How long does it take to earn the price of a beer?

Every year in the Bavarian city of Munich, the Oktoberfest famously celebrates beer in all its forms. Over the 16-day event, visitors manage to consume around 7.6 million litres of the amber fluid, which sold at a recent festival for an inflated asking price of €9 (around $13.50) per litre, which is the capacity of a typical large stein.

Germany is a beer-loving nation, with a recorded average consumption of 100 litres per person each year. Except of course the foaming brew is more affordable away from the tourists and hoopla of the Oktoberfest.

Just for a bit of financial comparison fun, analysts at the Swiss bank UBS calculated how long it would take a German worker, earning that country’s national median wage, to make enough money to buy a half-stein (500ml) at a retail outlet. The data indicated that the thirsty German would have to labour for just under seven minutes to earn his fist of foaming amber.

At the other end of the bar stand the parched workers in India, who are required to toil for almost an hour, due to higher taxes and lower wages, before being able to pay for a cold one. In fact (and perhaps somewhat unfairly), it is the hotter countries that have the longest work time required to buy a cold beer. The Philippines comes in at 38 minutes, Nigeria at 29 minutes and Vietnam at 28.

Australians on the other hand have to work about 12 minutes per beer
(although that’s a half litre, so it’s a good sized beer), while our US friends are
luckier than even the Germans and have to work for only around five minutes before earning a brewski. French beer drinkers need to labour for 10 minutes to earn their half litre, just behind China at around eight minutes. Our Mexican friends have to sweat through 15 minutes to earn their beer, while the Japanese have to stick at the job for about 18 minutes to earn enough for their brew.

The average, out of the 27 countries that UBS surveyed, is 20 minutes of earning the national median hourly wage to buy a half litre of that country’s typical local brew.

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