Beer has a lot of great qualities—its taste, its effervescence, its mildly intoxicating nature—but another, oft unspoken benefit of beer has always been its price. By alcohol standards beer is cheap. Let’s not kid ourselves, we know why you always bring a six-pack to a party instead of a bottle of bourbon.
But the craft beer revolution has made many Americans expect more out of their beer than they used to and as a result that has pushed what we pay for it steadily upward. A typical craft beer six-pack can sell for the same price as a 12-pack of an old-fashioned macro-lager like Bud Light. Sure, consumers expect cost to increase with quality, but are those fancy beers really twice as awesome?
In a purely objective way, the answer is yes. The cost may be double (in some cases a bit more) to purchase craft beer rather than the items with the blue or red labels, but the ingredients alone are well over twice as expensive. According to research done by Joe Satran at the Huffington Post, that six-pack of hoppy IPA you’re enjoying contains 65 cents worth of malt, 53 cents worth of hops and 13 cents worth of yeast. That’s a total of $1.31 just for ingredients. The typical macrobrew has only 21 cents worth of ingredients per six-pack: 16 cents for malt, 5 cents for hops and next to nothing on yeast. So in a way, if you’re paying only double for your craft beer, you’re getting quite the deal. Either that or you are being hugely overcharged for Bud Light.
You can check out the entire breakdown of craft beer costs over at the Huffington Post, but from brewer to distributor to retailer there’s a lot to take in. You should probably crack a beer while you read.