Cost of Living in Australia: Alcohol. This Week: Beer

by BobinOz on October 20, 2009

in Cost of Living - Australia

Beer Prices in Australia.

Whilst the production team (me) here at BobinOz do not condone excessive alcohol consumption we do appreciate that some people might enjoy an occasional glass of wine or the odd beer.

The occasions Mrs BobinOz enjoys wine include nightfall and my idea of an odd beer would be 11 cans of XXXX.

But how does the cost of alcohol in Australia compare with that in the UK? Let’s find out. I am going to split alcohol into three categories; beer wine and spirits. I guess I am not the first person in the world to do that. This week, we look at beer prices. So I went off to the bottle-o….

The Bottle Shop
The Bottle Shop

Comparing like for like is impossible with this particular cost comparison as Australia has Australian beers and England has English beers. Of course, you can buy English beers here in Australia, but you will pay a premium for that. You can even buy Australian beers in England but again, the price will be at a premium. So how can I do a comparison?

I have a cunning plan!

Let’s suppose you have nine friends and you want to buy each of them a litre of beer of their choice. Of course, you will also buy yourself a litre of beer. How much would it cost you in each country?

The Australian beers were priced from a bottle shop called Liquorland, which is owned by the Coles supermarket chain. Coles is Australia’s equivalent to Sainsbury’s, (the Woolworths supermarket chain here is equivalent to Tesco) and the English beers were priced from Sainsbury’s. Seem fair?

First, Australia:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Notes to the above table:

  • If it says “bitter” in the name, it’s not! It’s a lager.
  • Beer here is very much territorial by state. For example, XXXX Bitter comes from Queensland whereas Victoria Bitter comes from (surprise surprise) Victoria. I got my prices from a bottle-o in Queensland, but if I went to Victoria, then VB would probably be cheaper and XXXX Bitter more expensive.
  • XXXX Gold (3.5%) is a very popular here, but how it can be more expensive than XXXX Bitter at 4.6% is anybody’s guess.
  • Hahn Light at 2.6% is closer to a lemonade than a beer, yet still more expensive than Hammer and Tongs at 4%. Who says it pays to stay sober?
  • Finally, the international beers, Becks, Stella Artois and Corona are much more expensive than Australian beers.

I should also mention that you can buy beers in singles and six packs as well. But everybody buys beer in cartons, if they have any sense. Why? Here’s an example:

One can of the VB would cost you $2.93 and a six pack of VB would cost you $16.34. That would make the carton price the equivalent of $87.90 or $81.70 instead of the actual carton price of $49.99.

English Beer:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

What can we make of your two “rounds”. Firstly, the average alcohol by volume of my selection of Australian beers is 4.22% whereas the English beers average is 4.26%. Not enough to fight over, even though we’ve been drinking.

The Australian round cost $45.12 whereas the English beers cost £19.36. At today’s exchange rate of $1.76 to the pound, the English drinks would have cost just $34.07 here in Australia.

That makes Australian beer a massive 32% more expensive than in the UK.

But if GBP/AUD were to recover and get back to two dollars to the pound, and then Australia’s beer would only be 16% dearer.

If the pound would really recover and get back to the good old days when an Australian dollar was worth just 40p then Australian beer would be 7% cheaper than England’s.

But then if you take into account that the average Australian salary may be at least 31.7% higher than it is in England, then beer is cheaper here all day long!

But for today’s cost of living comparison, this time England wins! And their beers taste better.

I hope that clears everything up for you. I’m really beginning to enjoy this series on the cost of living in Australia and England compared. But right now, I need a drink.

Hold on! I want to go to the pub, not drink cans indoors.

Okay. From the pubs I’ve been to you can get a pint of beer at anything between six dollars and $11 a pint, not a mid or a schooner, a pint. You may recall I went to the Brisbane Casino for a drink the other week and paid just $6.90 for pint of Stella Artois. I thought that was excellent value for here in Australia.

What would a pint of Stella cost in a bar in England these days?

Well I believe the average price of a pint in the UK today is around £2.70 to £3.00. So again, England is cheaper. But there’s not much in it.

Now can I have that beer?


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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

LynneK April 24, 2015 at 9:21 am

Club where I live charged me $9 for a bottle of wine plus $7 for taking it home, making $16. Why is this $7 charge added when safe drinking at home without driving after drinking at the club. Anyway who wants to be the only customer drinking in the club of an evening.


