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$20 a pint? ‘Rip-off’ Aussie pub prices set to surge - here’s why

The alcohol excise increases every six months in Australia.

An image of a beer and an payment machine showing the price of the beer at $17.80.
Aussies were outrages at the price of this beer at a pub in Sydney. (Source: Reddit) (Reddit)

For better or worse, one of Australia’s favourite pastimes is heading down to the pub for a cold one but, in the cost-of-living crisis, even that small joy may be too much for the average punter.

One Aussie recently shared their shock when they were hit with a $17.80 price tag for a pint in The Rocks, Sydney last week, expressing his fear that $20 for a pint would soon be the norm.

Another Aussie told Yahoo Finance she had to pay $40 for a jug of Stone and Wood from Beach Road in Sydney just a couple of weeks ago.

And it’s certainly not just in Sydney where prices are through the roof with one person saying they paid $18 for a pint in Byron Bay, while another forked out a whopping $26 for a pint in Melbourne.


Aussies labelled the prices a "rip-off" and "bloody crazy".

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed Aussies drink 74.6 million litres of beer each year, so the rising costs can really add up.

And price increases aren’t just hitting beer-drinkers. The price of every alcoholic drink is rising.

Why is beer in Australia so expensive?

Australia’s tax on alcohol - called the alcohol excise - increases every six months to keep up with inflation.

Back in July, the spirits tax increased to $100 per litre from $97.90, and Aussies were being warned that even more increases would come as inflation continued to rise.

In August the tax on beer increased 2.2 per cent, meaning Aussies were paying around $1 extra per pint.

And it’s no secret that when prices go up for businesses, it often gets passed on to the consumer.

Low-cost drinks a thing of the past

Back in 2017, the average cost of a pint in Australia was just $7.87. However, that still made us the 27th most expensive place in the world to buy a pint, according to data from Finder.

CEO of the Brewers Association John Preston said the 10 per cent increase in the beer tax since last year showed the tax hikes were “out of control”.

“We don’t believe these increases are now actually raising any more money for the government. They are just hurting beer drinkers and our pubs and clubs,” Preston said.

Spirits and Cocktails Australia CEO Greg Holland said it was “outrageous” that the spirits tax would exceed $100 per litre.

“A gin and tonic now has more than double the tax of a Great Northern [beer],” Holland said.

“When will enough be enough?”

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Yahoo Australia