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Price of beer rises eight percent in Munich for UK visitors, but Oktoberfest remains a bargain

With Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival, kicking off this September, the latest Cost Of Living data from global mobility experts ECA International (ECA) reveals that UK revellers will be paying eight percent more per beer than last year, with a Bavarian beer now costing £5.66. 

That said, a trip to Munich Oktoberfest still represents good value for many visitors, with beers at bars and pubs costing over 20 percent less than in London and an eye-watering 130 percent less than in Dhaka, Bangladesh - the world’s most expensive place to drink a beer at £13.06 per bottle. 

Prices at London pubs and bars have risen four percent in the last 12 months, with a 500ml bottle now costing £6.99 on average. 

“Although the prices at Oktoberfest are slightly higher than last year, the cost of buying a bottle of beer at a bar in Munich is still significantly cheaper than many locations around the world,” said Steven Kilfedder, Production Manager at ECA International. 

“Cities in the UK and Ireland have higher taxes on beer and alcohol resulting in higher prices when visiting a bar, whereas in Germany the alcohol taxes are comparably low.

“As for Dhaka, the availability of beer is extremely limited and thus, expensive, as it is only allowed to be sold to foreigners in selected restaurants and hotels” explained Kilfedder.

The findings come from ECA’s latest Cost of Living Survey which compares a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by international assignees in 475 locations worldwide. The survey allows businesses to ensure that their employees’ spending power is maintained when they are sent on international assignments. ECA International has been conducting research into cost of living for over 45 years.

Head south for the world’s cheapest beer

In what may be a surprise location to some – Maseru, Lesotho is the city with the cheapest beer in the world according to ECA’s survey, where the average bottle costs just £2.13 – less than half the cost of a beer in Munich.

Kilfedder said, “The Lesotho capital may not be everyone’s first thought as a tourist location, but visitors to the African location would be able to enjoy the cheapest beer prices in the world. However, this is mostly a result of the weak currency in the African nation in comparison to the euro.” 

Bargain beers closer to home

Those looking for the best value beer in Europe should head to Brno in the Czech Republic (£2.20) and Madrid (£4.55), where the average bottle of beer can be purchased for under a fiver. Despite a slight price increase from the previous year for visiting Brits, beer in Brno still costs less than a third of the cost of beer in London and over 60 percent less than in Munich.

Reykjavik is the most expensive location in Europe

The Icelandic capital of Reykjavik is the most expensive place in Europe to buy a beer at a bar, with a whopping average cost of £12.16 per bottle. 

Kilfedder explained “The cost of alcohol in Scandinavia has always been high and this year remains no different, with the price of a beer in Reykjavik well over double that of Munich. The main reason for this is the very high level of tax that is imposed on alcohol in all Scandinavian countries, which drives up the price of beer. Oslo is also significantly more expensive than most locations in Europe, with visitors paying £11.42 for a beer.”

Asian cities among most expensive in the world to buy beer

Asian cities are among the most expensive in the world to buy beer this Oktoberfest with Dhaka, Singapore and Hong Kong some of the pricier locations. 

The average cost of a beer in Singapore is over double that of Munich at £12.00, whilst the average amount for a beer in Hong Kong is £8.85 – 112 percent and 56 percent respectively more expensive than in the home of Oktoberfest. 

Kilfedder said “Astronomical rental costs in central Hong Kong are a major factor driving up the price of beer at a bar or pub, whilst high taxes are the main cause of the high prices in Singapore.”

New York defies affordability in the Americas 

A beer would not break the bank in most Northern or Southern American locations, with a bottle costing an affordable £3.45 on average in Rio de Janeiro. Manhattan, New York on the other hand is unsurprisingly the most expensive location in the region, with a beer costing £7.68 – 36 percent more than in Munich.

For those looking for an Oktoberfest experience in North America – Cincinnati, home of one of the biggest Oktoberfest celebrations outside of Germany, is slightly cheaper in cost than the Bavarian original with an average price of £5.48 for a beer.  

The price of a bottle of beer around the world (selected)
Location
Price of beer (GBP)
% difference with Munich
Dhaka, Bangladesh
13.06
+ 131%
Reykjavik, Iceland
12.16
+ 115%
Singapore
12.00
+ 112%
Oslo, Norway
11.42
+ 102%
Paris, France
8.41
+ 49%
London, UK
6.99
+ 23%
Brussels, Belgium
5.63
- <1%
Madrid, Spain
4.55
- 20%
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
3.45
- 39%
Johannesburg, S. Africa
2.97
- 48%
Brno, Czech Republic
2.20
- 61%
Maseru, Lesotho
2.13
- 62%

-ENDS-

About ECA International

ECA International is the market-leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully-integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.

We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions - every time.

ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

About ECA's Cost of Living Survey

ECA International's cost of living surveys are carried out in March and September using a basket of day-to-day goods and services commonly purchased by assignees. The data used above refers to prices from the March 2018 survey. ECA’s Cost of Living Survey rankings began in 2005.
Cost of living indices are used by ECA clients to calculate cost of living allowances for assignees. The survey covers:
•    Food: Groceries; dairy produce; meat and fish; fresh fruit and vegetables 
•    Basic: Household goods; recreational goods; general services; leisure services
•    General: Clothing; electrical goods; motoring; meals out; alcohol and tobacco

Certain living costs such as accommodation rental, utilities charges (electricity, gas, and water), car purchases and school fees are not included in the survey. Such items can make a significant difference to expenses but are usually compensated for separately in expatriate packages.

This comparison of cost of living was calculated on a base composed of various developed countries and is used to reflect an international lifestyle. Other indices available from ECA reflect specific city-to-city comparisons and different levels of shopping efficiency.

ECA's blog provides updates and commentary on currency, inflation and expatriate cost of living. Follow the blog here.

For further information, please contact:

Jack Firth 
ECA International
Tel: +44 0 20 7351 5000
Email: Jack.Firth@eca-international.com 

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