BobinOz April 24, 2015 at 10:25 pm

Sounds ridiculous to me, but I have no idea why this club made that additional charge, you would have to ask them. Sounds like they ripped you off. I’d use a different club or go to a proper bottle shop.


mark October 29, 2014 at 5:46 pm

why no strong lagers here. you can buy 12% wine for a couple of bucks a bottle for rotgut but no special brew or tenants extra at 8-9%? I am a pom from hull who fell for an aussie in uk and moved here with her, Canberra.


BobinOz October 29, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Interesting question Mark, I don’t know the answer for sure, but I can have a good guess. I think the way tax is applied to alcohol and, of course, beer here in Australia is slightly different. The stronger the brew, the higher the tax. If you look at the costs of beers here, lights are cheaper than the mids and mids are cheaper than heavies.

So I think if somebody were to sell a 8 to 9% lager here, it would probably be quite expensive, whereas back in the UK, there wasn’t that much difference. So that’s probably why it is not widely available.

That said, I’m sure you could get hold of it if you went to the right bottle shop, Dan Murphy’s would be a good place to try if you have them where you are or any kind of specialist brew shop. Canberra must have tenants extra, I think all the politicians drink it :-)

Cheers, Bob


peter September 13, 2014 at 10:01 pm

for those looking for a carton of 24 stubbies at a good price try clean skin at $34 a carton it makes great value it.s 4.5% and imported from Korea and it.s also naturally fermented and it,s O K available at liquorland and first choice


BobinOz September 15, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Good tip Peter and additionally I think most places sell a clean skin wine as well, they also usually work out quite cheap. I think ‘clean skin’ basically means it doesn’t have a proper label as in name of the beer or wine.


Geoman July 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Howdy all,

As a local in Perth now i moved at the time this thread start back in 2009. You could get at th Down Under Bar at the palace back packers cnr Adelaide and Edward St Brisbane XXXX pints for $4.50. In Perth it will set you back about $9 -$10 a pint for local swill, more at the belgium beer cafe Hoogaarten look at $18 a pint no mistake there. So if your in Perth, 2 palce 7th Avenue 30 mins east by train in midland does a $4.90 special but check what it is and the High Wycombe the same about 30 East by bus. Other than that I haven’t found anything all that decent. At least I am heading to Brissy next week, so I’ll enjoy a cheap coldie there.

All the best



BobinOz July 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm

$18 a pint, wow, that would be an expensive night out. Some places here in Brisbane do charge $9-$10 for a pint, but there are also some places where you will get it for around seven dollars.

I don’t think you’ll find a $4.50 pint here though, I think those days are gone, although my local sells a jug (2 pints) for $10. Lovely!

Thanks Geo, hope you enjoy your beer here in Brissy.



iDphoto graphy July 19, 2013 at 2:00 am

I’m a beer lover and that jumped to my eye.. Stella Artois is Belgian, just like me ^^
But thanks for the info 😉


BobinOz July 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Dear fellow beer lover, I quite like Stella too :-)


iDphoto graphy July 19, 2013 at 9:54 pm

But there are better beers than Stella ^^, like a real Guinness or an Affligem triple. Sad it’s so expensive out there…


BobinOz July 21, 2013 at 10:55 pm
moom June 25, 2012 at 8:05 am

Just got to Perth and was shocked to pay $9 for a beer, but sounds like I got a good deal. Never have to pay such high prices in Canberra. But usually we drink in the Labor Club and pay about $5 a beer…


BobinOz June 25, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Was it a proper pint though? If it was, it wasn’t a bad price. Going rate around here is about $7 for 375 mL. But drinking out is definitely not cheap in Australia.

It’s enough to drive you to drink :-)


Al August 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Beer and spirits are a total rip off in Australia. In Central Europe one can buy a 750ml bottle of cheap spirit for under 10 Dollars. You can get beer for 70 cents (0.5liter bottle or can). And the beer is not poisoned with fluoride there.

It’s all tax here in Australia, which goes to the corrupt politicians. And, NO!… the tax money does NOT GO BACK to the community, as they claim, but it goes to the richest few hundred people….


BobinOz August 31, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I know, it’s enough to drive you to drink isn’t it!

I brew my own beer, works out at about 70 cents per half litre as well. And there’s no fluoride in that either! Too easy.

Anyway, I think you’ll find corrupt politicians are universal.


BobinOz February 2, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I don’t think I have ever seen it on sale anywhere, although I know it’s about. I’ve never seen anyone drinking it. Don’t know why. Anyone know?

Some clues over at boozle


Dave the Yank February 1, 2011 at 5:27 am

I will be home brewing……On a related note, why is Fosters beer not popular down there? I bought a 12 pack this weekend and thought it was very good.



