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Craft Beer

Beer Q&A: Why has beer gotten so expensive?

Beer costs

The cost of beer is going up, but why?

(Getty Images)

Why has beer gotten so doggone expensive?

Brewers cite rising costs of brewing equipment, hop varieties and specialty ingredients — for instance, the prized, yet disgusting, civet coffee needed for Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel.

Consumers cite craft beer’s growing popularity, which enables breweries to charge budget-busting prices.

While both arguments sound feasible, consider the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ flabbergasting findings: between 2000 and 2018, prices in the “beer, ale and other malt beverages” category actually lagged behind inflation.

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Beer prices rose an average of 2.04% per year, while inflation for all items averaged 2.12%.

An important caveat: those stats are true for the entire range of beers. While the fastest growing segment of the total beer market, craft beer last year accounted for only 12.7% of U.S. beer sales.

Yet it’s undeniable that consumers are paying higher prices for better beer. Last summer, the Craft Beer Co. pub chain in Britain charged £22.50 — $28.60 — for a pint of Speedway Stout. Still, let’s note that this beer from AleSmith Brewing is more reasonably priced closer to its home — San Diego.

Read more of Peter Rowe’s column here.

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Keep reading

Beer Q&A: What is the origin of the ’99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall’ song?

Beer Q&A: What causes a beer’s color?

Beer Q&A: What defines ‘craft beer’?

Beer Q&A: How many calories are in my favorite beer?

Beer Q&A: Ales and lagers? What’s the difference?

Beer Q&A: What’s the best way to drink beer?

Beer Q&A: How long can you keep a brew?


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