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World’s cheapest and most expansive places to drink beer

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With Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival, kicking off this September, a new study reveals how much beer prices rise in Munich ahead of Oktoberfest and the world’s cheapest and most expansive places to drink beer.

The latest Cost Of Living data from global mobility experts ECA International (ECA) reveals that UK revelers will be paying eight percent more per beer than last year, with a Bavarian beer now costing £5.66.

That said, a trip to Munich Oktoberfest still represents good value for many visitors, with beers at bars and pubs costing over 20 percent less than in London and an eye-watering 130 percent less than in Dhaka, Bangladesh - the world’s most expensive place to drink a beer at £13.06 per bottle.

Prices at London pubs and bars have risen four percent in the last 12 months, with a 500ml bottle now costing £6.99 on average.

“Although the prices at Oktoberfest are slightly higher than last year, the cost of buying a bottle of beer at a bar in Munich is still significantly cheaper than many locations around the world,” said Steven Kilfedder, Production Manager at ECA International.

“Cities in the UK and Ireland have higher taxes on beer and alcohol resulting in higher prices when visiting a bar, whereas in Germany the alcohol taxes are comparably low.

“As for Dhaka, the availability of beer is extremely limited and thus, expensive, as it is only allowed to be sold to foreigners in selected restaurants and hotels” explained Kilfedder.

The findings come from ECA’s latest Cost of Living Survey which compares a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by international assignees in 475 locations worldwide. The survey allows businesses to ensure that their employees’ spending power is maintained when they are sent on international assignments. ECA International has been conducting research into the cost of living for over 45 years.

Head south for the world’s cheapest beer
In what may be a surprise location to some – Maseru, Lesotho is the city with the cheapest beer in the world according to ECA’s survey, where the average bottle costs just £2.13 – less than half the cost of a beer in Munich.

Kilfedder said, “The Lesotho capital may not be everyone’s first thought as a tourist location, but visitors to the African location would be able to enjoy the cheapest beer prices in the world. However, this is mostly a result of the weak currency in the African nation in comparison to the euro.”

Bargain beers closer to home
Those looking for the best value beer in Europe should head to Brno in the Czech Republic (£2.20) and Madrid (£4.55), where the average bottle of beer can be purchased for under a fiver. Despite a slight price increase from the previous year for visiting Brits, beer in Brno still costs less than a third of the cost of beer in London and over 60 percent less than in Munich.

Reykjavik is the most expensive location in Europe
The Icelandic capital of Reykjavik is the most expensive place in Europe to buy a beer at a bar, with a whopping average cost of £12.16 per bottle.

Kilfedder explained “The cost of alcohol in Scandinavia has always been high and this year remains no different, with the price of a beer in Reykjavik well over double that of Munich. The main reason for this is the very high level of tax that is imposed on alcohol in all Scandinavian countries, which drives up the price of beer. Oslo is also significantly more expensive than most locations in Europe, with visitors paying £11.42 for a beer.”

Asian cities among most expensive in the world to buy beer
Asian cities are among the most expensive in the world to buy beer this Oktoberfest with Dhaka, Singapore, and Hong Kong some of the pricier locations.

The average cost of a beer in Singapore is over double that of Munich at £12.00, whilst the average amount for a beer in Hong Kong is £8.85 – 112 percent and 56 percent respectively more expensive than in the home of Oktoberfest.

Kilfedder said, “Astronomical rental costs in central Hong Kong are a major factor driving up the price of beer at a bar or pub, whilst high taxes are the main cause of the high prices in Singapore.”

New York defies affordability in the Americas
A beer would not break the bank in most Northern or Southern American locations, with a bottle costing an affordable £3.45 on average in Rio de Janeiro. Manhattan, New York, on the other hand, is unsurprisingly the most expensive location in the region, with a beer costing £7.68 – 36 percent more than in Munich.

For those looking for an Oktoberfest experience in North America – Cincinnati, home of one of the biggest Oktoberfest celebrations outside of Germany, is slightly cheaper in cost than the Bavarian original with an average price of £5.48 for a beer. 

The price of a bottle of beer around the world (selected)


Price of beer (GBP)

% difference with Munich

Dhaka, Bangladesh


+ 131%

Reykjavik, Iceland


+ 115%



+ 112%

Oslo, Norway


+ 102%

Paris, France


+ 49%

London, UK


+ 23%

Brussels, Belgium


- <1%

Madrid, Spain


- 20%

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


- 39%

Johannesburg, S. Africa


- 48%

Brno, Czech Republic


- 61%

Maseru, Lesotho


- 62%

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