How Much is a Case of Beer?

Depending on where you live the cost of a case of beer can range in price from very cheap to quite expensive. This is actually one of the reasons I became a brewer, where I live the cost of a case of beer is very high, coming in at over $40 in some cases. Today we are going to tackle the question of how much is a case of beer and attempt to provide you with a good sense of what it will cost you to buy one no matter where you are in the United States.

We are going to look at the average cost of beer in each state of the United States as well as the average cost in Canada, as well as discuss the difference in price for craft beer versus commercial beer. However, the first thing we need to establish is exactly what we mean when we say a case of beer…

How Many Beers Are in a Case?

The term case of beer can actually be confusing as it means different things in different parts of the world and there are different terms used to describe it depending on where you are located. Where I come from a case of beer is actually 12 beers, whereas in most states it is actually 24 beers. To make it more confusing it is common to hear a case of beer being referred to as a box, a flat, a two-four, and even a rack.

For the purposes of this post, we will be referring to a case of beer as being 24 standard 12 oz or 354 ml bottles or cans.

Why Are There 24 Beers in a Case? 
cans of beer with a dollar sign above them and the words, how much is a case of beer written to their right.
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So why is a case of beer 24 and not 18 or even 30? It is a good question that does not appear to have a definite answer to it. There are a few theories floating around the internet to include an interesting one that is attributed to none other than Paul Newman of all people.

Apparently, there has been a tradition for many years at Bates College in Maine where students consume 24 beers in 24 hours. One of the students allegedly said that Paul Newman once said “24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not”.

They apparently even call this day Newman day. I personally doubt this is the reason today’s cases of beer hold 24, and apparently, Paul was none too pleased to have this day named after him, but it is indeed one of the theories floating out there.

The other theory and one that is more likely is that 24 was simply a number that made sense for a case of beer. 24 is a nice round number and provides plenty of beer for friends to get together and have a nice time. Some have said that is due to how easily divisible the number 24 is.

The following are some examples I came across to back this theory up:

  • Baseball being America’s national pastime, a case of beer would allow a whole team in a baseball or softball league to have 1 – 2 beers after the game.
  • After a few people went home, there would be enough for the remaining people to have 3 – 4.
  • 6 would be the perfect number for four buddies to have while sitting around watching the same game.
  • And 12 beers is the perfect number for two people to consume when playing drinking games.

Simple math and the explanation we are going with.

The Average Price of a 24-Pack of Beer

Times have changed and with it so have prices. Not too many years ago, only 20 – 30 you could get a case of beer for approximately $8 – $10 in the United States. Thanks to inflation and the fact that most governments overtax beer you can expect to spend between $15 – $30 for a case of commercial beer and $80 – $100 for a case of craft beer.

It is actually surprising how the price varies from state to state which is again in large part due to the amount of tax each state puts on beer sales…

Most Expensive States for a Case of Beer

The most expensive states to buy a case of domestic beer are Alaska and Wyoming. In Alaska, it costs approximately $31 and Wyoming $26. The next expensive states are Hawaii, Montana, and Tennessee all at $22 and change.

Least Expensive States for a Case of Beer

The least expensive states to buy a case of domestic beer are Illinois, South Carolina, New York, and Rhode Island all coming in between $15 – $16 per case, followed by Michigan and Kansas at just over $16 per case.

The Average Price of a 24-Pack of Beer by State

The following is the full list of what a case of beer approximately costs in each state:

Alabama – $19.65
Alaska – $31.21
Arizona – $16.23
Arkansas – $17.97
California – $17.86
Colorado – $18.06
Connecticut – $16.49
Delaware – $18.99
Florida – $17.17
Georgia – $18.81
Hawaii – $22.39
Idaho – $18.77
Illinois – $15.20
Indiana – $16.87
Iowa – $17.18
Kansas – $16.07
Kentucky – $18.95
Louisiana – $19.99
Maine – $19.63
Maryland – $20.49
Massachusetts – $18.24
Michigan – $16.07
Minnesota – $17.94
Mississippi – $18.78
Missouri – $17.11
Montana – $22.28
Nebraska – $18.47
Nevada – $20.96
New Hampshire – $17.13
New Jersey – $19.30
New Mexico – $17.66
New York – $15.48
North Carolina – $16.08
North Dakota – $19.47
Ohio – $19.04
Oklahoma – $17.58
Oregon – $20.89
Pennsylvania – $21.50
Rhode Island – $15.98
South Carolina – $15.32
South Dakota – $18.12
Tennessee – $22.25
Texas – $20.17
Utah – $18.27
Vermont – $21.56
Virginia – $16.85
Washington – $20.61
West Virginia – $18.06
Wisconsin – $18.22
Wyoming – $26.68

How Much is a Case of Craft Beer?

There is no question that if you are a fan of craft beer you know that you are paying a premium to enjoy a superior quality beer. Craft beer costs more than mass-produced commercial beer because it uses better ingredients and is typically brewed on a smaller scale. For many of us who are fans, it is worth the extra cost. A full explanation for why craft beer costs more than cheap commercial beer extends beyond the scope of this post, however, this article from Huff gives a pretty good overview.

Craft beer is not usually sold in 24-pack cases but rather 6 packs. The cost for a 6 pack of craft beer in the USA varies from $8 – $12.

How Much is a Case of Beer in Canada?

Canada is known for having much higher taxes than other places in the world, especially the USA. Beer is heavily taxed in Canada, and depending on where you are, prices can vary drastically from Province to Province (or Territory). Quebec has the lowest prices at approximately $28 per case and the Northwest Territories have the highest prices at approximately $57 per case, almost $30 more.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is a 24 pack of Budweiser?

The average price of a case of Budweiser in the United States is $20.

What’s the cheapest beer?

There are a ton of cheap beer on the market, but if you are looking for the least expensive of all go with one of the following:

Natural Ice
Natural Light
Pabst Blue Ribbon
Rolling Rock
Miller High Life
Keystone Light
Milwaukee’s Best
Busch Light

How much is a case of beer at Costco?

Any brand of beer that Costco carries is quite a bit less than what you would pay at the liquor or beer store. However, the Costco Kirkland brand is significantly less than your typical brands of beer. 48 of them can be bought for approximately $22 – $23 which is just a bit higher than what you would pay for most brands 24 pack. Whether it is any good or not that is your call but for the price, it is worth a shot.

There you have it my friend you should now have a good idea of how much a case of beer costs. There is no question that in some parts of the world the cost can add up quickly, mostly due to taxes. The higher price is one of the big reasons that so many beer drinkers have transitioned into making their own. Brewing your own beer costs much less than buying it and it is a fun hobby to be involved in. If you are thinking about starting to make your own beer a good place to start is this post: How to Homebrew.

If you decide to get started in the beer-making hobby feel free to reach out to me with any questions you have.

And before you go let us know in the comment section below what your favorite commercial beer is?

Cheers, Big Robb is Out!

Big Robb with a pint of home brewed beer
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P.S. If you make your own beer be sure to take advantage of my limited-time offer to get access to the recipes to my top 5 best-selling beers from my brewpub. The sign-up is on the side of the blog or at the bottom if you are on your smart device. Enjoy!

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