BobinOz January 31, 2011 at 12:32 pm

When I used to live in England, I would take day trips to France to buy English beer. Beers like Old Speckled Hen, Bishops Finger and Spitfire were all way cheaper in France.

So the beers were brewed in England, exported to France and I’d drive all the way over there to buy them and bring them back.

Crazy really!


Gordon January 28, 2011 at 8:48 pm

“Beer from the shop on the other hand, you’re looking at around four dollars or more per litre. ”

It makes petrol seem cheap !

Then again , so does the price of bottled water !

Dave , a 30 pack of Carlton Mid or Fourex Gold will be upwards of $30 , up to $35 – $37 depending on locale and time of week , most bottle shops / liquor barns have their weekly specials which are often predictable . My local can vary by as much as $8 , Friday is cheap day here.

Grog related but not beer , my folks went to New York a few years back and took with them a good bottle of Aussie wine , they found the SAME wine in a N.Y. bottlo cheaper!

Sometimes it’s hard to make sense of it all !

Cough , ahem , I don’t mind a cold beer myself . but only on days that end in a “y”


BobinOz January 28, 2011 at 3:09 pm

That’s a good idea, maybe I will. But I can tell you that home brew is big business here in Australia. So big that even some of the major supermarkets sell tins of homebrew.

And the cost? If I buy the rather more expensive liquid wort, it cost about $1.20 a litre to brew. Very nice though!and if I buy tins from the supermarket, it’s about half that price, something like about 63 cents.

Beer from the shop on the other hand, you’re looking at around four dollars or more per litre.


Dave January 27, 2011 at 9:11 am

Hi Bob,

I just thought I would throw in a comment to keep the price of beer in the forefront, as it should be. I also brewed my own beer here in the states for a bit, but since I didnt have the fridge set up correct, all I could brew was Ale. It was pretty good but I do prefer Lager. Also it is much cheaper to buy beer here than make your own. I get a 30 pack of Miller High Life (cheap, but I like it) for $16 USD, so about 50 cents a beer. How about a post about your home brewery, cost, access to hops etc. I will sacrifice many things, but beer is not one.



BobinOz October 13, 2010 at 12:14 am


I love your attitude and admire the way you are thoroughly researching your options when you consider your further education. I think you will do very well in college. Like most students on a budget, there is a fine balancing act between how much you spend on food and how much is spent on alcohol.

I think you are sharp enough to realise that a tin of beans and some dried bread as a main meal, does allow you enough in your budget to buy a very cheap bottle of wine (some under $4 are available) to wash it down with, before you go out and start drinking in more expensive surroundings.

I wish you well in your studies.


Travis October 12, 2010 at 8:57 am

Bob, this site is great, especially for a college student in the U.S. looking to study abroad. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Australia, but as a college student, you know I’d love to take down a few beers every once in a while. The tuition for studying in Australia is similar and housing is included, but the thing that worries me is the cost of alcohol and food (but I’m more worried by the cost of alcohol..)

A college student just tryin’ to get by


BobinOz October 9, 2010 at 1:30 pm

What’s a soft drink?


Lib October 8, 2010 at 8:56 pm

A wise suggestion! though i did go out last night and a round of drinks – two large – and very decent glasses of wine and three pints (admitedly of soft drink) cost £14 – and this is Surrey – not known for its cheap and/or competitive pricing!


BobinOz October 6, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Yes, beers here can be dear. But it’s still better than wasting it on something else.

But I am finding huge differences, depending where you drink. The other night we went out to a bar in Caxton Street and I paid just $8.50 for a pint of Beez Neez, a lovely brew. I know that still seems a lot when converted to GBP, but the pound is still very weak. But here, where people commonly earn more than $30 an hour, it’s not bad.

So I’d come on back, enjoy the sunshine and get to the bar!


Lib October 6, 2010 at 6:13 am

Hi – i’ve just stumbled on your website and it’s great. I am an australian whose been living in London for the last 8 years and am now considering going back to Oz. I can never remember how much anything costs back there – i cant believe the cost of a pint – bloody hell! but the cost of a cab – aint so different from here – black cab 1.2 miles from the nearest late night station to my place costs £8.80 a throw – total rip off- but at that time of night who can complain – and i will have drunk cheaper pints than in Oz so it all works out!!


