Cost Of A 6-Pack In The Bottle Shops Stuns The Travel Blogger
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Blogger
I had long assumed – incorrectly, as it turns out – that the price of beer in Australia is cheap.
Before actually visiting the country, I had met and become friends with several Australians and they drank beer on a level that would make Canadians proud.
And while I knew that many things in Oz are pricy, the volume in which the Aussies drank beer had me thinking I would be encountering a kind of beer-cost heaven along the lines of an American college party town.
So when I first walked into an Australian beer store – called a “bottle shop” – I was shocked at the prices.
Buying Beer At Government Prices
I should have known something was up (like the prices) when I had to walk into a designated government-run store to buy the beer in the first place. Unlike in America, you can’t get beer from a convenience or grocery store and I knew from my experiences with the Beer Store in Canada that government-controlled pricing is always bad on the beer-drinker’s wallet.
Still, I waltzed in expecting to walk out carrying reasonably-priced beers. I had become somewhat of a fan of Tooeys New, a basic but good lager available in every bar.
As I was spending a few days at a friend’s house before moving onto a hotel, I was looking for a 12-pack to carry me through the week. I was in Surfer’s Paradise to help my mate, who at the time ran the Miss V8 Supercars contest through ProCon Leisure and we would be on the go a lot and up early in the mornings, so a 12-pack was the perfect size.
Except I couldn’t find any 12-packs. All they had were 6-packs and cases. Yet the prices posted around the 6-packs indicated there were 12-packs somewhere, so I asked the guy at the counter.
“Excuse me, but I see you have the prices of the 12-packs but I only see the 6-packs,” I said.” Where are the 12-packs.”
“Sorry mate,” he said, “but those are the prices for the 6-packs.”
I nearly fainted. Before the shock could wear off and I could speak again, he continued, “the government makes the beer expensive to try and make us cut down on drinking it. But it doesn’t work, obviously.”
The price of the 6-pack was $15.99. $15.99!
I began to look around for an alternative – perhaps there was an Australian equivalent of bottom-of-the-barrel American beers like Pabst – but nope. My only alternative was to buy a case, which was $30, but I didn’t want to lug a bunch of beer around with me for the next several days.
So I very hesitantly paid $15.99 for the 6-pack.. I can’t tell you how long it took to get the wallet out of my pocket.
When I reported this to my mate, he said – in that kind of shrug-off manner that Australians use when confronted with any type of danger or unfortunate circumstance – “you should gotten a carton.” Meaning a case.
Well, that 6-pack went down a lot faster than I had anticipated and I was all-too-quickly back at the beer store.
“You should have gotten a carton,” my mate repeated.
During the next several days, when I moved into the hotel, the staff and I had a few beers in our rooms after long days, which meant more trips back to the beer store. And more paying $15.99 for 6-packs.
After the event, I was on my own and went to Byron Bay. My first stop, after securing a room at the popular hotel/hostel Nomads, was to the beer store. And I spent another $15.99.
I should have gotten a carton.