Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Portland Beer Price Index: Summer 2011

Even though we've endured a lot of rain this June, it is indeed the summer solstice, that bittersweet moment when the days are blessedly long, but doomed to grow shorter.  So allow me to present the Summer 2011 installment of the Portland Beer Price Index.  Beer prices are migrating northward this quarter, as you can see by the chart on the left, which shows the average retail shelf price and "on-sale" price of six-packs in the survey.  I've added one retail location, one six-pack, and one bomber to the data; I'll explain the changes in detail below.  As always, I ask you to remember that this is not a rant about how expensive beer is, it's simply a project to watch how prices change over time.  If you're having trouble sleeping, click here for a full explanation of the PBPI.

The Summer 2011 PBPI is as follows:
  • 6-packs: $9.03, up 11 cents
  • 22-ounce bombers: $5.08, up 8 cents
  • 6-packs (sale price): $8.69, up 11 cents
  • 22-ounce bombers (sale price): $4.90, up 5 cents
  • 16 oz. draft: $4.33, up 4 cents
  • 16 oz. draft (happy hour): $3.57, up 5 cents
Everything's going up.  Two pubs raised their draft prices this quarter, and the six-pack and bomber prices are not surprisingly continuing an upward trend.  The reported six-pack price here is actually up more than 11 cents since last time: that is due to the fact that I've added the relatively expensive Ninkasi Total Domination six-packs into the data.  I recorded the Ninkasi price last quarter but left it out of the index at that time since I didn't have any past data on it.  This time it's in for good, and this quarter's numbers reflect the change from last quarter when you include Ninkasi in both numbers.

On the bomber side, I had hoped Beer Valley Leafer Madness would be a more permanently available choice than Pelican IPA, but Fred Meyer has stopped carrying Leafer, and I didn't see it at QFC either.  Reluctantly, I will leave both Pelican and Leafer in for now, since each is available at 3 of the 5 locations I canvass.

One change to the PBPI that I'm excited about is that I added a fifth store to the retail survey:  Pearl Specialty Market.  Despite my efforts to compile a list of beers that are pretty universally available, it's surprisingly difficult to find a store that carries all of them.  I was very happy to notice that Pearl does carry them, so I added the store to the survey.  That addition also helps the bomber sale price numbers, since if you buy 6 bombers at Pearl, you get a 10% discount.

Look for the next PBPI around the fall equinox.


  1. Isn't something like Stone Arrogant Bastard more likely to be at more stores? I seem to see those 22's every where.

    Good info! THANKS.

  2. @Anon: I only have Oregon beers on the list. Now that you mention it, I'm not sure why that matters, but at least it made the choices a lot easier to make.

  3. The index will be rising shortly. Looks like Deschutes, Bridgeport and others are taking prices up $1.50 per case on 10/3