As college students make the difficult decision of how to spend their money, causing breakdowns in grocery aisles across the country, they reconsider old spending habits.
The current economic climate and high inflation rates make the decision even more difficult and the rising drink prices aren’t helping.
In order to combat lower sale rates, many alcoholic beverage companies are raising their prices.
According to the Consumer Price Index, beer, ale and malt beverages have risen 4.6 percent since July 2008.
For Auburn students on a campus with abundant drinking opportunities this price raise could hit students’ wallets hard.
“We try to do drink specials to help people out,” said Tina Berringer, a bartender at SkyBar Café. “These specials in the bars keep the high volume beers packed, which keeps a steady money flow.”
Other restaurants offer drink specials on off days. Niffer’s Place offers $2 wells on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Buffalo Connection offers $3.50 32 ounce drafts on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
In Auburn, the price of a domestic beer in a bar is still about $2.50 a bottle. In convenience and grocery stores there has been an increase, but not enough to cause concern say some students.
“I have noticed a price increase, but not too much,” said Stephen Phelps, a student at Southern Union State Community College in Opelika. “It’s not to the point where I’m not going to buy the beer I’ve been buying.”
Tailgaters and weekend visitors on campus show less concern about any price increases on beer.
“I haven’t noticed anything,” said Jodie McGirt, an Auburn alumna and a weekly tailgater.
The tailgaters at McGirt’s RV shared the same conclusion. They usually go pick up beer on the way into town for games and don’t look at the price.
The general consensus of the Auburn tailgaters was if there has been an increase in Auburn, it hasn’t been enough to make them reconsider their purchase.
“I have no idea what the beer costs,” said David Gordon, a member of a group of weekly tailgaters.
Although the tailgaters haven’t noticed a drastic price increase in Auburn, they have noticed prices in bigger cities increasing.
“In Atlanta we got a glass of wine that was the same price as the bottle,” McGirt said.
Restaurants also tack a hefty price on beer.
“We paid $8 for a beer in Montgomery at dinner the other night,” said Jolene Custard, a member of the weekly tailgaters.
The beer Custard referred to was imported, but in bigger cities it’s not uncommon to see a domestic beer cost that much.
“People don’t realize that if you go to another town such as Las Vegas, Atlanta, any other big city beer, on average, cost anywhere from $5 up,” Berringer said. “People don’t realize how good they have it in a college town.”
It’s a different story for students, though. Money has and always will be an issue for most students in college. With money going toward an education and no steady income, money is a precious commodity.
“If I was a student, I’d look at beer prices differently,” said David McGirt, Jodie’s husband. “We’re not looking to split beer money with gas money.”
Students will drink, though. That’s why bars in Auburn can afford to keep prices so low.
“I mean, cigarette prices keep rising, but people are going to smoke regardless,” Custard said. “It’s the same with drinking. People are going to drink regardless.”
There is a limit within reason, but people will always find ways to drink, as proved during Prohibition during the 1920s.
“College kids are going to drink no matter what,” said Stephanie Cashin, a sophomore in English education. “It’s like gas prices. I still drive when prices go up.”