I’ve got beer as an expense on my monthly budget-othewise god only knows how much I’d blow- and I’ve always felt that beer in the grocery store was far more expensive than it really ought to be.
There’s a mini-rant at the New School blog about this topic and the author asks people to chime in with reasons why beer is so expensive–and of course, nobody really has any clue. There’s some nonsense about ‘that’s what the consumer will pay’ but you know what? I don’t set prices for beer. Someone else does and there’s very few ways for me to know if I’m being screwed or not. What I can do is not buy that beer, because it’s too expensive and homebrew. However, that’s not an option for most people. They pay what the store tells them to: If they could get it cheaper elsewhere, of course they would do that. Consumers have a lot less power, I think, then most economists try to foist on us.
It’s suggested that Oregon’s distribution system for beer (which is examined, also at the New School blog, here) may be an accomplice in the high prices. I wouldn’t doubt it, especially as that system becomes more tightly controlled by one or maybe two corporations.
I’m happy to pay what’s fair but how do we measure what’s fair? How do I know what’s fair? I have to confess, I don’t know enough about the industry to say, all I can do is look at what information is available and say: something seems wrong about this.