If you’re anything like me, there is an excellent chance you will include a visit or two to a nearby pub as part of any travel excursion. This desire to pub crawl isn’t simply the need to satisfy a craving for booze. Checking out pubs is also a great way to meet new people and gain a better understanding of the local culture and that is why I always set aside time to bar hop wherever my adventures may take me.
While tavern traipsing is a universal tourist desire, one thing that is not universally consistent is the price of a drink. Deutsche Bank, a European financial institution with a growing presence in North America, analyzes costs of different services as a benefit to its clients and one of the services it investigates is the cost of a beer at a local pub. The price of beer, it turns out, varies widely with the beer in the most expensive city costing more than 7 times as much as the beer in the least expensive city. Here is a bar chart summary of 2017 beer prices in different world cities for a 500 ml, or roughly one pint serving of beer, ranked from highest to lowest:
As the data shows, beer tends to be very expensive in the Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark. Anyone who has traveled to this part of the world knows that most everything is expensive, and it is mainly due to the high taxes. Norway’s $9.90 price tag is rather extreme, yes, but think of the high price you pay as making a social/charitable donation to the nation’s poorer citizens, since this is where much of the tax will go. Singapore’s high beer prices and those of other top- ranking cities are also due, in large part, to the excessive demands of government entities.
Taxes in the United States are not as high and those in the Scandinavian countries, yet New York City still charges a the high price of $7.40 for a pint of beer. Boston is also rather expensive at $7.20. Among the American cities surveyed, Chicago was the lowest, with a price of $5.30 per pint.
If you want to drink cheaply when you travel, it’s going to be tough to beat the Czech Republic. A half- liter of local pub brew in Prague costs only $1.30 and if my math is correct, that works out to about $5.54 for a full six pack of 12 oz. cans! As we Americans already know, $5.54 is cheaper than the price we pay for beer in a store, much less a pub. And let’s not overlook South Africa, Portugal, the Philippines, Poland, and Mexico- five other nations where a serving of beer sells for under $3.00 on average.
Taxes, availability, importing, and the general workings of supply and demand all factor into the beer price equation and the difference from one nation to the next is quite remarkable. Keep these things in mind the next time you venture far from home- that visit to a pub may help you gain valuable insight into local culture, yes. But it could set you back financially a little further than you bargained for.