What’s More Important–Gas or Beer?


From the Wall Street Journal comes a report on the consumer unrest being caused by the increasing cost of beer.  According to WSJ writer Nancy Keates, the anger over $4.00/gallon gas is nothing compared to the outrage over increasing beer prices.


It seems that some bars and restaurants are serving beer in glasses that look like a pint but actually contain only fourteen ounces.  The glasses, called “falsies” have a thicker bottom.  They look like a pint, but they’re not.  There are also complaints that bartenders are pouring beer with a deliberately thick head which means the customer is paying for two ounces of beer but getting two ounces of foam.


Angry beer drinkers are fighting back by identifying the establishments that are serving the so-called “cheater pints on Internet discussion boards, blogs, and podcasts.  A group called the Honest Pint Project (their slogan-pay for a pint, get a pint) collected more than 400 names on a petition asking state governments to enforce a 16 ounce pint.


The article points out that in the U.K., where a pint is 19.2 ounces, beer must be served in “official” glasses that bear the CE mark, etched in the glass.  Still, British beer drinkers complain that bars are “pouring short”.  Their official organization is called “Campaign for Real Ale.”


Meanwhile, gas prices are spiraling out of control and we seem to be taking it in stride.  I wonder if either Mr. McCain or Mr. Obama were to announce plans to ensure that beer drinkers are getting a fair shake, they might be assured of a victory in November?


The lesson here?  Perception equals reality.  When you try to anticipate how consumers are going toGas_beer_2

respond, there is no sure thing.  A 16 ounce bottle of beer at Busch Stadium in St. Louis costs $8.75, or $70.00 per gallon, making gas look like a real bargain.  But the same people who ride the bus to the ball game to save money have no problem with drinking five or six beers (after buying an $80.00 ticket).


If you make them want your particular widget badly enough, they’ll pay your price.


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