It’s nice to reflect on the things that bind us together: music, compassion, competitive soccer and — most importantly — beer. But which European city spends the highest proportion of its cash on beer? We've done the research so you don't have to...
Predating the building of the pyramids and supposedly one of the key elements of the development of civilisation, beer is in our human DNA. From the beer halls of Munich to the tap houses of Prague and the pubs of London, beer is a language all Europe speaks.
Note that we’re not just looking at how much money is spent on beer in each city — but measuring how much is spent on beer as a proportion of average income. Or, in other words, how much beer is prized amongst other things as a part of national culture.
So which city allocates the highest portion of its cash towards pints (or cervezas or Maßen)? Read on to find out.
Bucharest (Romania’s capital), Moscow (Russia, doofus) and Kiev (Ukraine, innit) make up the top 3. Bucharestians can lay claim to spending 11.49% of their net income on beer. So, for every £100 in their pockets, £11.50 of that goes on pints. Moscow and Kiev come in at 10% spend or thereabouts too.
What is it that ties these cities together? Is it the cold weather? Perhaps it’s a turbulent political history in the 20th century. Your guess is as good as ours, but it likely has something to do with wages being relatively low in these places and beer being the cultural drink of choice.
Highs and Lows
The city with the highest beer spend is Helsinki — spending £1227.72 a year — but with such high salaries in Finland, this doesn’t make such a dent in their finances. Whereas, just a few hundred miles east, each Muscovite spends only a little under this on beer (£1008.77), whilst earning a third of what Helsinkians earn on average.
The lowest beer spend is in Zurich — though it’s a mere £696.67 per year, Zurich salaries are some of the highest in the world, meaning that figure is just 1.03% of the average Zurich resident’s net salary. When you’re that rich, maybe you just skip to the champagne.
What about the rest of the world?
We’ve got data on some of the big names from outside Europe to see how they compare:
This led us to ask the question: do cities spend proportionally more of their money on beer as their net salaries go down? We would cautiously suggest that they do — if only because beer is popular in these places and wages tend not to compete with the price of a pint. Once again, we see a similar pattern — cities where earnings are lower spend proportionally more, cities where earnings are higher spend proportionally much less.
Methodology and Full Dataset
Average spent on beer per year taken from the Wall Street Journal. Average net salary taken from UBS, who calculated salaries in proportion of average earnings in New York. 2019 New York average earnings taken from a Deutschebank report.
See our complete dataset for more.