Doing the rounds the past couple of weeks has been a discussion about where people do their drinking and/or why many choose to drink at home rather than socially.It was discussed on the latest Hopinions show podcast and on blogs by Pete McKerry and Boak and Bailey.
I’m biased as I’m a staunch defender of pubs and would like to see more people use them. Continuous images on Twitter and Instagram suggest that a lot of people I interact with over social network do not agree. For the main, a lot of the reasons given as to why they choose to stay at home I understand and sympathise with.
What I can’t get my head around is the stance – that makes up a quarter of the responses in this Hopinions poll – that it is cheaper to drink at home.
I do not question the fact that it certainly can be cheaper to drink at home. When a 4-pack of Sainte Etienne in Aldi (which is definitely Stella Artois) costs £2.69 and a single pint of it is £4 in the pub then drinking at home is cheaper. If the response was a generality of the situation then I agree.
However, in terms of drinking good beer, that I would think most people around the discussion enjoy, then I don’t see how it is cheaper to drink at home. Or at least for me in this geographical location it isn’t.
Bottles of good beer aren’t cheap. I very rarely purchase, in my most frequented bottles shops, a beer for under £3. Most of the time I’ll purchase 5 or 6 bottles at a time and this shop is never under £25.
5 or 6 pints in the pub doesn’t cost me £25+.
A pint of cask beer in my favourite pub ranges from £2.60 - £3.60, dependant on strength and purchase price. This is for a 568ml measure of beer as opposed to the standard 330ml size for bottles or cans in the beer shop. In terms of quantity equivalent (ml to ml) 6 beers in the pub will cost approximately £18.60. The bottles will cost me approximately £43 for the same amount of beer.
If we want to break it down a little differently for keg beers of the stronger and (oh let’s just bloody say it) “crafty” variety then let’s. Magic Rock Brewing’s Cannonball is currently on in my local favourite for £5.20 a pint. The cheapest I’ve seen this widely available beer in a 330ml can locally is at £2.95. Millilitre to millilitre again this comes to £5.07 a pint. That’s a 13p difference and is, officially, cheaper. But if this difference for a beer that you’d probably order by the half anyway is enough for you to stay at home then we may as well burn all pubs to the ground now.
Another example? Wild Beer Co’s Wildebeest is also currently available on the bar of my local favourite at £6.80 a pint. The cheapest I’ve come across this beer in 330ml bottle form online is £4.90 (it’s over £6 on some sites.) Again, if we turn that bottle of beer into the pint equivalent as available in the pub, this 11% delicious Imperial Stout weighs in at £8.43 a pint. That’s a significant difference.
Obviously this is only relevant to me in one place geogrpaphically. You may find that this is far from the case in your local area, but I wouldn't expect to see a major difference. I think people just believe psychologically that it’s cheaper drinking at home because a lot of the time the beer was already there. “I’m having a free night at home – with that special bottle I bought months ago for £17.” It’s technically not free or cheap then but psychologically it feels it.
Many of the other reasons given as to why people drink at home, whilst opposite to my own views, are understandable. There seems many are quite happy to hole up with the television and their jim-jams whilst drinking. That’s fine. It’s not for me.
The most understandable for me is the “young family” reason. Obviously those with such responsibilities and busy lives are not going to get the chance to pop into the local.
I still drink bottles of beers at home as there are obviously many beers I wouldn’t have tried if not. If those who find it cheaper were referencing the wonderful taste of Sainte Etienne lager then fair play to you. Some people like getting leathered in their armchair on the cheap.
I have access to good beer in social environments. I don’t have a young family to raise. I don’t find the company of other humans deplorable. I have great respect for those trying to run drinking establishments. I have all the factors that mean I choose drinking in pubs and bars over at home. I can understand those that don’t, just don’t tell me that it’s so much cheaper