Is beer cheap in South Africa?

Beer on tap
We have family visiting from Australia and one of the first things that they commented on is how cheap our beer is in comparison to beer that they purchase back home.

Our average local bottle store sells a fairly good variety of beer that costs about R130 for a case of 24. That obviously excludes expensive beers imported from Belgium or Germany - those easily cost R350 for a case of 24!

I guess it's clear that one can't simply convert AUD, GBP, or EUR to ZAR to compare - but it would be interesting to know how much locally brewed beer costs in various countries. Leave a comment on this post, and let's see if we're as lucky as our Australian family thinks we are. :)

To easily convert your currency to ZAR, try using Google.
For example, do a search for "20 GBP in ZAR".

10 thoughts on “Is beer cheap in South Africa?

  1. Ben Wideman

    In the USA it all depends on how terrible the beer you are willing to consume. You can buy a case of 30 Natural Light (cheap college beer) for around $10 – or about R70. But to get a case of a quality craft beer or European import, you could easily shell out more like $40 (R280).

    From my brief time in ZA, the local brands are an absolute bargain for the quality and price. Give me a cold Castle or Black Label any day.

  2. Dieter

    Yeah, I agree with Ben, as I’m just a bit north of him in California. You can get a decent local/craft beer 12 pack (12 fl.oz.) for around $15, which to compare to the article is around R210 ($30) for 24. Heineken 12 pack is a bit cheaper. Naturally switching from bottles to cans make things even cheaper.

    Where it gets interesting is if you try to buy ZA beer over here. There are a couple of companies that import, and they charge around $15 (R100) for a 6 pack. now has Savanna for $13 for a 6 pack, not including shipping.

  3. Paul

    Post author

    Ali, at the moment Germany’s looking like a pretty attractive place to visit! R5.33 for a 1/2 liter is really cheap!

    Ben, what’s interesting is that we have student wine in SA (eg. Tassenberg), not student beer really. How much would one pay for a case of Bud Lights? (And where would they rank on the quality scale?). I can’t say that I enjoy Castle much, although their draught beer (always served exclusively at rugby and cricket matches) is pretty good. You may like to try the new Black Label draught beer – it’s pretty good. :)

    Dieter, I’ll check the price of Heineken here. I think it’s brewed under license in SA. R100 is pretty expensive for a 6-pack, although, given that it’s a speciality import, it’s not *that* expensive. Thanks for the info!

  4. Jonathan Carter

    Compared to Canada it’s certainly very cheap in South Africa. It’s very easy to spend around $50 on a night out without even drinking all that much. That’s around R350 which is enough for lots of beer in SA :)

  5. Ali

    Well, Jonathan. In Germany, the price for drinks on a night out depends on the location. In my home town Leipzig, you pay students prices, i.e. about 1,50 Euro or R14,80. At “tourist traps” like Berlin’s Hackescher Markt, you easily pay 4,50 Euro or R44,42 for a substandard beer. :(

    Paul, take a trip to Germany. I’ve plenty of ideas what to do and to visit! :)

  6. Jonathan Carter

    @Ali Yeah even though the beers in Canada are somewhat expensive, it is at least *really* good. IMHO it’s much better than South African beer (and it’s rare for me to say something like that) :)

  7. Ali

    Usually, German beer is also very good. I only know one brand I dislike: Sternburger. For me, it’s beer for hobos because esp. this clientele drinks it standing in front of supermarkets. Another sort of beer I don’t like is wheat beer. :-!

  8. Cristina

    In Italy 6 cans of Peroni at the supermarket costs Rd 43.55 (euro 4,39). One can, some quantity, taken in a bar, costs Rd 29.76 (euro 3)

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