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Goodness Gracious Is Beer in Tel Aviv Expensive

A recent study ranks hotel bars in the beachy Israeli city as the third most expensive in the world

Jas Chana
July 01, 2015

GoEuro, a company that “prides itself on helping customers make educated decisions when it comes to their travels,” just released its annual Beer Price Index, a ranking of 75 countries according to the cost of what, for many, is one of the most important travel ingredients. And Israel, represented by Tel Aviv, did not fare well, coming in third from the bottom at no. 73, making the city the third most expensive place to buy a beer. But let’s dig deeper.

According to GoEuro, the average price of a 33cl beer (a bottle) bought at a bar in Tel Aviv is $9.53. That’s almost $7 more expensive than the price of a beer at a bar in Krakow, Poland, which sits at the no. 1 spot (least expensive). (In Tel Aviv, customers will pay $2.06 if they buy from a supermarket. In total, the average cost of a bottle of beer in Tel Aviv is $5.79.)

Of course, questions can be raised about the methodology behind GoEuro’s data gathering. The small print of the chart reads: “The price of a beer in a bar was calculated using the average price of local and imported 33cl draught beer in several major hotel chains worldwide.” So the chart’s conclusions shouldn’t necessarily dissuade beer-drinking tourists who’d rather booze in a dive bar than a hotel lobby, from visiting Tel Aviv.

However Israel’s supermarket price, which was calculated through the beer prices in “regular discount stores,” is still pretty expensive compared to Krakow, Budapest, and many other European cities with sub-dollar offerings. The Jerusalem Post reports that the price is because of high taxation on beer in Israel:

In July of 2012, when Israel’s deficit had exploded to twice its target, then-Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz imposed a slew of new taxes, including a near-doubling of the beer tax from NIS 2.18 to NIS 4.19.

However, the GoEuro chart also reveals that Israelis don’t actually drink that much of the amber nectar. Data reported from the World Health Organization shows that the average resident of Tel Aviv drinks less thank 50 pints of beer per capita a year, which pales in comparison to a Krakow resident’s 127 litres. (This is just basic supply and demand.) That’s one of the lowest figures for a non-Islamic country, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Thus, an Israeli revolution, at least for the Tel Aviv demographic of beer drinkers, doesn’t seem likely.

Jas Chana is a former intern at Tablet.