Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Portland Beer Price Index: Summer 2013

This quarter's installment of the Portland Beer Price Index (PBPI) won't surprise anyone.  Prices in every category are up, in some cases by quite a bit.  The graph on the left isn't very dramatic, I admit, since it's on a scale of $0 to $16.  But I wanted to shake things up a bit by giving you a graphic representation of the price difference between six-packs (in orange) and the six-pack equivalent (SPE) price of 22-ounce bombers (in blue).  If you want the detailed numbers, click on the graph to see a larger version, but the small graph nicely illustrates the bomber price penalty -- about 80% right now.  The average bomber in town is priced like a $15.66 six-pack, when it's on sale.  Regular price is now like a $16.36 six-pack.

Here are the Portland Beer Price Index numbers for the summer quarter of 2013:
  • 6-packs: $9.37, up 21 cents
  • 22-ounce bombers: $5.00, up 12 cents
  • 6-packs (sale price): $8.72, up 11 cents
  • 22-ounce bombers (sale price): $4.78, up 7 cents
  • 16 oz. draft: $4.52 up 5 cents
  • 16 oz. draft (happy hour): $3.65, up 6 cents
This is the 16th installment of the PBPI (though only the 15th counting the more useful sale/happy hour prices).  For the 4th edition (2010Q2), I dropped the Hawthorne Safeway because it didn't have any of the bombers I was indexing.  I knew the beer selection was better there since the store was remodeled over a year ago, but it didn't occur to me until the other day that they carry all the beers in the index now!  It's always been a struggle to keep a full slate of stores that carry all the beers, so I will happily add them back in to the index next quarter.  It also gives me the option of dropping New Seasons -- something I never thought I'd say -- since they are now the only store I canvass that doesn't carry any Rogue bombers.

If you require more information on the makeup of the PBPI, read the page which describes the composition of the index.  Check back three months from now for the autumn numbers, and meanwhile spread the word about the bomber price penalty.


  1. Not that what you have is bad, but I think your index needs to be updated to provide a more complete picture of what's happening. Some of the styles and locations need to be changed out.

  2. Hi Pete:

    I'm always open to specific suggestions, subject to a few limitations:

    1. Places have to be somewhere I can easily get to on a bicycle.

    2. Retail places have to carry all (or maybe all but one) of the bottles on the index.

    3. Conversely, to get on the index, a bottle has to be available at all (or maybe all but one) of the retail places.

    4. Beers on the index must be brewed in Oregon.

    5. I would like to keep a certain amount of geographic and style diversity in the bottle list, as long as #3 and #4 are met.

    I recognize that there are a lot of new breweries and new favorite beers in the four years since I started this. That said, the main goal is to show the change of beer prices over time, so I try not to jostle the composition too much.

    I'll admit that I talk about the numbers as though they represent an accurate average or typical beer price, but that is simply hubris on my part. If you averaged the price paid for every bomber sold in Portland, I think it would be a much higher number; if you averaged the price paid for every six-pack it would be much lower.

  3. Just a comment on the bombers graph. Most of us small brewers cannot afford a bottling line, meaning we have to hire a mobile bottling line if we want our product on the shelves at all. This pretty much means 22 oz bombers and of course an increase in cost to us. Keep up the good work. Love reading your blog.
    Mike @ Vertigo

  4. Bill - in one of the comments on the Bomber Price Penalty post, you wrote "if the beer is available in both 22's and 6-packs, your cheapest, smallest option is to buy a single 12-ounce bottle from the 6-pack." I know John's Market allows this. Do any of the major grocery stores?

  5. After almost five years of the $5 Imperial we had to bump up the Brewers Union Imperial Pint (liquid to line) to $5.50. Sounds in keeping with the trends.

  6. Beer prices are going up October 1. Looks like 6 packs are going up $1.00 per case at cost.


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