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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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  • Re:Vodka is better (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:05PM (#41452605)

    Vodka is pointless.

  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:15PM (#41452789)

    But, I strongly suspect that there is a correlation between the availability of inexpensive mood altering substances, like alcohol, and the amount of bullshit that the average working person will be willing to endure.

    Look at the prohibition era in the US; crime and criminality were rampant, and so was outright civil disobedience. Activism by juries in courtrooms were at stellar highs.

    Now, we have "the cheapest beer in the world" (pun intended), and our citizenry is reluctant to raise a finger against even clearly horrendous civil liberty violations, like the recent "indefinate detainment" legislation.

    I would like to see research comparing effective availability of alcohol and other drugs with the rates of political activism.

    Mind you, its just a hunch.

  • by retchdog (1319261) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:22PM (#41452921) Journal

    i agree with you, but our placement on this list is definitely due at least partly to our low-quality beers.

    the funny thing is i can buy 9% craft beer for less than 2.5x the unit price of a big-brand pisswater (3.5%) beer, and it tastes 10x better as well, but that doesn't show up on this chart. i bet we'd also be close to the top for consumer purchasing power of high-quality beer (however that's defined), but not #1.

  • by seyyah (986027) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:29PM (#41453087)

    What were the results when you multiply by the average percentage of alcohol found in native beers?

  • by geoffrobinson (109879) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:30PM (#41453115) Homepage

    No offense, but I love German beer and they have a high quality generally but.... the American beer scene has a lot more variety and a bigger willingness to be innovative. German beer, not so much.

    We are in a better position now than anytime since Prohibition and probably before too.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:37PM (#41453271)

    That would eliminate all wheat beers and a great many really good beers.

    Many breweries claim to comply, but really don't. I have even seen such claims on wheat beer bottles. Since Reinheitsgebot clearly only allows Water, Barley and Hops, they cannot comply. Yeast was added later as it was unknown at the time.

  • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:41PM (#41453339)

    Weird opinion - the US is near the tops in terms of food quality in the world, based on my experience. And has a far superior amount of diversity in its high quality fine dining options to most countries I've visited in Europe and the Americas. Try eating your way around New York, San Francisco (and throughout the bay area), Napa and Sonoma Counties in California, Charleston in South Carolina, or any of the foodie meccas around the US.

  • by Pope (17780) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:51PM (#41453487)

    Don't even bother trying to drink any beer unless it is brewed to the Bavarian Purity Law [wikipedia.org] standard of 1516. Lots of smaller breweries in the U.S. and Canada have beer that complies.

    What a load of bullshit. The more people ignore this outdated law, the more interesting beers are created.

  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedyNO@SPAMtpno-co.org> on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:55PM (#41453543) Homepage

    Figure the one time set up cost for a home brew: ~250 bucks.
    Hops kit required: ~50bucks

    Result: 5 gallons of GOLD. As it's difficult to guess the breakdown on the startup costs per batch, let's ignore it for a moment and focus on simply the cost of the materials to make a batch. At 10bucks/gallon for whatever quality you want, that's pretty damn spiffy ( of course, I'm ignoring labor too. Because it's a labor of LOVE ).

  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:06PM (#41453757) Homepage

    You know, the kind that doesn't have to have a shitload of preservatives in it to make sure it's still "fresh" in 6 months.

    In the UK, the Budweiser "Fresh Beer Tastes Better" adverts were banned by the Advertising Standards Agency, because "fresh" beer quite demonstrably does *not* taste better. Anyone who has made homebrew will tell you this...

  • by bfandreas (603438) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:12PM (#41453847)
    Mass produced beer has become increasingly bad all around the world. But also the beer culture has gone downhill. That is why people still buy bad beer. I haven't seen the chart of the top 10 most sold beers of the world but I wil hazard a guess I wouldn't drink it.

    Let me explain how a beer garden in Germany(Munich area) works:
    You go there on a sunny afternoon. Next to the place were they actually sell the beer you will find shelves of mugs. The 1 liter variety. You take a mug and go to a big basin filled with clear water were you rinse the mug. There will also be little brushes. Use them.
    With your mug you go to the end of the queue. When it is your turn, tell them what you want. Don't be fancy, they only have two barrels. Say "Ein Helles, bitte". Pay in cash. No plastic. Don't rely on them having change. Find a nice bench under a chestnut tree and enjoy your beer.
    And have a nice lunch.
    You have brought lunch, have you?
    If you go to a beer garden they only expect you to buy the beer there. You can bring your own food. Otherwise you might find everything to be a bit expensive.
    Everything is trees and wood and wasps and rabbits frolicking on the green. There might even be fucking butterflies and flowers and shit.

    Me and a couple of mates once went to the Hirschgarten on a Sunday morning and went home when they closed it. I drank 9 liters of beer, ate 2 chickens, a couple of those giant pretzels with a cartload of Obatzta(a Bavarian cheese specialty) and a Steckerlfisch(a mackerel). All in all I spent 200 Euros on food over the course of 12 hours and felt like I got my money's worth. Best Sunday ever. YMMV.
  • by Gilmoure (18428) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:18PM (#41453931) Journal

    Made beer in a bucket in a pit under our tent in Desert Storm. Only way to get temps down to reasonable levels. Wasn't bad (dark ale) but no easy way to filter it. And yeah, was a medical unit (Air Med-Evac).