John August 28, 2010 at 6:54 am


Where do you get that Aussies make 30% more, they may do in the mines but the average worker does not. In many cases especially among health workers the salaries are actually less. Many are on short term contracts with no holidays or sickleave. A friend who is a surgeon and hold a British passports work as a consultant in the UK for 3 months rotation basis and makes the same he would in Brisbane if works 12 months

Uk Accountants far much better

A new study has found that chartered accountants who work within a business environment can earn an average salary of £76,200.

The results from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ (ICAEW) latest Career Benchmarking Survey found that the average wage for somebody starting out in the profession was £48,600 during the first four post-graduation years.

On the Sunshine Coast your salary would be $100,000 and junior $55,000. And when you factor in the difference in the mortgage rates the gap is wider.



BobinOz August 28, 2010 at 8:45 pm

As this has nothing to do with the price of beer, I’ll assume you meant to post this over at the article Cost of Living in Australia: Salaries Compared. Well, ‘where’ I got my information from was all explained in that post. Where’d you get yours from?


BobinOz August 19, 2010 at 12:40 am

Yes, I also thought that $6.90 for a pint of Stella was seriously good value. That’s why I bought several of them. Like in Vegas and Gulf Coast, I think here too in Brisbane Casino they also treat their serious losers to some real dandy perks.

Me, I’d rather pay for my own beer and skip the gambling.


Perry A. August 18, 2010 at 4:54 pm

“$6.90 for pint of Stella Artois” now that’s a pretty good deal. Don’t know much about Brisbane Casino but in the states, Vegas or the Gulf Cost region generally speaking drinks are free as long as you’re dropping money into a machine or playing at one of the table games.

You can literally drink until you either lose all your money or you blackout….


BobinOz August 11, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Drink pop? You’re a braver man than me. Whatever the price of a G & T, I’d just pay it! 5 weeks is a long holiday….


karl August 10, 2010 at 4:07 am

Cheers BobinOz..
Would 5 weeks in Oz be long enough to ‘brew me own’? lol.Dare i ask the price of ‘spirits’ mate,or should i condition the wife to drink pop for 5 weeks :-)


BobinOz August 10, 2010 at 12:54 am

Stubbies are 375ml bottles. So all the bottled beers in the Australia list are stubbies. The cans are tinnies. So I’m afraid I can’t offer you any hope there Karl.

I reckon you got two choices. If you want to spend the same on beer here as you would in England, drink 30% less. If you want to drink the same amount of beer as you would in England over here, pay 30% more.

Theres a sobering thought for your holiday!

But I wouldn’t worry about it too much, I reckon you’ll have a fantastic time. Five weeks travelling from Sydney to Cairns, that’s the trip of a lifetime. Have a great time while you’re here.


Karl August 9, 2010 at 5:39 am

Wow,that is a lot of ‘wonga’ for a beer.My wife and i are coming over to Oz for a 5 week ‘jolly’ up the east coast (Sydney-Cairns) December 2010.We hear alot about stubbies,would tha be a better buy?


BobinOz March 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm

I guess that’s why the shop is called “Bakers Delight” – I’d be delighted if I could sell 4 croissants for 9 bucks!

Woolworths do a 3 pack for $2.79 and Coles do 4 frozen croissants for $3.70. Admittedly still not as cheap as Sainsbury’s and Tesco, but definitely getting closer. You are right though, there are some things here in Australia that are way too expensive for what they are, but then again there are some things that are quite cheap. It’s swings and roundabouts.

But it’s all relative, people do earn more money here, wages are definitely higher than in England.

You remind me of when I went to a plumbers merchants to buy some water line plastic piping. I asked how much it was per metre and he said something like, “mate it’s like about $.70 per metre”. So I ordered 9 m and I was clutching a handful of coins totalling around six or seven dollars when he returned with the cut line. He rang up on the till and said “oops sorry mate, I got that wrong. It’s $3.20 per metre, that will be 28 bucks please”.

I was so gobsmacked I paid too!


tim spinks March 8, 2010 at 10:10 pm

I recently purchased 4 croissants from my local store of Bakers Delight at a cost of $9! I had asked for 3 but the lady said if i got a pre packed bag i would get the 4th for $1, i was astonished when the lady asked for $9! Australia must be now up there as one of the most expensive places on the planet to eat! How on earth can 4 croissants be worth that amount of money? I am after all not in Paris but Pakenham! I looked on the Sainsbury’s website to compare the price in Europe at present and there was a selection which also included an organic option for 99 pence (for a pack of four) and a pack of 8 for 1 pound & 89 pence! Of course i am aware of the number of units that would be sold due to population size but on reflection $9 for the same type of product in Australia just seems far too expensive. I have never sent this type of email before but feel so strong about how Australians are being ripped off for their hard earned money and yes i had the choice to cancel the purchase but it was a simple case of lack of time and merely being so gobsmacked at the price i handed over ten dollars in a stunned silence and walked away with my dollar change wondering what the world has come to!!


mj January 23, 2010 at 2:05 am

I make my own beer here in the UK, funnily enough I like to use kits made by coopers of Adelaide, they’re very good


BobinOz January 23, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Aaah, yes, Coopers. One of my favourite beers here in Australia. The bottle with the green label is the one I like, Coopers Pale Ale I think it’s called. It’s a cloudy beer and it’s lovely. James Squires is good too.

