Lowest prices are marked in gray

Stacking up beer prices

beer in store

So many choices...

Ahead of last year's Super Bowl, we checked a bunch of stores to see who had the lowest beer prices.

Well, this year's Super Bowl is just a few weeks away -- and you know what, we're feeling thirsty.

So let's go beer shopping...

We priced 10 different beers at 13 different stores* over the last week. New to this year's list of stores is Rite Aid -- a few people told us last year that the drugstore chain tends to have pretty good prices on beer (the numbers shall tell).

As you can see, the beers on the list are all pretty mainstream. The question of which store has the best selection of interesting or good beers is a whole other discussion.

The prices are for a 12-pack of bottles, with one exception: Milwaukee's Best. The Beast doesn't come in bottles, so that price is for cans. Also, you'll notice that some cells have two prices -- that's the sale price followed by the regular price in parenthesis. A lot of these stores regularly offer sales, so chances are you will see variation in these prices.

The store/beer results are in a table above (scroll up).

We also averaged the prices for each store to come up with a rough sense of which store is the cheapest. Here are how the stores ranked this year for non-sale prices on an "average" 12 pack:

  1. Hannaford - 12.29
  2. Oliver's - 12.31
  3. Walmart - 12.37
  4. Westmere Beverage - 12.44
  5. Excelsior Beverage - 12.5
  6. Rite Aid - 12.62
  7. Hoosick St Discount Beverage - 12.64
  8. Waterford Beverage - 12.71
  9. Savemore Discount Beverage - 12.76
  10. Glenville Beverage - 13.00
  11. Price Chopper - 13.14
  12. Glenmont Discount Beverage - 13.19
  13. Minogues - 13.19

Again, we used the non-sale prices for this ranking. That might explain why Minogues, last year's overall price winner, ranked so low this year. It had the lowest price on four of the ten beers if you counted by sale price.

Now that we have two years' of beer price data, we can compare the average price for each brand against its average from last year. It appears that beer got significantly more expensive over the last year:

One more thing: drinking + driving = bad. But you knew that.

* Stores: Minogue's in Saratoga, Excelsior Beverage in Saratoga, Westmere Beverage in Guilderland, Savemore Discount Beverage in Clifton Park, Glenmont Discount Beverage in Glenmont, Oliver's in Albany, Hoosick St Discount Beverage in Troy, Waterford Beverage in Waterford, Glenville Beverage in Glenville, Hannaford on Central in Albany, Price Chopper on Central in Albany, the Walmart on Washington Ave Ext and the Rite-Aid at the University Plaza in Albany.


If you're alarmed at how much beer went up from last year, just wait until you see how much your chicken wings will cost you this time around.

The Rite Aid on Albany Shaker and Osborne (the non-former-Eckard one) used to (perhaps still does) have on their marquee "lowest beer prices in town" or something like that. It would be interesting to see how their current numbers compare. I wouldn't be surprised to see a variation from the Rite Aid store used in this comparison.

For good prices on craft beers I always go to Delmar Beverage Center on Deleware Ave. Great people and great prices when compared to other Beverage Centers in the area.

If Beast ever comes in a bottle I'll drink it pinky up.

Wasn't it the new bottling laws that were passed that upped the prices so significantly? First it was the hops shortage, and then new laws. Man, tough year for beer.

well done AOA.
I love cheap beer, like in the can and only pays for one color ink advertising cheap. Shlitz is a stable for my dog and I, but in 2010 we've given up on the barley and swapped over to Prosecco.
Its like my new milk.

Started reading this article thinking it was about beer. Realized pretty quickly I was wrong. sigh.

My personal policy is to stock up on the more mainstream stuff at either PC or Hannaford (depending on where I'm doing my grocry shopping at the time) and make the journey out to Oliver's for the imports and craft brews. The prices are still respectable despite the recent hike, and the selection is impressive as well. I may live two blocks away from Hoosick Bev, but between the prices, selection, and service, I avoid it like the plague.

What? No Saranac?

Our neighbors down the Thruway brew some delicious and reasonably priced beer. I can see the headlines now: All Over Albany Hates Utica...

Recently while on Beer Advocate an insane topic arose about craft brewers and craft beer supporters chipping in to buying a Superbowl commercial based on a video produced by Greg Koch from Stone Brewing.

You can see that video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ev5OZS75qaY

I won't go into the relative potential insanity of buying a superbowl spot for craft beer but the short end of the story was a better idea to encourage people to buy craft beer products for their superbowl party, and if they are so inclined local ones. You can get 2 liter growlers from both the Pump Station and Brown's for most of their beers for about $9 per growler. You can also get kegs from each.

Overall some great alternatives to InBev/Miller/Coors that also keeps money in New York State...

Saranac Pale Ale, Brooklyn Lager, Brooklyn Local 1 (this will turn up the party a notch if you can go Belgian) Southern Tier Matt & Phin's Pale Ale just to hit a few.

And another thing: anyone who would pay that much for Corona must be out of their mind. It's amazing how a slice of lime makes a beer considered lousy in Mexico exotic here.

Excelsior Beverage in Saratoga.. that would be EBI on Excelsior, correct?

I am glad their prices on a suitcase of Milwaukee's Best are in line, but they also have one of the widest selections in the area of obscure micro brews and their prices are fair.

An example, the "Estate Bottled" Sierra Nevada Ale is $4.95 or so at EBI (and not worth it BTW) and $9.95 almost everywhere else I've encountered it.

Although the blog was addressing the economics of cheap beer buying, I’d have liked to have seen some craft (especially local) beer presented. There are several local craft brewers in the region (e.g. CH Evans, Brown’s, Davidson Bros., Keegan), as well as many NYS brewers (e.g. Southern Tier, Middle Ages, Ommegang, Brooklyn, Saranac) that are readily available in the Capital Region and are a reasonably priced alternative to the BMC macros.

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