Monday, December 21, 2009

Portland Beer Price Index: Winter 2009

It's the winter solstice, time once again for the quarterly Portland Beer Price Index. In response to comments on the first PBPI back in September, I recorded not only the regular price of the beers in the survey, but also sale prices (for retail) and happy hour prices (for bars).

Reminder: this survey is not a complaint about beer prices generally or at any particular place. It's just my attempt to watch price trends over time. For more details on which beers and establishments were surveyed, see the first PBPI.

Here is the Winter 2009 PBPI:
  • 6-packs: $8.75, down 10 cents
  • 22-ounce bombers: $5.03, down 5 cents
  • 6-packs (sale price): $7.85
  • 22-ounce bombers (sale price): $4.97
  • 16 oz. draft: $4.20, unchanged
  • 16 oz. draft (happy hour): $3.46
The makeup of the BPBI has changed a little bit, and I went back and recalculated the fall numbers based on that. When the big boys do it, they call it "restating". One change is that I reluctantly dropped Beermongers from the bomber index, because they only had 3 of the 6 bombers in stock when I was there (not a single bottle from Hopworks, Laurelwood, or Lompoc). I was really counting on them to lower the index a little bit with their great prices -- indeed, the autumn bomber index is 18 cents higher without them -- but their selection misses too many Portland standards. The other change was adding Bridgeport's Hawthorne Ale House to the pub list -- because of their generous happy hour -- which lowered the 16-ounce index from $4.27 to $4.20.

The decline in retail prices is mainly due to Belmont Station's lower prices, though Fred Meyers lowered one or two also. The sale/happy-hour prices are based on all the beers in the survey, so it includes beers that weren't on sale. That's especially evident in the bomber prices -- almost none of them were marked down when I did my canvass. A few more details are worth mentioning:
  • I used Belmont Station's cash prices. Purchases with a credit or debit card are higher.
  • Not only is the pub average unchanged, but no pub in the survey changed its regular price since September.
  • Six-pack equivalent (SPE) prices:
    • bomber: $16.46
    • sale bomber: $16.27
    • pub: $18.91
    • pub happy hour: $15.55
Look for the Spring 2010 PBPI around March 21st.

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