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We drink beer because we like it. We also like that it's good for you and makes us more interesting and more attractive to everybody else.

What we don't like is being screwed over to pay outrageous dollars for beers that are dirt-cheap in their home markets. We're forever having our European editor prodding us with unsubtle jabs about German getrinkmarkt prices, but it's not just Germany.

The thing is, it's never been cheaper to fly around the world and if you fly around the world, you might just want to adjust your schedules to find some of the world's cheapest beers. 

A survey from shows that Australia and the US are amongst the world's more expensive places to drink but the cheapest may surprise you.

Yes, there's a good risk you'll be shot by a Russian commando masquerading as a separatist, and, yes, there's a high possibility that you might glow from radioactivity, but the Ukraine ranks number one, with a 500 ml beer costing just US$0.59. Vietnam almost ties the Ukraine and gets our thumbs up because it has better beaches and far more cellars, which they used to call tunnels.

You might also want to pencil Cambodia, the Czech RepublicChina, Serbia and Panama onto the list, too. Cambodia is a top spot to sip on a beer on a beach. The Czechs are known for beautiful Prague architecture, so you'll have earned a beer by a tourist's day's end. You'll have earned a beer in China just for breathing Beijing's air for a day. You'll have earned a beer in Serbia if you turn up there between wars and Panama's just hot, all the time.

Actually, on the list of the cheapest 10 places to buy beer, we'd recommend Bulgaria. The oldest country in Europe has awful roads and communist architecture, but they have great food and terrific beer. It's not just cheap beer; it's cheap and good.

There is one huge shock on the list, with a half litre of beer in Saudi Arabia costing just $0.70. Beer is very hard to find in the religious monarchy. And nobody makes it there.

1. Ukraine $0.57

2. Vietnam $0.59

3. Cambodia $0.68

4. Saudi Arabia $0.70

5. Czech Republic $0.71

6. China $0.74

7. Panama $0.75

8. Macau $0.77

9. Serbia $0.78

10. Bulgaria $0.79


If you'd sooner spend your money on good hotels than extravagantly priced beers, there are places to avoid. The Middle East in general stands out. Wherever it's actually easy to find, it's out of control in cost, with a half-litre beer in Iran costing the same as 13 beers in the Ukraine. Think about what you can do with 13 beers...

There is one standout country here. It's the one with the reputation for drinking lots of beer and the weather that's just perfect for drinking beer. And it's secular (well, it was until Tony Abbott turned up as Prime Minister). It's Australia. Where is the outrage?

Here are the most expensive countries to drink in:

1. Iran $7.71

2. Kuwait $7.09

3. United Arab Emirates $6.20

4. Papua New Guinea $5.19

5. Singapore $4.72

6. Norway $4.61

7. Qatar $4.53

8. Australia $4.45

9. Afghanistan $4.33

10. Jordan $4.17

The survey also answered the extremely thoughtful question of where it's easiest to find a drinking buddy to show you around. It asked who drank the most 12-ounce (340ml) bottles of beer. 

And the answer is that it's easiest to find a drinking buddy in the Czech republic, which downs an average of 419 bottles per head per year. Expensive-beer laden Australia runs them a close second with Germany third. Yet the astonishing thing is that the Czechs average more than 100 bottles of beer per year more than any other country!

1. Czech Republic 419

2. Australia  304

3. Germany 299

4. Estonia 288

5. Poland 277

6. Ireland 277

7. Croatia 242

8. Venezuela 241

9. Lithuania 237

10. Romania 234


So there's an inevitable final table here, and it calculates who spends the most money drinking beer per year. With a ranking of 8th in beer prices and second in beer consumption, it's no surprise that the dubious honor falls to the Australians.

It turns out your average Australian spends US$747.90 on beer. Even if they're children. And that's got to hurt. That's OK. You should see what they pay for houses, food and coffee. 

The Irish and the Finns come in next, but in a tribute to the popular strength of beer, the top 10 countries are spread across four continents. You can't even say the same for soccer/football.


1. Australia $747.90

2. Ireland $688.10

3. Finland $565.82

4. New Zealand $452.90

5. Venezuela $444.60

6. U.K. $393.19

7. U.S.A. $356.20

8. Canada $351.89

9. Denmark $262.06

10. Germany $235.54


But if there are people paying through the nose to have a quietie at the end of a hard day, there are others living on easy street, relatively. And the Ukraine leads the way, as some compensation for Russia wanting to take chunks out of it. In fact, if the Middle East dominates beer pricing, then eastern Europe dominates the list of the least spent per year on beer.

1. Ukraine $72.69

2. Bosnia & Herzogovina $99.86

3. Bulgaria $119.81

4. Panama $123.45

5. Slovakia $136.38

6. Hungary $138.32

7. Mexico $141.36

8. South Africa $147.86

9. Lithuania $149.90

10. Romania $148.10



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