By Amanda Morrall (email)
This is a republication of our original story calculating the cost of popular Kiwi beverages. Please note that Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand does not recommend drinking six standard units for men (four for women) in one go rather considers that to be a measure of excessive drinking when it goes beyond. My apologies for any confusion I might have caused in the video on that subject.
A little departure from the usual financial fodder today; a sobering look at how much it costs to wet your whistle depending on your preferred poison. Home brew secrets happily accepted.
My new "friend" loves beer. He's an Aussie. Go figure. I don't want to know how many per month. The stats tell me a lot. Apparently, the beer swilling nation, or its citizens rather, drink on average 89 litres of the stuff per year.
New Zealanders by comparison are a bit more restrained. We consume somewhere around 78 litres per year. Well, not me personally, I love wine. So does my big boss (not Bernard). Big Boss loves vino almost as much as he loves making charts so he decided to whip one up so we could see the cost per cup of boozing and compare it to other non alcoholic beverages.
Back to beer. I do enjoy the odd one. Mac's Gold is my favourite. It typically costs around a $15 for a six pack. Big boss loves a bargain. He used a 6 pack of Steinlager (retail price at Countdown $12.99) for our model. The cost, per 250 ml (that's one cup) rings in at $1.64. A standard bottle is 330 ml so we're looking at $2 plus a pop. My conservative guess of Aussie's consumption is 14 beers a week. I'm going to round up and say that's a $30 a week habit, $120 a month or $1560 a year.
In crude terms, using our pricing model, a litre of beer works out on average to $7.92. Assuming the average Kiwi consumes 78 litres, that's an annual expenditure of just under $620 a year, whereas the average Aussie, at 89 litres, forks out just over $700. As that doesn't include beers bought at pubs, parties or BBQs, I'm guessing those are very conservative numbers. Crikey!
After getting myself dumped by the Aussie, I'll probably have to give up drinking "quality wine" and opt for the cheap stuff or rather the "standard" fare. Let's see how much I'll save myself...
We priced out a standard bottle of Shiraz at $13.99. That's not what many would call cheap but what we'll call cheerful and more importantly drinkable. That breaks down to $4.66 per 250 ml. The standard wine bottle contains 750 ml. To be fair to the Aussie, I couldn't find the statistics on average wine consumption for New Zealanders and Australians. I'm not a big drinker but if I'm honest I could drink a bottle of week. I try not to but assuming I did my own habit would ring in at close to $730. All of a sudden I'm not feeling so virtuous.
3) Quality wine
The economics of drinking wine go from bad to worse as you move up the grape scale.
A quality Shiraz, and we're being conservative here, sells for $22.50 at Countdown. Yes, you can get really good sales and pay half this but we're talking in general terms here.
The damage, for those with a refined wine palate is $7.50 per 250 ml making it the most expensive beverage by far. The boss and I rationalised that for the good stuff, you're far less likely to binge, and therefore enjoy in smaller quantities than you might otherwise with cheap stuff. Admittedly, this is a gross generalisation that overlooks many factors, including one's thirst, income and the type of week you've had. Let's just say if I get dumped, I won't be drowning my sorrows in my favourite bottle of Central Otago Pinot.
I'm not a big fan of the fizzy. Bubbles, well that's another story. But were I to substitute beer or wine for carbonated sugary highs, I'd be a fair sight better off financially. Dismissing (but not minimising the health issues) Coke looks like the friendliest choice. It works out to be $0.44 per 250 ml. Cheaper than milk, which is really quite distressing.
The big boss is a generous guy. He stocks our fridge with L&P, one of the priciest pops on the market at $0.97 per 250 ml. Lemon Lime Bitters is marginally easier on the pocket book at $0.61 per 250 ml.
When I left Canada, I gave up drinking juice. I used to drink gallons of OJ. Given the abundance or oranges grown by our neighbour to the South, you could buy the frozen concentrate for a steal. It tasted quite nice. I'm not big on reconstituted juice and Charlies, as yummy and fresh as it is, is usually quite dear unless you find it on sale.
Big boss is a fan of Cranberry. He loves the good life too even though he's a number cruncher. After he crunched the numbers on cranberry, I think he's feeling a bit sour. It works out to $0.83 per 250 ml. OJ is close to $.10 cheaper so perhaps he'll be switching.
Of course for those watching their pennies, and waistlines, water is the obvious choice. Something to be said for sobriety and clean living after all. Beer anyone?
For other Take Fives by Amanda Morrall click here. You can also follow Amanda on Twitter @amandamorrall