Author Topic: Why do session beers cost more?  (Read 637 times)

Offline passlaku

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Why do session beers cost more?
« on: June 29, 2011, 05:22:23 PM »
I went to the local bottle shop and saw they had Stone's Levitation for significantly more per sixer than their other Stone offerings.  Levitation is Stone's session ale (4.4% abv).  I heart session beers and is about all I brew. Seriously, a 1.056 beer in my brewhouse might as well be imperial.  

I was a bit disappointed because I thought that with session ales you use less malt, hops, and, possibly, get more yield.  Just wondering what everyone else thought.  In sum, God bless breweries that can sell low abv beers at really high prices.  I had the Bell's Oarsman (Berliner Weiss-inspired) and thought it was outstanding.  
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 05:50:44 PM by passlaku »

ccarlson

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Re: Why do session beers cost more?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2011, 05:27:59 PM »
I'm not sure why they're more expensive, except for popularity. However I agree with you 100%. The vast majority of my beers are session beers. I know there are those that think it's cool to brew really big beers and each to their own, but I don't like to get smashed every time I drink. I like to drink more than 1 beer.

Offline johnf

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Re: Why do session beers cost more?
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2011, 06:03:01 PM »
Not sure why levitation costs more but at 4.4%, it isn't much lower gravity than a standard beer and it is heavily hopped.

Since labor, energy and packaging are really bigger expenses than materials in brewing, beers don't get much cheaper as they get smaller. Session beers are cheaper in England, because the tax rate is pegged to the alcohol content. As we just tax by volume in the US, we don't see that kind of pricing.


Offline tubercle

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Re: Why do session beers cost more?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2011, 06:07:26 PM »
I'm not sure why they're more expensive, except for popularity. However I agree with you 100%. The vast majority of my beers are session beers. I know there are those that think it's cool to brew really big beers and each to their own, but I don't like to get smashed every time I drink. I like to drink more than 1 beer.

 +1 on the popularity (popularity = supply/demand)
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Why do session beers cost more?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2011, 08:36:42 PM »
I saw a pie chart recently that broke down the cost of selling beer and ingredients is around 10-15% I think, at least for big breweries.  So if you use 20% less ingredients for a small beer you only save 2-3% of the cost.  Then if you can sell it for the same price as your bigger beers you've upped your profit by that 2 or 3%.
Homebrewers and small brewpubs that don't do much if any marketing will spend a much higher percentage of their cost buying ingredients.  I'm not really sure where Stone is in terms of marketing cost, but there are other much bigger costs like packaging and especially shipping that cost the same regardless of the strength of the beer.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Why do session beers cost more?
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2011, 09:02:16 PM »
I think your number 10-15% is too low.
There is economy of scale but for me it is 23%.
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Offline tonyp

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Re: Why do session beers cost more?
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2011, 12:21:07 PM »
Went to the store to pickup a six of something yesterday on the way to a party and saw Racer 5, went to grab it until i saw the price, $13.99! I think $10 for a six is a my limit so I grabbed a Full Sail APA which was excellent, and only $9.99!
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