7 January 2008

The Great Beer Rip Off

| Affirmative Action Man
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I recently went do pick up a carton of my favourite beer – Cascade- and was devastated to see that the size of the stubbies has shrunk from 375ml to 330 ml – but the price has stayed the same.

Its just like the great spirit Rip Off where the size of the bottles has shrunk from 750ml to 700ml over the last 10 years.

My advice is get a still & home brewing kit

[Ed. For the benefit of everyone else suffering under this travesty of injustice, can anyone suggest where you can get a still or home brewing kit. And better yet, some advice on how to operate them?]

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Introduce yourself to Richard, the award winning brewer at the Wig and Pen and offer him a decent amount to teach you the things you really need to know about home brewing and then go for it. You’ll get a better beer than the mass produced stuff.

Pommy bastard6:26 pm 20 Feb 09

Err yuck, VB

My favs are London Pride and Cornish Cream…

I thought you’d be a Skinners man!


I have the benefit of many years of working overseas in the States.
No 750ml or 700ml, the standard is 1litre with 1.75litre almost as common.
Vodkas, Bourbons, Rums, Just about whatever you name. 1.25litre bottles $8-$14 each.

Moving up the shelf, Johnny Walker Black Label, not even shopping around $19 for a full litre bottle.

Smirnof 1.75litre bottles $19 each

Skyy 1.75litre or Myers Rum $19 each

Black Velvet Canadian Whisky 1.75litre $13, same for 1.75litre Old Crow Bourbon Whisky

Wines 750ml bottles $7 for 2 bottles.

1.75litre mixers (Mudslide, Margarita, Pina Colada) $11 each

And where are the out of control alcoholics over there they keep talking about over here as a smoke-screen excuse to milk more money in excise from the Australian citizen?

Then I move back to Australia… Holy Hell!!! 🙂

This is the land of incredibly shrinking products even with price increases (hidden 4x price increase that way) — enough toothpaste to wash a fleas bum and deodorant to last a only a month. A months worth of tampons for the wife costing as much as a years supply back there. You people sure like taking it every which way without complaint over here!

For the price of one tiny tube of name brand sensitive teeth toothpaste for the wife here I ordered 3 tubes each being 3 times as much toothpaste and spent less money than the one tube here, same brand!

I see some big online orders to the states. With the bad Aussie dollar and the cost of international shipping, I can still come out ahead of buying anything in an Australian shop.

home brew is an exception to the rule because at no point do you put methanol or ethanol into the brew, unless you like to swill metho down at the pot

According to the links above, you need a license and you pay the excise, since methanol is an alcohol. But on top of that, you pay 38 cents a litre in excise to produce biodiesel in the first place.

Quite simply, it seems that if it’s alcohol- or fuel-related, you pay excise. Home-brewed beer is the sole exception.

I wonder how this applies to the extraction of surplus methanol/ethanol from the glycerin byproduct when making biodiesel.

Strictly speaking, the methanol (moonshine) or ethanol (spirit alcohol base) is distilled alcohol.

My understanding is that the ATO is responsible for the rules regarding alcohol production. They say that even though you don’t need special permission to own a still with a capacity of less than 5 litres, you must have a licence before you can use it.

VY – homebrew alcohol (at least in component form) doesn’t have an alcohol content (yet), hence why its excluded.

Why you would want to put a crate of explodable bottles into the post for your brother who’s off in the Sianai is anybody’s guess, but I’m pretty sure excise tax would be reasonably waivered as an acceptable loss due to the scale of the operation.

Arguably, once you get above a certain proportion of quantity, the ATO will start thinking you are a commercial operation and adjust their rates accordingly.

Yes, for some resaon I’ve found using real sugar seems to up the alcohol content? I made one last year with 1kg white sugar, and 500 g of golden syrup, and that stuff was up past 8%. Had an odd taste. The current one with just 1kg of sugar also seems to be heading into elephant beer territory, taste is OK but not as refreshing as the normal ones made with dextrose. I haven’t bottled it yet, so it might morph again during the final 2 weeks in the bottle.

Alcohol content has been reduced to save costs. The Tax Office calculate excise based on alcohol content, and the cost is not insubstantial. Interestingly, home brew is explicitly excluded from excise liability.

My home brew tends to be in the 6% range, and made one that was about 10% (which was VERY sweet). Playing around with the quantities changes things like this – lot’s of fun, especially when you accidentally make a really good one 😉

Another side of the rip off argument, I was lucky enough to be in Port Douglas where I found that a bottle of my favourite brew cost the same as it does here in Canberra,. This means that the bottle must have got there FREE of all freight costs, or that we are being well and truly scalped in the southern capital cities. Also what is happening when a schooner of beer is only a few cents more than a schooner of soft drink?

