Graph from The Economist.
We recently did an index of how much a Lion beer costs at various spots around Colombo (English / Sinhala). The Economist, also, has done a beer index, this time calculating how much work it takes to earn a beer. On average, it takes 20 minutes of median wage work to earn a frosty brew (500 ml). In Germany you can earn a beer in seven minutes. In India it takes almost an hour. What’s the number for Sri Lanka?
Price Of Beer: Rs. 120
We’ll start with the price of beer. The retail price is Rs. 140 for 675 ml of Lion. With tax you’re looking at about Rs. 160. The bar price ranges from Rs. 190 at, say, Randoli Sports Bar (Rs. 234 with tax + service) to Rs. 475 at Gallery Cafe (Rs. 584 ++). That’s from our Lion Index, which really covers how much each place marks it up. The number we need from here is actually Rs. 0.24, the price per ml of Lion Beer if you buy it from the shops.
That means 500 ml of beer would cost about Rs. 120 in Sri Lanka.
The median income earner in Sri Lanka earns Rs. 12,500 per month. Let’s assume they work 40 hours a week across four weeks. That’s 160 hours a month, meaning they earn Rs. 78 per hour. So, and wow, it takes Sri Lankans about an hour and a half to earn a beer. Which is worse than India. No wonder people drink gal (arrack), or kasippu. It seems that we’re a terrible place for working people to get a beer.