Before my income went below the poverty level, I didn’t think too much about what beer I was buying, as long as it was a good brand. Those days are long gone and now I have to go with lower price options for my weekend refreshment. It reminds me of the days when I turned eighteen and I was just starting out. Back then, 18 was the legal drinking age in Wisconsin. I soon discovered that there were price levels that establish a hierarchy for beer. At the top end you have craft beer, then import beer, specialty brews, and finally the domestic mass market. It was only a few years ago that I was buying from the upper end. But this year, I’m back to the lower end of the domestic world. Instead of Bud Light and Michelob Draft, it’s down to Busch Light and Miller Highlife.
There is about a dollar difference between a 12 pack of Bud Light and Busch Light. I’ve seen several YouTube videos of people comparing domestic beers. Usually, the taste is so similar that they have a hard time picking a favorite. There is yet another level below Busch and Miller. I consider this the lowest tier of the beer world. Around here that would consist of Pabst Blue Ribbon, Milwaukee’s Best, and Natural Ice or Light. Each level seems to be a dollar more expensive than the one before it. Beer drinkers tend to get a price in their heads and refuse to pay any more than that. It helps to have a liquor store nearby that always has a sale on my favorite brands. I was surprised to see how much beer prices vary from place to place. Chain stores that have a dedicated liquor department are going to have the lowest prices. They have the most buying power from distributors. Even then, it pays to shop around. Never buy alcoholic beverages from a gas station, unless you want to pay full price plus markup and tax. We have a local tax on top of the state tax that bumps the tax on alcohol to over 10%. That adds another dollar to a 12 pack! It gets harder every year to enjoy a cold beer.