As I mentioned in a coment above, I have brewed beer over at Brews Brothers. But I now brew my own in the garage, I’ve set up my own microbrewery (no kidding) and it works really well. I produce the most gorgeous draught bitters if I say so myself. I think I’ll do a post about that one day.

If you are passing by, pop in for a pint.


busdriva69 November 17, 2009 at 1:25 am

There are many positives to living in this great place, Ive been here since 1986 now and obviously have no intention of leaving. I just think we get taken for a ride here. If me and the bride go out for a few drinks, you know your only getting coin back for 2 drinks out of a $20. Simple as that. So $100 gets you 5 drinks each and perhaps a couple of packets of chips and maybe the tip for the cabbie on the way home. Now theres another thing you may wish to have a look at comparisons..Cab fares…I drive for a living so drinking and driving isnt an option. We would average 2 cabs a weekend and usualy from the same friends places or there abouts. Now a 10 to 15 minute cab ride covering about 7 km is $17 give or take, plus the $1.50 booking fee ??? and you may as well call it $20. It aint cheap to go out on the piss and get a ride home. We have a system with all our mates where who ever is having the gathering picks people up so they only have a 1 way cab fare to get. Works a treat. Anyway, enough whingin, time for another beer :-)


BobinOz November 17, 2009 at 4:09 pm

At some point I need to get over there and check out Perth, I have heard it is gorgeous. But I’ll try to remember to bring my own beer! I now brew my own, not only is it much cheaper, but it tastes like a real English beer. It’s lovely! You can go to a microbrewery, like Brews Brothers or you can set up your own system indoors, which I’ve now done.

You’re lucky you can get a taxi around where you live, round here they are as rare as hen’s teeth. I’m just a little bit too far away from the city to be able to get one easily. I’m not sure the prices you mentioned are so steep though, I just checked with Google and it tells me that the current price for a Hackney cab for a 5 Miles (8.0km) trip at nightime is £8.90. Not much in it I’d say.


BobinOz November 16, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Ouch! That’s a lot for a pint. Kinda takes the fun out of drinking. My local sports club charges $6 for a pint of XXXX and the other night I paid $12.90 for a pint and a red wine in a pub over at Fortitude Valley, a trendy part of Brisbane City.
So $11 a pint is OUTRAGIOUS indeed. How’s a man supposed to get drunk? It’s ridiculous! Have you considered moving?


busdriva69 November 16, 2009 at 1:12 pm

I was out on sunday 15/9 at a local (bayswater hotel, Perth), nothing flash, good pub grub, nice beer garden, and I paid $11 for a pint of stella. OUTRAGEOUS!!! I have just been on the yahoo currency converter and that is 6.14 quid. If thats not highway robbery then what is. Thing is they are not the only place charging that much. It tough to find a pint under $10 anywhere in Perth unless its the special of the week etc. Also Liquorland are not the cheapest by any stretch for take away beer. If its not on special they charge top dollar for everything. We have a few independants here that price match all the time. They always get my money. Cheers


BobinOz October 21, 2009 at 12:31 am

I am guessing a bit with the $11 for a pint, I was in a bar in Brisbane City and bought a pint of Coopers Pale Ale on draft (not a cheap beer anyway) and a gin and tonic. It came to $17. But it was only a normal pub, nothing fancy. So I’m sure you can easily pay $11 or more for a pint in some expensive bars.

Mind you, I’m sure there are many other pubs in Australia where you can get a pint for less than six dollars. I just haven’t been around all of them yet!

I love the beer price check website, how good is that? I’ve already bookmarked it in my favourites.




Steve Povey October 20, 2009 at 8:21 pm

$11 a pint! 😮 now thats crazy. Where is it and i’ll make a point of not going there.

Oh and if you haven’t seen it already,you’ll like this one Bob!

Compare beer brices for every brand all over the country. Gives you historical price graphs and everything.

True genius.


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