Starting in the middle of 2011, the Portland Beer Price Index (PBPI) looked like it was showing bomber prices decreasing while six-pack prices marched slowly upwards. Not that I was excited about more expensive six-packs, but I have always considered the bomber price penalty to be a temporary distortion peculiar to the beer industry. I thought the SPE of bombers would eventually fall below six-pack prices. I can't think of another consumer liquid where a larger package is more expensive per ounce than a bundle of little packages. It's not true of soda pop, wine, liquor, bottled water, shampoo, ... you name it.
But the trend I was hoping to spot didn't continue, and now we have bomber prices -- shown in the chart -- higher than ever before, while six-pack prices fell even more than they did last time. And not just the sale prices, but the "official" prices. Here are the Portland Beer Price Index numbers for this quarter:
- 6-packs: $9.16, down 7 cents
- 22-ounce bombers: $4.88, up 4 cents
- 6-packs (sale price): $8.61, down 15 cents
- 22-ounce bombers (sale price): $4.71, up 5 cents
- 16 oz. draft: $4.47 up 3 cents
- 16 oz. draft (happy hour): $3.59, down 2 cents
For some reason, the bombers in the PBPI aren't feeling that heat, and Laurelwood has raised the price on their bombers by 10% this time, though most retailers have a sale price on them for now to cushion the blow. However, there might be a bias in the bombers I've selected, because I've seen some new sale prices on other bombers that I've long considered either slightly or wildly overpriced.
Logistically, I'm starting to be troubled by HUB IPA bombers. New Seasons appears to have dumped them in favor of HUB tallboys, and QFC has a space on the shelf for them, but no bottles and an obviously incorrect price tag ($6.30). For this month's numbers I subbed in other HUB bombers those stores were carrying (DOA at QFC, Secession at New Seasons). The HUB tallboys are a great innovation, especially if they can get the price closer to Ninkasi's SPE, but I may need to find a replacement for the bombers in the index (come to think of it, Gigantic IPA would make a reasonable and somewhat poetic replacement).
If you require more information on the makeup of the PBPI, read the page which describes the composition of the index.