What Happened to "cheap" Beer?


What is "cheap" beer?

To many of us, "cheap" beer is that beer brewed by the biggest of brewers in the largest of quantities. And like anything made in bulk and brewed with inexpensive ingredients (like corn and rice the way macro lagers are), it should come as no surprise when we hear people refer to american lagers as the "cheap" beer. But how cheap is it really?

When out at the pub (two actually) recently, I noticed something that leaves me with the impression that although I grew up with $0.25 draft, those days are over and many of us may not even realize it.

Now, just to be clear, when it comes to what beer a person chooses to drink, I try hard not to judge because we are all in our own "beer phase" in one way or another and seriously, it's only a few years ago when I couldn't choke down a beer (cheap beer that is...hahaha) without half a glass of clamato juice disguising it. But when I see people having a "cheap" beer in the pub, I wonder if it's because they prefer the taste or if they think they are getting a better deal like the old days...craft beer has often earned the reputation of being premium priced but the reality is, the "cheap" beer today is coming in at the premium price!

Ounce for ounce, craft beer and macro lagers on tap are selling at about the same price...$0.40/ounce for a 16 ounce pint or $0.38/ounce for a 20 ounce pint, unless of course you're enjoying a Guinness or a Stella at the "premium" beer price of $0.47/ounce for a 16 ounce pint or $0.40/ounce for a 20 ounce pint. But if you're opting for a 12 ounce bottle of an american lager (that's right, I mean Bud) you're paying $0.48/ounce. That's right...beer in a bottle...with the highest likelihood of being "light struck" (causing premature aging of the beer) and made with the cheapest of ingredients available, is selling for more than any "premium" beer on the menu.

So I guess it's safe to say that "cheap" beer just isn't a reality anymore...at least not at the pub. So the next time you consider ordering that macro lager in your local pub, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons...love it or leave it...because quality and price still matter.


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