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If you like saving money, if you don't have any money, or you're just on a tight budget, then this article is for you. We're on the hunt for the best cheap beer and we think we found it. To do so we've documented how much it costs to make beer at home in comparison to how much it costs to buy beer at the store. Obviously the price of beer at stores varies quite a bit. Craft IPAs tend to be relatively expensive and commercial beer like Coors Lite, Miller Lite, PBR, and Bud Lite tend to be very lost cost, in comparison. Also, the term "best" is quite subjective. Well, what if we told you that regardless of your preference we've discovered that it's possible to save a ton of money on beer? That's right, we've mapped out the best cheap beer in every single category. The only hitch is that you'll need to make it yourself.
Homebrewing is often viewed as a hobby that people do only for fun, not to save money. At first glance, buying our starter system is much more expensive than a 6 pack of craft beer. However, something to take into consideration is how many of those crafty 6 packs you buy in one year. Taking the first step and buying homebrewing equipment is an investment, but ultimately it’s much cheaper to make beer at home rather than buying it at the store. Watch the video below or keep reading to see us break down the numbers.
Half Price Beer Video
The Price of Craft Beer
Here in North Carolina, which is where we’re located, we pay anywhere from $10 - $12 for a 6 pack of craft beer.
4 packs of specialty beers like 16 oz. juicy IPAs and aged dark beers can be around $15, which means they would cost $18-$20 or more for a 6 pack.
Commercial beers like Coors Lite, Miller Lite, and Bud Light cost around $5 per 6 pack.
The Price of Homebrew
We looked back at 5 of the 20 beers we brewed in 2018 and calculated how much they would cost per 6 pack.
Black IPA - $3.69 per 6 pack
American Light Lager - $2.06 per 6 pack
Juicy NEIPA - $7.86 per 6 pack
Dry Stout - $3.29 per 6 pack
Pale Ale - $3.37 per 6 pack
When looking at the cost of all 20 beers we brewed in 2018, the average price of a Clawhammer 6 pack comes out to $4.05. For all 20 beers, we spent a total of $688 on raw materials. This takes into account the price of malt, hops, and yeast.
Overall, the price of homebrew beer is around 2.75 times cheaper than what it would cost to buy the same beers at the store. Even when comparing the American Light Lager that we brewed ($2.06 per 6 pack) to the cost of a commercial 6 pack ($5), homebrew is still quite a bit cheaper.
If we bought all 20 beers we brewed in 2018 at the store, we would have spent a minimum of $1,800 instead of $688. Therefore, by brewing these beers at home we saved $1,100. Currently, our 10 Gallon 120 Volt Brewing System is $899, which includes everything you would need to start brewing beer at home. If you bought this system or our cheaper starter system and brewed about every other weekend, your investment would easily pay off in one year or less.
Saving Money on Homebrew
Read the next article in this series to learn how to save even more money once you start homebrewing.