Sunday, June 2, 2013

Beer Math

Over the last week I had the privilege of going both to MKT and Underground Tap and Grill in Edmonton. I had a very pleasant experience at both. They are both known for having large beer menus, so I took the opportunity to try out a couple of new beers.

Of course, one of the problems with such a large selection on tap is that it's easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. Underground, for instance, has 72 beers on tap - how are you supposed to pick a new one worth trying? A knowledgeable beer connoisseur could probably read the descriptions and ask pointed questions, but an extreme enginerd could just use math.


Take a look at this menu. Each beer is offered at a different combination of volume, alcohol content, and cost.

Based on this, it's actually pretty straightforward to find which beer has the most alcohol per volume at the lowest cost. In fact, it would look something like this:

First of all, that's quite the variation! You could get almost three times as drunk off of the Salmon Fly Honey Rye as the Pilsner for the same cost. My goodness - I would never advocate for such a thing.

Of course, there are many factors that influence the cost of alcohol. One of them is the mandatory  minimum alcohol prices legislated by the Government of Alberta. Their rules work out to something like this:

  • Spirits/Liqueurs: $2.75/oz.
  • Wine (by the glass): $0.35/oz.
  • Draft Beer: $0.16/oz.
  • Beer/Cider/Cooler (bottle or can): $2.75 each
Assuming an average alcohol content of 5%, a can of beer selling at a minimum of $2.75 works out to $4.58 per ounce of alcohol - more expensive, in fact, than two of the beers sold at Underground! Before you think you can use this to break the law and stick it to the man ($0.12 per ounce of alcohol at a time!), it's important to point out that as these are draft beers, they are still selling for more than $0.16 per ounce of beer, and as such are still completely legal. In fact, the minimum alcohol cost for draft beer works out to $3.20 per ounce of of alcohol. Basically, if you're paying anything more than that, you're getting ripped off...

And as a quick aside before we finish, according to the Alberta rules, wine is the cheapest way to get drunk at $2.92 per ounce of alcohol. At this rate, it would only take $28.26 worth of wine to kill me by alcohol poisoning. How cost effective!


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