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

    by gcore (748374) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @04:31PM (#41455243)
    As a european brewer, who has worked for the two largest breweries in my country, two of the smallest and who currently works with planning and installing two new microbreweries, I don't agree. If someone would ask me what's the most difficult beer to brew, I would say Budweiser (if I'm allowed to exclude lambics). Because making a beer that tastes virtually nothing isn't an easy thing to do. And to have every single bottle taste the same is even harder. American breweries have contributed ALOT to the quality aspect of the brewing industry. I don't drink beer with so little taste myself, but I appreciate the quality aspect of it.
  • Re:Incidentally... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Woodmeister (7487) <woodford DOT jason AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @04:32PM (#41455263)

    Yeah, I've noticed this too. Tho here in GF-W, Newfoundland, the 'beer' of choice is usually Coors Light or Bud Light. Why, I really don't know, but my hypothesis is that there are truly very few BEER drinkers out there anymore. What most people have become are 'soft, fizzy, alcoholic beverage' drinkers; kinda like how many girlies claim to be 'on the wine' when, in reality, they are drinking an overly sweet, fizzy, fruit flavoured spritzer by the name of "Boone's". That shit ain't wine -- it's not bad per se, and I've been know to have a bottle or two over the years, but it's NOT WINE.

    In line with this theory, those who moderate (well, usually :) their consumption tend to enjoy more full bodied beers. Anything with higher malt, hop, etc. content will start to turn on you if you over-indulge (higher calorie content, worse hangovers, dry towel-tongue). Coors can be drank to excess without any of that (hell, I once couldn't even get a buzz on with that shit no matter how I tried.)

  • by skine (1524819) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @05:53PM (#41456393)

    I think that you're just bad at picking restaurants.

    I've been to Australia (Victoria and the NT), and I've been to Argentina (Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata), Canada (Ontario, New Brunswick and PEI), and I'm from the US, where I've visited (NY, ME, NH, MA, RI, CT, NJ, PA, DE, MD, WV, VA, NC, SC, TN, GA, FL, AL, MS, LA, TX, NM, CO, UT, AZ, CA, NV, OR, WA, ID, MT, WY, NE, IA, IL, IN, and OH).

    I've had a good meal in practically every city I've been to. Smaller towns are a bit more hit-or-miss. If it's a hamlet or smaller with just one restaurant, then maybe you'll get lucky.

    However, as a rule of thumb, it is best to stay away from a place that has an expensive menu (such as a $25 burger), but is empty. Instead, look for the seedy-looking place that has a line coming round the back and where the waiters make you point at the menu because they can't understand you.

  • by Gilmoure (18428) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @06:33PM (#41456911) Journal

    Not really. We were set up about 10 miles south of Kuwait border, maybe 25 miles inland. This area wasn't movie desert; was just a field of dirt. There was a pile of dead goats nearby where the local Bedouin had slaughtered their herd before heading south when the shooting started. A unit of the 2nd Marine Division was in front of us and there was a Navy hospital set up south of us. Air Med-Evac worked with the Marine medics to treat and stabilize the wounded and fly them out on a C130 to hospital stations further back.

    I'd seen Catch 22 and MASH and knew how war was supposed to work. I brought along beer making supplies and a Hawaiian shirt. My helmet cover had "Ours is not to reason why..." on it.

    Our location in Saudi was really weird looking; smoke from the oil fires created a low ceiling of black smelly clouds that the sun couldn't get through and with the flat ground of the desert, it felt like being a bug trapped between two flat surfaces. If you've ever seen a winter in central North Dakota, you'll know what I mean. From our location we could see the big air-fuel bombs they were dropping on the Iraqi positions; you'd look north and see the dull red-orange glow of fires and then you'd see a small dot of light drop down from the clouds before going back up. Then there'd be a large flash of bright light and maybe 30 seconds later, the ground would rumble and shake. The scale of it all was almost overwhelming. For myself, it appeared to be a battle between the old gods and giants or maybe the attack on Minus Tirith in LotR. It also reminded me of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5 and the firebombing of Dresden; something so overwhelming in szie it was... there's a word that I can't think of, where something isnt beautiful but still grabs your eyes and you can't look away. That's what I was seeing; something so far beyond human capability or scale yet here we were, shaking the earth and setting the sky on fire.

    Wasn't until years later that I found out Tolkien had been in WWI and experienced artillery bombardments and Vonnegut had been in Dresdan.

    After the bombing stopped, we moved north and started taking prisoners and trying to patch them up. Our 30 man unit had almost 5,000 Iraqis to care for. They were mostly farmers and such, sent to the front lines with barbed wire and landlines in front and behind them, with the Republican Guard shooting any that tried to leave. Until the bombing started. They got theirs on the road north.

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." -- George Bernard Shaw

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