Why is craft beer in Singapore so expensive? 💸
Why is craft beer expensive?
We all love a pint or three of our favourite craft beers - that's probably why you follow us. However, sometimes you get the bill and it's a close your eyes and tap your card moment... Especially in Singapore where even crap beer can be $20 a pint (these hurt the most), why is it that we have to pay so much for a hoppy drop? Well, let's do some digging.
Craft beer is small batch and experimental
Craft breweries can vary massively in size, with some having huge breweries that occupy multiple buildings, all the way to start ups who can brew maybe one or two batches at a time. Both of these however are MUCH smaller than the big guys, who's breweries operate all through the day and night and can cover huge areas of land. AB, owners of budweiser, produce around 45 BILLION LITRES of beer every year whereas the average across independent UK breweries in 2022 was only 400,000 litres... That's quite a big difference when buying ingredients, using equipment etc. Big breweries also usually will stick to the same brews, whereas craft brewers are always attempting different styles, ingredients, methods and more.
Quality and rare ingredients
Which brings us on to ingredients... You can get quite a big discount on the ingredients that go into a brew you are making all year round at huge volumes. Craft beer is all about exploring different combinations of hops, malt and yeast from all over the world. There are always new variations of hops and malt that are being developed as well. Add this to a constantly developing brewing method and the possibilities are endless, it just doesn't come cheap!
High Tax, Duty and other costs
This is a BIG one for Singapore. Alcohol is one of a handful of things that you have to pay duty and excise tax on when importing or producing. The current rate is about S$76 per litre of alcohol, which means the more boozier, the more pricey. Throw a bit of GST on as well and it soon doubles the price that it was purchased for at origin.
Rents and overheads are also pretty high in Singapore which all contributes towards the price of beer quickly growing, even if it was cheap when it left the brewery.
Keeping it chilled...
Shipping and storage are extra important for craft beer, as usually the beers are not pastuerised or filtered. Now while this does leave a lot of flavour and hoppy goodness in there, it also means that it has to be kept COLD. Treat it like milk. This means that all the good flavour stuff from the hops stays in the beer and that the yeast is not active, so the beer is not fermenting the beer further in the can. We keep all of our beers cold from the moment they leave the brewery until the moment they are served, which means you get an excellent pint - just how it was intended to be drank - but it's extra $$$$$!
So why are we telling you this... Well, it's just to arm you with a little knowledge when you go out on the hunt for a few beers. A lot of craft brewing is done through passion for the beer, there is so much time and effort that goes into it. Craft beer should be all about great beers and making them accessible to as many people as possible - so choose wisely when you get those dollars out of your wallet next time! I'm thirsty now...