to scale back the number of strains that we carry all of the time. This doesn't mean that we won't be able to get you any strain that either company is currently producing, but if you're planning to make a beer with some of the more esoteric strains, then we may need to order it in for you.
So here is what we are going to do. We have four months of data now about which strains are the most popular and which strains are not. We are going to focus on those strains that move the fastest. It is better for us, and it is better for you because the yeast that sell the fastest are also going to be the freshest vials.
We are still a member of the White Labs "Freshness Assurance Program". That means that every quarter they send us a vial of each of their Ale and Lager yeasts, so we will continue to have at least one of each of their strains. Unfortunately, Wyeast does not have such a program.
The other unfortunate bit about carrying liquid yeasts is the shipping costs. Both White Labs and Wyeast are based on the West Coast and both ship their yeast to us using 2 Day service with insulated packages and ice packs. This means that, for the most part, shipping is nearly half of our cost when buying yeast.
All of this is to say that we will be increasing our price on White Labs and Wyeast yeasts packages from $7.99 to $8.99. We're not happy about having to do this, but in order to continue to bring you the freshest yeast we have to, and I thought I owed you an explanation as to why.
- Robb Burden