When Beer is Cheaper than Water: A Retail Drunken Stuper?

If we returned to our economics textbooks from college, we would quickly refresh our memories about how pricing impacts demand. But like all economists, bloggers like data that supports this type of broad-based claim (especially when it comes to economics and statistics, always ask for evidence before believing any claims). If you're the researching type and you're looking for a data set to confirm this finding, I have just the place. Consider how in a number of UK grocery stores, beer is now significantly cheaper than water. According to the above linked-article, "Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda now offer [private-label] lager at just 22p a can ... By contrast, bottles of own-brand mineral water cost between 56p and 92p a litre, depending on the store. Furthermore, a six-pack of 330ml cans of own brand cola costs between £1.11 and £1.29, or 56p to 65p a litre." Given the rising costs of many food commodities -- including hops -- I doubt that these retailers will be able to keep up this loss-leading gimmick for long. Still, my guess is that water consumption is dropping across the UK -- along with productivity. Hat-tip: Amy Edwards.

Jason Busch

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