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Midwest Supplies – Experience the Fail

Gather ’round kiddies as I spin a tale of unbelievable disappointment. Get your flashlights ready and make sure your marshmallows are firmly seated on your fire sticks and brace yourself for true horror.

In my many years as a brewer I have shopped in lots of places online to get the best prices. Midwest Supplies seemed to fit the bill, as the professional looking website offered up seemingly quality products at unbeatable prices. I was soon to find out that you really do get what you pay for.

My journey with ineptitude began when I ordered a used Keg, fermentation bucket, regulator, cheese kit (for the wife) and a bottle drying rack. A pretty simple order of 5 items. I was quite pleased at the prices (even though the shipping charges were rather excessive, thus offsetting my savings quite a bit). Five days later I had noticed that my order still had not shipped. So I inquired through customer service as to why my order had not yet shipped. 48 Hours later and seven days in total, I finally got a reply back with a tracking number. I received no explanation for the shipping delay or even an apology. just “It shipped : here’s the tracking number” now go away.

While normally my spidey senses would have been tingling by now, I ignored any doubtful feelings I may have been having and tracked my order via UPS. After all, Midwest Supplies came to me highly recommended. Finally, 13 total days after my initial purchase my items arrived. I tore into the ONE HUGE box, to find… everything soaking wet. The keg had been hastily cleaned and just thrown in the box without the lid secured. Water had leaked and soaked every item in the box. Also the keg outside was so dirty it left crude on my hands from just touching it. Further inspection also shown a sizable dent in the keg as well.

Disappointed, I dug through the wet mess, and found the bottle drying rack. I set the drenched box to the side (I would put this together later) next I pulled out the bucket I ordered. Immediately I noticed what appeared to be a large black GREASE stain inside the bucket. All attempts to remove the stain were unsuccessful. Now things are starting to finally sink in. This was not going to be the experience I was hoping for, at all…

I dug further through the wet packing material and pulled out the new regulator. At least this box was not totally water logged, I thought quietly to myself. The box now empty, I decided to open the bottle drying rack and put it together. I had been wanting one of these for quite some time as it would be the most sanitary way to dry my beer or wine bottles. Of course, this would have to be put on hold because the rack had arrived broken. Several arms on the tree were completely snapped off. Once again something about my order was unsatisfactory.

Finally, I opened my regulator and like a child peaking through squinted eyelids, waiting for what horrible creature was waiting to pounce on me. I inspected the item and was delighted to see nothing wrong with it. At least something had arrived without a problem associated with it.

Like a man on a mission I marched to my computer. A few pictures later of the damage and horrible state of the items, I fired off an angry email to customer support complaining about the state of the items the lack of quality assurance, and the broken drying rack. It goes without saying that I was not very happy at this point and customer service got an ear full.

After ranting to customer service I sat back in my office chair arms crossed with a sour face. It was at this time my wife walked into the room and ask me about her Cheese Kit. Cheese Kit! I totally forgot about it. I nervously fumbled through the soaked remnants of the box just KNOWING something would be wrong with it. There was nothing wrong with it, because it was not in the box! So now I revisit my PC to fire off ANOTHER anger fueled email to customer service about the missing cheese kit. Inspection of the packing list shown that the item was indeed in the box or at least supposed to be.

48 Hours later I finally got a reply from customer service. They offer to replace the broken piece on the bottle tree and offered no explanation or apology for the state of the keg, or the bucket, and it was at this time I learned that the cheese kit was back ordered. Keep in mind I have already been charged the full price for everything I had ordered, I received NO notification of the back ordered item and the website listed everything as “in stock” upon purchase. A quick visit to the site still shown the kit as still “in stock” as well.

7 days later (22 days after my original purchase) my replacement piece arrived. 8 days after that and (30 days in total) I finally received the cheese kit for my wife. It was cheap and not anything like she was expecting…. and yep you guessed it, missing a part! YES I AM SERIOUS!! Explanation? They didn’t have all the parts, so they just decided to send all they had currently and would just send the rest later, who does that?. Checking the website once again shown the Cheese Kit in question was currently being sold as “in stock”. So basically there were either lying to me, or they were completely incompetent. At this point I was strongly leaning toward both.

Recap:

Keg: Wet, dented and filthy
Bucket: Stained with mystery substance on the inside (possibly black grease of some kind)
Bottle Tree: Wet and Broken
Cheese Kit: Missing
Regulator: Amazingly made it intact

More emails exchanged and several phone calls later, and a total of 40 days after the original purchase, the Cheese Kit parts finally arrived thus completing my adventures of epic fail with Midwest Supplies.

Or so I thought…… (queue scary music here)

Six months later the regulator diaphragm failed and I lost a newly filled 5lb tank of Co2. The keg popits failed a short time after that, and to this very day I am STILL unable to remove the posts to replace the springs and gaskets (because they are wrenched on so tight that an air powered wrench would need to be used), so it sits gathering dust and was finally replaced with a NEW keg from a different company.

Customer Service: 0/10 – Slow response time, unhelpful, unapologetic and uncaring
Packaging: 1/10 – adequately packed but soaking wet and missing items
QA: 0/10 – Items broken (before shipment?) and missing. keg was dented (obvious pre-shipment damage) and dirty (outside of keg was filthy)
Product Quality: 1/10 – Regulator failed within 6 months, keg failed within 8 months

Verdict
1/10 Horrible

Poor, unhelpful and slow to respond customer service, incompetent shipping personnel, lack of quality assurance, poor product quality, and inflated shipping costs, that offset ANY savings you may THINK you are getting, make this a company you should steer way clear of.

You have been warned – and just in case you are wondering how the cheese came out. It sucked almost as bad as this company.

FOLLOW UP: Second Chance
I decided to give Midwest another chance, after all, maybe they were just having a bad week/month. You can’t judge a whole company from just one bad experience, right? Well, In Short, my second order took 7 days to even ship and when it did finally arrive, they screwed up my order again! My shipment was missing items I had ordered. How this online store continues to remain in business is a complete mystery to me. Rating stands.

BLESSED BE THE HOPS!
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This review is the sole opinion of The Brew Monks and in no way officially endorses or condemns the product(s) or company behind the product(s). If a product has been received for free it will state so in the review. Your purchase experience may vary.