MSNBC: "Report: DHS employees wasted thousands"
When you don't have strict controls and monitoring, stuff like this is going to happen on government purchase cards. It should be a given by now. Some agencies understand this. It amazes me when there are reports out there of agencies that still don't. This caught my eye though:
A beer brewing kit and ingredients for more than $1,000 for a Coast Guard official to brew alcohol while on duty as a social organizer for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. "The estimated price for a six-pack of USCG beer was $12," the investigators noted, adding: "Given that the six-pack cost of most beers is far less than $12, it is difficult to demonstrate that the Academy is achieving cost savings by brewing its own beer."
For the record, I've paid more than $12 for a sixpack of beer before and I enjoyed every bit of it.
I'd be interested in seeing how they're coming up with a cost of $12 for a sixpack with that rig. A brewing setup that's going to cost you $1000 is probably going to be doing 5-gallon batches of beer at a time. That's almost 9 (8.888) sixpacks. Allowing for being sloppy, that's 8 sixpacks worth of beer, which comes to $96 per batch. How are they coming up with that number?
Depending on what combinations of ingredients you get, the cost could vary a lot, actually...beer is pretty diverse. They had to get per-batch costs from somewhere and it's a lot easier to pick some arbitrary "average" beer kit cost than survey costs of all possible ingredients and create an "aeverage beer recipe cost" profile or something.
A kit for brewing a 5-gallon batch of beer tends to run $14-30. You're looking at spending $15 every 5 batches or so for propane. Once or twice a year, maybe you might need to replace a plastic hose or a rubber gasket. There's other incedental costs here when you really think about it...water, a little electricity maybe. The upfront cost of $1000 for brewing equipment dilutes over time as you brew your batches of beer...there's no telling how frequently they decided that the $1000 had to be re-spent to replace worn-out parts. I would tend to think that it probably takes longer than they're estimating...at $1000 worth of gear, a lot of it's going to be stailness and glass probably instead of plastic like the starter kits tend to be.
I'm not an auditor or anything like that, so I'm not going to be able to find and calculate all of the possible costs of brewing a batch of beer. That said, once the equipment is bought, you're looking at an average of $24 per batch of beer. That breaks down to an average of $3 per sixpack.
Where's the other $9 coming from? Some of that's going to end up being the startup costs of the equipment pro-rated over some arbitrary amount of time (and I'm not going to do the math to figure out what that period is). Realistically, it's probably not all of that $9 because I'd expect that $1000 of brewing equipment would last more than 111 brews. The only thing I can think of is that maybe they're calculating it with the brewer being on the clock....if they're brewing on government time, then the person's hourly wage comes into play.
I would think that if it's at the USCGA that it would be for the students to use. Brewing is a fine hobby. It teaches a lot about chemistry and sanitation, proces control, quality control, experimentation and attention to detail. When you're done, you (hopefully) have a tasty brew that you can proudly say you made with your own hands. Those benefits don't come out when you're doing a cost analysis of homebrewing versus picking up a sixer of Bud at the 7-11. If you're just looking for a cheap buzz, homebrewing isn't the way to go.
Have I ever thought about homebrewing? Yes, I have. :D
The Complete Joy of Home Brewing by Charles Papazian
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