Have you ever wondered why IPAs are expensive? The answer resides in the two main ingredients: hops and malt.
IPA beer is expensive because of the ingredients used. Large amounts of hops and malt are required to make IPAs, both of which become costly in the required quantities. More malt is used in IPAs than in other styles in order to achieve a higher ABV than other beers. In turn, more hops are needed to make IPAs to balance the flavors.
Read on for more information about why IPAs are expensive and how much it costs to produce them, plus the best place to buy IPAs.
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Is IPA beer really more expensive?
Should you expect to pay more money for an IPA compared to a lager? Is IPA beer really more expensive than other styles? In some situations, sure, but not all the time.
IPAs are more expensive than other beer styles because they use larger amounts of ingredients. IPAs are more expensive when purchased as singles, and get less expensive the more you buy at once; a case of 24 is less per can or bottle than a 4-pack. IPAs are not much more expensive than other craft beer styles.
The expense of IPAs can be attributed to the ingredients used, the demand for the style, and even logistics. It’s always going to be more expensive to buy any type of craft beer than it is domestic, big-name brands because of the increased expense to produce them.
2 reasons IPA beer is more expensive than other styles
IPAs are more expensive than other styles for two main reasons: hops and malt. This style uses more of each compared to others, leading to a higher price.
The two reasons IPAs are more expensive are the malt and hops used to make them. IPAs are the only style to use as many hops as they do; at least 5-15 ounces, sometimes more, of pellet hops per batch of 5-gallon beer. These beers also contain more malt to achieve higher alcohol levels, making them inherently more expensive.
Hops are costly to grow and maintain, and malt expenses escalate quickly when brewing beers with high ABVs.
Hops take a lot of time, money, energy, and other resources to grow and maintain. Not to mention that they’re only harvested once per year, adding to the expense.
Hops are one of the largest contributors to IPA expenses. These beers use anywhere from 5-15 ounces of pellet hops per 5-gallon batch of beer. Consider a brewery that produces 10 barrels of an IPA at around 31 gallons each – that’s 1,550 to 4,650 ounces of hops. The price for 16 ounces of hops can range from $15-55 depending on the variety.
IPAs use hops at several different phases during the brewing process. Dry-hopping, for instance, will lead to larger amount of hops used and will inherently make the beer more expensive.
Beer gets its alcohol from the malt used. Its sugars are turned into alcohol by yeast during the brewing process. IPAs use a lot of malt to achieve their high alcohol contents, thus making them more expensive.
IPAs use more malt than other styles to achieve a higher ABV, increasing the end price. IPAs typically use between 8 and 15 pounds of malt in their recipes to generate a high alcohol level. One pound of American 2-Row malt can cost $2-5 depending on the source and if you want it milled or not.
Because IPAs use so much malt, they’re consequently expensive. Additionally, because the style is hop-forward, large amounts of hops are required to balance the malt taste, driving the price up even further.
Average cost of IPA beer
The cost of beer has only increased in recent years due to inflation and demand. Different package quantities cost different prices depending on if the beer is in cans or bottles, and if it’s in 12 or 16-oz packaging.
The average cost of an IPA ranges from $18 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans to $25 for a 12-pack of 12-ounce bottles. These prices are averages and can be higher or lower depending on the type of IPA, where you bought it, and the quantity paired with the type of packaging.
Additional things to note: prices will vary depending on geographic location and the type of business you buy them from or drink them in.
The average price for a 4-pack of IPAs varies based on the venue it’s sold in.
Four-packs of 16-ounce IPAs cost an average of about $18. A 4-pack of 12 oz. IPAs costs an average of $15.
The most expensive sub-style is the Hazy IPA because of the large amount of hops used to brew them, alongside immense consumer demand.
Typically, 6-packs of IPAs are sold in 12 oz cans or bottles and cost less than 4-packs.
The average cost of a 12-ounce 6-pack of IPAs is about $13 at retail locations.
Bottles oftentimes cost slightly more than cans because the packaging itself is more expensive.
A 12-pack of IPAs is sold in 12 oz cans or bottles.
The average price for a 12-pack of IPAs in the United States is about $23 for cans and $25 for bottles.
Where is the best place to buy IPA?
Do different locations sell IPAs for less money than others? Where is the cheapest place to buy an IPA? This answer might not be as rewarding as you would have hoped, as most places sell beer at rates that are heavily governed by federal or state law.
Wholesalers offer the cheapest prices with a case of IPAs at Costco costing marginally less than a case bought at a liquor store. Bars and restaurants sell beer on draft for market price, but brewery prices for draft beer are higher than other on-premise locations. Gas stations and grocery stores have no difference in prices compared to other retailers.
In the end, the difference in price may be minuscule for shopping at differing locations. Craft beer is sold at higher rates than domestic, macro-produced beer in almost any scenario. Craft breweries oftentimes sell beer on tap at their locations for more than what it might cost at a retailer, as they’re also selling the atmosphere and experience of drinking beer from its source.