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Beer vs Liquor: An Alcohol Price Per Ounce Comparison

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Deciding between having beer or liquor when consuming adult beverages is something many people contemplate when socializing with friends. Sometimes the answer differs based on the temperature outside, the setting, and even the mood of the person. But has price ever entered your mind when trying to decide between beer or liquor? Is one cheaper given the amount of alcohol in each type of drink? Let’s find out!

Beer and liquor come in varying price points and alcohol content, but for a simple comparison let’s compare a popular mainstream beer to some popular liquors.

Product Price

First, let’s look at the price of these popular products:

  • 24 Pack Coors Light at Costco: $15.75
  • 1 Liter Malibu Coconut Rum: $16.99
  • 1 Liter Ketel One Vodka: $27.99
  • 1 Liter Captain Morgan Spiced Rum: $20.99

Price Per Ounce Of Alcohol

  • Beer: A case of Coors Light has 288 ounces of product at 4.2% alcohol. This gives us roughly 12.1 ounces of alcohol for $15.75 OR, $1.30 per ounce of Alcohol.
  • Malibu Rum : 1 Liter is roughly 33.8 fluid ounces. Malibu rum is 21% alcohol, giving us 7.1 ounces of alcohol for $16.99 or $2.39 per ounce of Alcohol.
  • Vodka: Ketel One vodka is 40% alcohol, thus 1L of product includes 13.5 ounces of alcohol for $27.99 or $2.07 per ounce.
  • Rum: Captain Morgan Spiced Rum is 35% alcohol, providing 11.8 ounces of alcohol for $20.99 or $1.78 per ounce.


Because liquor is a much higher alcohol content than beer, people consume a much smaller volume of it. This may also lead people to believe that per ounce, liquor is a cheaper way to purchase alcohol. While there certainly is a wide range of prices and alcohol contents for both beer and liquor, analysis of a sample of popular products shows that beer is actually cheaper per ounce of alcohol than hard liquor.

What do you think, Clever Friends, did this result surprise you? It certainly surprised me!

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Not a lot of meat on the bones, here. A more useful article might be to compare the cost of a typical serving, or the cost of the amount usually consumed. Personally, I am torn by the discounts that come with the 24-pack carton’s of beer because even a six-pack will last me a long, long time.

    • I can appreciate your perspective, James, however you aren’t able to walk into a liquor store and purchase a serving of alcohol (there may be a few items available), and the amount usually consumed is very subjective. This article was written from the perspective of a customer standing in the liquor store wondering what gets them the most bang for their buck (beer or hard liquor) given the size of a product they must purchase. I just happened to choose two of the most popular size and brand of products to do the comparison. Thanks for your comment!

  • Hahaha, if you’re going to use a cheap-ass beer in your comparison then you need to use cheap-ass liquor as well. Artificially skewed results.

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