Miami is a damn expensive place to live, but you can always take comfort in the abundance of craft beer in the city to help drown some of your money sorrows. As you'd expect — averaging $5 per pint in this town —even beer is considered pricey in the Magic City, ranked the 13th most expensive city in the world for buying a cold brew.
This is according to GoEuro, a travel booking website for European trips, which compiled beer data from 75 cities around the globe. The site calculated prices of the five most commonly imported beers in the world as well as local brews. The rankings cover the first half of 2016 and are based on the 33-centiliter, or 11-ounce, bottle, which is the standard European size, and consider factors such as supermarket and bar prices, annual consumption, and how much each person spends on average. GoEuro even included nonalcoholic beers for research in Abu Dhabi.
Miami is a relatively inexpensive place to grab a brew compared to the number one city, Lausanne, Switzerland, at $9.51, followed by Hong Kong at $6.22 and Singapore at $5.75. Zurich comes in fourth at $5.69. Still, at 5 bucks, Miami is still above the average price of $3.50 for a pint.
Why is beer expensive in the 305? For one, our city has skyrocketing property values. Businesses in Wynwood pay up to tens of thousands of dollars in rent each month, which might partially explain the need for prices to reach the double digits for a pint of beer.
Ingredients are also a factor. According to the Brewers Association, measuring industrywide standardizations in base ingredients is difficult. However, prices for hops and grain have risen as much as 40 to 100 percent in recent years, according to the Wall Street Journal in 2007.
Then there's the expensive adjunct ingredients. Earlier this month, J. Wakefield Brewing Company released a Russian imperial stout made with kopi luwak — regarded as the most expensive coffee in the world. This "civet cat" coffee sells for as much as $600 per pound. Beers at this brewery can run as much as $10 for a pint of the rare stuff.
"Even though we pride ourselves on using the best-quality ingredients in our beers, it’s important that the price point is reasonable to the average consumer," says Alex Gutierrez, a cicerone and brand director for J. Wakefield Brewing. "Consumers have an understanding that enjoying a quality craft beer is a form of luxury and are willing to pay more for something they believe is of better quality."
The skill of the brewer can factor into the price too, says Miami Brewing Company brewer Jacob Lindsay. But in many cases, Lindsay adds, it's greed that drives the price of beer in Miami — craft brew or not.
"I think $3 or $4 for a pint is fair," Lindsay says, adding that some beers at Miami Brewing Company cost $3.05 for certain happy-hour specials. "Even on a craft beer scale, it shouldn't cost that much."
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Cities with the least expensive beer include Bratislava, Slovakia, at $1.65; Kiev, Ukraine, at $1.66; and Krakow, Poland, at $1.87 (tied with Cape Town, South Africa).
In the States, Miami is right behind Los Angeles, where it costs $5.36 for the average price of a beer. Miami also happens to be a city where people tend to drop big bucks on whatever they're buying, at $1,278.26 per capita.
It seems like the high price of a pint isn't much of deterrent. Miami is also on the high end of beer consumption, with an average of 23 gallons per person far in 2016.