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Beer The Almighty Buck Idle

Beer Is Cheaper In the US Than Anywhere Else In the World 633

Posted by timothy
from the beat-the-high-cost-of-living-and-die dept.
derekmead writes "It's frustrating to drop $7 on a pint of beer in New York City, as it turns out, Americans have the cheapest beer on Earth. International bank UBS gathered data about the median wages and average retail prices of a 500mL (pint) beer in 150 countries. Those data were compiled to figure out how many minutes of work it takes the average worker of a country to earn enough money to buy a beer. It's funny that UBS analysts are spending time looking at beer, but considering that beer is beloved and nigh essential everywhere, it offers an interesting comparison between commodities and wages. For example, India tops the least, with the median worker having to work nearly an hour to afford a pint thanks to extremely low wages. In the U.S. however, where wages are relatively high and the cost of the average beer is quite low (thanks to those super-massive macrobreweries out there), it takes the median worker about five minutes of labor to afford a retail (store-, not bar-bought) pint. That's the shortest amount of time in the world, which means that, relatively speaking, beer is cheaper here than anywhere else." OK, UBS: Now please repeat the research with coffee.
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Beer Is Cheaper In the US Than Anywhere Else In the World

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  • Define "Beer". (Score:4, Informative)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:07PM (#41452635)

    There is a big difference between a "40" of St Ides for 2 bucks, and a 5$ to 7$ pint of "micro-brew".

    St. Louis produces millions of gallons of piss water alternatively known as "beer", but this doesn't mean that the rest of the world drinks this stuff and would classify it as "beer".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:09PM (#41452673)

    1. Make (high quality) beer for $15 per litre.
    2. Add 20 litres of water per litre of beer.
    3. Sell beer for $1 per litre.
    4. Claim beer is cheapest in the world.

  • Re:Incidentally... (Score:5, Informative)

    by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:23PM (#41452959)

    ...it's also worse than anywhere else in the world. No joke, people.

    It's certainly true of the large breweries. The micro brews (which are extremely common now days) are much better; although they're also much more expensive.

  • Re:Conversion error (Score:5, Informative)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:28PM (#41453073)

    There are three different kinds of pints. A 568mL one, a 473mL one, and a 551mL one. The first is used in the UK, the second two (mostly the 473mL) in the US, and (ironically) is the older usage. The UK changed their definition after the US declared independence, so the US uses the older system. But 500mL is a decent approximation, and works just fine when comparing costs.

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:35PM (#41453229)

    Beer isn't a standard thing. Not even close.

    And that is why economists prefer the McDonalds Big Mac for currency comparisons. :-)

    Seriously, economists do have a Big Mac Index.

  • Re:Incidentally... (Score:5, Informative)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:46PM (#41453411)

    Absolutely wrong. There is an incredible variety of small breweries that make great beer and you can find many of them even at your average grocery store. Go to a specialty liqueur store and you can multiply that variety by 10 or more.

    Before 1979 it was illegal to make beer in small batches (no joke) and this is where American beer got the bad reputation because only a handful of big companies were able to make beer (Bud, Coors, Miller....) and thanks to the government obtained control of the market and brought the quality way down. Since that was repealed there was an explosion of home brewing which then expanded into small business and microbreweries so that today there are over 1,400 breweries in the US making every possible type and flavor of beer imaginable.

    I would actually go so far as to say that the American beer is now the best in the world as evidenced by the international competitions where the US beers dominate. [worldbeercup.org]

  • Re:Vodka is better (Score:4, Informative)

    by afidel (530433) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:03PM (#41453703)

    569ml is the proper unit of measurement for beer =)

  • Re:Incidentally... (Score:5, Informative)

    by afidel (530433) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:26PM (#41454053)

    Correction, there are over 2,000 micro and craft breweries in the US today and we're adding them at a bit over 200 net new breweries per year. That's 50% more than Germany and even on a per-capita basis we're projected to pass them by the end of the decade. It really is a good time to be a beer lover in America =)

  • Re:Vodka is better (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sique (173459) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:53PM (#41454523) Homepage

    No, because of the name clash between Budweiser (Anheuser-Busch) and Budweiser (Budvar), Anheuser-Busch is not allowed to sell a beer called "Budweiser" in Germany (and in some other european countries).

  • Re:Incidentally... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bored (40072) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @04:11PM (#41454875)

    Well, maybe the mistake is picking micro brews that are too dark. Their is a lot of space between the water that is pabst, and the overtoasted crap on the other side of the spectrum.

    I find that if I can't see my hand through the pint, the beer is hiding something. There is a reason a lot of home brewers do stout, and it has to do with their inability to make a good IPA or amber ale. Those lighter beers are very susceptible to off tastes if everything isn't super clean, and the trub isn't removed fairly quickly.

    BTW: Finally, any beer that is lighter than a light amber color is probably heavily cut with rice or corn... In the case of bud light/etc there is so little barley or hops its hard to call it "beer" with a straight face.

  • Re:Incidentally... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Darinbob (1142669) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @04:19PM (#41455009)

    Too many micro brews are made by people with hops fetishes. Don't know why they prefer making undrinkable bitterness. Everytime someone says "here try this, it's great" it ends up having more hops than a rabbit farm.

  • by zenyu (248067) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @05:12PM (#41455895)

    The inexpensive American "beer" that is used in this calculation uses maize and rice instead of barley as the main ingredient, grasses that happen to be heavily subsidised here and hardly used to make beer anywhere else. If you want to drink beer that is made of the same base ingredients as the real stuff then it will cost about 2x as much in the supermarket here as it does at a bar in Amsterdam. There are a lot of breweries in the US that make some really good beer, especially ones founded in the last two decades, but that stuff ain't cheap, at least not yet.

  • Re:Incidentally... (Score:5, Informative)

    by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @06:39PM (#41457009)

    Wow, the US can field 2651 individual beers? That is impressive. Thank you for the information, but I'm not sure it is saying what you want it to.

    And you think Europe including places like germany can only field a couple hundred?

    The point is, yes, of course the USA can produce some truly great beer. But there "world ranking" based on a contest held in San Diego where anyone foreign had to jump through some FDA hoops just to be allowed in, where 2/3rds of entrants were all american... where most countries didn't even field enough varieties to cover the categories, where the US fielded 10x more beers than other top beer nations, and up to 1000x more varieties than smal countries... the USA was almost BOUND to dominate the rankings unless it showed up with nothing but rank swill.

    If america fields 2500 of its best, and germany fields 250 of its best... well... odds are pretty good that if both America and Germany are at the top of their games, America is going to dominate; purely on statistics... hell even if half the american entrants are garbage they'll still be holding a huge edge.

  • Re:Vodka is better (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sique (173459) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @03:46AM (#41461013) Homepage

    When Budvar registered the Budweiser brand in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1895, they were the first to do so. And Budvar is incorporated in Budweis (as it was called then), and thus they had a natural right to describe their beer as being "from Budweis" or "being Budweiser". Anheuser-Busch didn't intervene, though they had the Budweiser brand registered in the U.S. since 1860. No one even thought in 1895, that this could lead to any problems, Anheuser-Busch selling their beer in North America, and Budvar serving the European market. It wasn't until the 1920ies before Anheuser-Busch Budweiser even reached Europe.

    Even today, it's still possible to have the same trademark for the same product class registered to different entities in different countries.

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