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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Save Money, Drink Imported German Beer

With temperatures here in Ontario starting to significantly warm up, I'd like to bring up a subject near and dear to most of our hearts: BEER!

So I was at the LCBO today and bought 8 assorted cans of imported German beer for almost exactly $16 including a total of 80 cents deposit on the cans. It was actually slightly under $16. I bought 4 litres of beer (500 mL cans) total. German beer is arguably the best stuff on the planet. By the way, the lowbrow comedy movie "Beerfest" is really funny....I laughed my ass off. Those who have seen me in person know that I have no ass so it must be true, but I'm starting to really digress....A case of Labatt's Blue is $38.50 at the beer store for 24 bottles of 341 mL, including deposit. That's a total of 8.18 L of beer. The equivalent price of German beer would be about $32.75, almost 20% cheaper. Given the strength of the Euro, and the shipping cost of those suds, I'm somewhat dumbfounded. Perhaps our big brewers spend crazy amounts of money on advertising/promotions and pass the lack of savings on to us. While I can certainly appreciate those girls-in-bikini ads on tv, I do not want to actually pay for them while there's other suckers out there who don't mind doing so.

Yes, more money can be saved by buying some of the "buck-a-beer" + deposit brands like Lucky or Lakeport and those are good beverages too. I do recommend buying those brands as signifcant money can be saved over the course of the summer. But even at $1 per beer, as much as 50 cents of that flows to the government as taxes. Yikes. Also, the lack of retail competition in Ontario likely has something to do with it. Prices in Quebec are lower, but one has to be careful when comparing. In Quebec, the prices do not include deposit, PST, and GST. When added in, you are still slightly cheaper, but not by much. Costco in Quebec sells beer and you can save some money, but again not huge amounts, but hey, every little bit counts. If you live in another province, feel free to do your own comparisons and report back.

5 comments:

lillymay said...

Sorry to keep commenting. But my friends who work and own a microbrewery in my town will find this news very interesting! Besides environmental factors, why would you ever choose Labatt over German beer? However, I'll continue to drink Picaroons, which in my biased opinion is one of the finest beers around.

~Lillian

Jim Somerville said...

Commenting is great, at least it lets me know that somebody is reading the blog and keeps it interactive so we can learn from each other.

I enjoy microbrewed beer too. I just find it really strange that we can import some of the best beer in the world and still sell it for significantly less than the big common Canadian brands. Every week the LCBO has at least one brand of German beer on sale for $2 a can or less. Nearby on the same shelves they have cans of Molson Canadian, which are 5% smaller (473 mL) and more expensive. It just doesn't add up when you consider tariffs/duties, shipping charges, middleman distributors, and the high value of the Euro (German currency).

lillymay said...

There has to be some rational for this price difference, do you know why it might be? Do you think it might have anything to do with hops, and how a lot of our hops come from parts of Europe, and since they already have it in Europe that saves the money that they'd have to figure into their pricing like Labatt does? I'm not a huge beer connoisseur, maybe they don't use European Hops. Or maybe it's because gas prices are always expensive in Europe so this influx in price that North America is facing is forcing us to examine prices irrationally?
Maybe you have some alternative theories, because it is an interesting situation.

Jim Somerville said...

Personally, I think it is the crazy amount of advertising that our big brands do, including event sponsorship. All that costs a lot of money. I don't think hops have too much to do with it, as North America grows a lot. I think Blue uses cascade hops grown in BC/Washington state.

German beer uses all barley malt, as opposed to our big brands here which usually contain some corn as an adjunct. Barley malt is more expensive than flaked corn, and we grow the barley here in Canada, so if anything our beer should be cheaper based on ingredients' costs.

lillymay said...

Well that's what I thought, considering the crappier taste of Labatt beer (sorry if you love it), my theories were a little far reaching. You may be right on the advertising front however. Beer companies in particular use a lot of their time, energy and resources on marketing, if only they put that amount of things into their beer, maybe it would make it better. Lol, I digress, even I enjoy some Moosehead light, or Keith's socially among friends.