Mapping Out Prices Throughout the Country

Summertime is finally here. With the warm weather, that usually means barbecues, pool parties, or some sort of social event that may require you to BYOB. But how much will that cost? Turns out, it can vary significantly depending on the state you live in. Here at Simple Thrifty Living, we wanted to try to find out how much beer costs throughout the country.

When we started our research to find average beer prices, we decided to look at national retailers in order to keep consistent. In this study, we primarily used prices from Walmart and Total Wine, both of which have comparable prices. Next, we had to decide what brands of beer to focus on. We chose two of the most popular brands in America — Bud Light and Miller Lite. While many may not consider these to be great beers, there is no denying their popularity. As a note, we did look into doing prices on craft beers, but to achieve consistency throughout the entire country, it was more practical to stick to big domestic brands. (If you are looking for average prices for other types of beer, here’s a look at Amazon’s beer prices before taxes.)

The next step was to then try and find the prices. During initial research, we found that a case of beer with 12 fl. oz cans were the most common size found in the United States, so that’s what we searched for. We looked at up to 10 stores in each state with a mixture of both rural and urban locations in order to encompass as much of the state as possible. We found the price of the products from the specific store, then averaged them together and rounded to the nearest cent.

When all the data was compiled, we were able to see distinct price differences between states and even between regions of the country. These numbers reflect prices only, taken from the retailers, and do not take account for any additional fees like recycling fees.

Overall, we found that Michigan had the cheapest beer prices, coming in at an average of $14.62 for a case. California, which has the reputation of being a state with a high cost of living, actually was the second cheapest state at $14.87. Illinois, North Carolina, and Connecticut rounded out the 5 least expensive states.

As far as the most expensive states, Pennsylvania came in at number one with an average cost of $21.98. Tennessee was right behind with $21.97, which makes sense considering they have one of the highest taxes for beer in the country. The rest of the five are Texas, North Dakota, and Rhode Island.

So if you’re headed out to a party this summer, where you live may have a big impact on how much you’re paying for beer. If you live in Michigan or California, it looks like you’re drinking for pretty cheap. If you’re in Texas or Tennessee, you may have to just budget accordingly. Our finding show that every state is a little different when it comes to price, but that is just part of what makes each state unique.

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