How Much Does Beer Cost in Your State?

Written By Jeff Hindenach
Last updated January 28, 2021

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Money Saving Tips
October 26, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

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 case of beer 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 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. Most of these states are known for having some the cheapest taxes for beer in the country.

As far as the most expensive states, Pennsylvania came in at number one with an average beer 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.

If you live in Pennsylvania or Texas and are spending the most on beer, there are still ways you can save money on the most expensive case of beer:

  • Credit card cash back: Use your credit card perks to get up to 5% cash back when you shop for beer. That 5% won’t equal the savings you would make living in Michigan or California, but it definitely can bring down the price of your beer. Just remember to pay your bill on time so you don’t get charged interest.
  • Look for sales: Waiting for a sale on your favorite beer isn’t the most efficient way to buy beer, but with apps like Flipp or Shopular list all of the sales and circulars in your area so you can keep on top of when your favorite beer is on sale.
  • Track your spending: Using apps like Clarity or Mint to track your monthly finances can help you figure out places where you can scale back, including unused gym memberships or overspending on groceries, so you can allocate a little extra money to your beer fund.

If you are smart about how you spend your money, a few extra dollar per case of beer won’t break your bank, and will save you a lot more in moving expenses.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Simple. Thrifty. Living. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of financial journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing on personal finance for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.

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