Announcing the results of the first Portland Beer Price Index (drumroll, please...): the average price of a six-pack of Oregon craft beer in Southeast Portland is $8.85. A 22-ounce bomber averages $4.90, and 16 ounces of quality draft beer will typically set you back $4.27. Not very fascinating information, but my real goal is to calculate the PBPI four times a year, so we can watch price trends over time. That might not turn out to be very fascinating, either, but from where I sit in the United States of $9 Six-Packs, I wish I could see the trend that took us here from five dollars or less.
Since the PBPI is based on regular retail and non-happy-hour prices, you can almost always get something a buck or two cheaper. In the future, I might also collect sale prices on the same day that I gather the regular prices, but I didn't want to get in over my head on this first mission. Here is what went into the index:
- Six-packs: Bridgeport IPA, Caldera Pale Ale, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Full Sail Amber, Terminal Gravity IPA, Widmer Broken Halo
- Bombers: Hopworks IPA, Laurelwood Red, Lompoc C-Note, Ninkasi Total Domination, Pelican IPA, Rogue Shakespeare Stout
- Stores: Beermongers (bombers only), Belmont Station, Fred Meyers, New Seasons, Safeway (six-packs only)
- Bars: Bailey's Taproom, Barley Mill, Belmont Station, Deschutes, Green Dragon, Hopworks, Horse Brass, Lucky Lab, Vincente's Pizza
- SPE: Six-pack equivalent prices: bombers, $16.04; pints, $19.22
- Not included: bottle deposits, bartender tips
For the pint prices, I took the most typical price of a pint-like serving at the place, and converted it to an SPE price based on the glassware. The average of all of those is the $19.22 SPE reported above; then to make it intelligible, I converted it back to a price per 16 ounces, since that's the most common way for people to think of a pint (even though most of the time you're served a little more or a little less than that).
Notice that the bomber SPE isn't far from what you'd pay for pints in a bar. And that's the average, so it's really just barely below the most economical imperial-pint establishments: Lucky Lab, Horse Brass, and Bailey's. Tips will increase your costs, but some of the best beer specials around town come in way below the bomber SPE: Tuesdays at Roots ($9.47) or East Burn ($9.60), or Mondays at the Lucky Lab ($12.32). You could tip lavishly on top of that and still spend less than on bombers. Support your local pub!
Next quarter's PBPI will be out right around Christmas.