Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beer Economics 101, save the Tree

In a previous post I lamented the fact that we live in a region that produces wine and yet that wine is less affordable than imported products. Today I'm going to delve into the Economics of Beer and how the same situation occurs, with the exception of one enlightened Okanagan producer .

I am a beer drinker, first and foremost, I am the son of a beer drinker and beer was a way of life growing up. It is still the first beverage I have when I come home from work and generally my companion while preparing food. When I was younger and often drank just for the sake of doing so I even had a "beer number system", it went like this:

A beer, or one beer, was two beer

A couple was 3-4

A few was 5-7

More than 7 was "a bunch", as in "I don't feel great today, I had a bunch of beers last night".

I realize that the plural of beer is beer but within the common lexicon the use of beers is perfectly acceptable, and anyone who says otherwise is probably suspect and definitely not a beer drinker

I no longer drink for sport and now when I say I had one beer that's exactly what I mean, but there is the issue of portion size and that's where the economics come in. The Canadian industry standard for beer is 355ml, this is because in the pre-metric days a standard unit was 12 ounces, but 355ml is a sham. No self respecting beer drinker is satisfied with 355ml of beer, it's just not enough so what happens is that two beer are needed. The least expensive Canadian beer in the marketplace is currently regularly retailing at $7.55 per six pack, or $1.26 per unit but since 2 units are required for satisfaction the real beer drinker is paying $2.52 per ABCU or "appropriate beer consumption unit".

Now outside of North America, and even in some enlightened areas within it, it is generally accepted that an ABCU is 500ml, roughly 16 ounces. In British Columbia the consumer has a vast selection of imported beer that retails in 500ml packages for much less than the $2.52 required to make up a domestic APCU so once again we are faced with the necessity of drinking imported product.

But all is not lost, up in Kelowna there exists a very good local brewery that has seen the folly of the 355ml package and now produces three very good distinctive beer in 500ml cans and all for lass than $2.52. These visionaries are Tree Brewing and they deserve our support.

Tree produces three products in 500ml cans, a Pilsner, an Amber Ale and an absolutely outstanding Pale Ale all of which have excellent distribution and all better than the mass produced beer from Molson/Labatt/Pacific Western whatever. So do yourself, and your wallet and your local economy, a favour and seek out the fine family of 500ml Tree Brewing products.

You'll be glad you did.

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