Also, if you have the time and patience, home brew is the way to go. Very satisfying and quite educational.

lots of stuff on the market is garbage. Not all, but lots.

I’m bringing back a couple of bottles of Old Munk rum from where I am at the moment. Not sure what its alcohol content is but pretty sure its more then 40% lol

Alcohol content has reduced too:

Spirits from 42% average to 40%
Beer from 5% to 4.8%

Home brewing with the amazing range of kits (those cans) is easy. I started in winter, now is easier with the warmer temperatures.

You can get Home Brew set ups at Big W and K-mart, in a big box, by coopers. I got me a Morgan’s set up, at Butts n Brew in Queanbeyan. the place in Kambah is “the” enthusiasts shop.

I pick up new beer kits at the supermarket, or at the queanbeyan place if I’m after something special. I’m experimenting with brewing with normal sugar right now, but next brew will be with the standard dextrose/maltodextrin stuff.

A set up, with fermenter, tap, hydrometer, 30 longneck bottles and lids, a beer kit, sanitiser and detergeant, thermometer etc is about $80.

Making the beer is easy. I like the Morgan’s sanitizer, it’s the easiest to use, and don’t stint on that step.

Then you just mix up the sticky malt from the can, chuck in your sugar/dextrose/more malt, 23 litres of water, and then put in the yeast, close it up and watch it do its thing.

el ......VNBerlinaV87:26 pm 07 Jan 08

Likewise the Mercury “Black” that they don’t send outside of Tassie…

Good thing Cascase Pale looks to be staying in the standard 375ml. As an aside – the delicious Cascade Draught I was knocking back over Christmas was only $32 a carton in Tassie – shame they don’t export that stuff to the mainland…

Deadmandrinking5:44 pm 07 Jan 08

Urk, VB.

Carlton Draught!

Switch to VB.

Still comes in 375ml.

AAM: The only way to not take it any more and still have plentiful access to beer is to brew your own – we’re only trying to help 🙂

Definitely head to Brew Your Own At Home in Kambah – the only place in Canberra to go for Homebrew (U-Brew It can hardly be called homebrew – its not at home!!)

Affirmative Action Man3:29 pm 07 Jan 08

Appreciate the comments but the real issue is the underhand way the marketers are ripping us off by stealth – Your favourite 750ml Glenfiddich is now 700ml – All Australian stubbies that were 375ml are now 355ml, 345ml or 330ml. I’m mad as hell & I won’t take it any more.

Senor Roberto2:05 pm 07 Jan 08

You can get both 330ml stubbies and 375ml stubbies of Cascade. When they re-branded, 330ml stubbies were introduced along side the 375ml.

Mac’s Liquor in Mawson sells Cascade 375ml 6 packs and cases for the same price as before the re-brand. I know because I am very sensitive to the price of this beer 🙂

If a store is selling you 330ml at 375ml prices, the store is ripping you off.

Brew-ya-own-at-home in Kambah is my regular.

Yep, when I’m down in the dark side of town (south of the lake) I usually drop into Brew-ya-own-at-home and pick up some supplies. They definitely have the best selection in Canberra.

Otherwise, if I’m lazy I’ll grab a can from Woolies or Coles – just check the expiry date first.

I’ll second the vote for Brew-ya-own-at-home, round the back of Kambah village. It’s the other end of town for me, but still well worth the trip. Colin really knows his stuff, and the range available there make Buts & Brew look like rubbish.

As a note, my understanding is that stills (as distinct from fermenters used for beer) are technically illegal in the ACT – doesn’t mean you can’t buy them, and to our collective knowledge nobody’s ever been done for having one on a home-brewing scale, but it’s something to be aware of.

U-BrewIt’s URL for the google-shy:


I home brew. Go to Big W and get a standard home brew kit, do a couple of standards brews, then start experimenting. It’s cheap, and heaps of fun.

I’ll also share a piece of advice that I have found makes a huge difference: make sure your kit is ultra clean, and genuinely sterile, prior to brewing. It seems to make quite a difference.

When you brew, think about different things that can be used in place of brewing sugar (eg honey, cut fruit, raw/brown sugar, etc).

barking toad12:56 pm 07 Jan 08

Kambah Village.

Meanwhile, drink Melbourne Bitter.

Agree, the price of a carton just gets higher and higher, look at how much a certain fresh food people can shave off on their ‘specials’

Thas a serious profit margin!

Home brew is the way to go.

ubrewit_hume12:27 pm 07 Jan 08

You should head down to U-Brew it in Hume. The address is 23 Rasw Cres Hume.
You have to make a booking so ring on 02 6260 1130

Butts and Brew – Kayleen and somewhere down Southside.

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