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A bunch of forties.

40 fl. oz. (1.183 liter) of fine malt liquor helps get your buzz on. "Forties" are a favorite among college students, alcoholics, and alcoholic college students. Most forties can be purchased for about the same amount a pint (16 fl. oz. or 473ml.) costs at a bar.

This page needs updating, is anyone willing to come with me? It involves a lot of biking. —ArlenAbraham This page does need to be updated quite badly. I'll try to do my part as I buy forties from around town. —AngusEubangus, 7/8/2012

Sadly the King Cobra is not $1.39 at Albertsons anymore, it is now a depressing $2.00 - AFortyDrinker

Is it possible that the US Government is subsidizing the cost of cheap beer? I went to Music School in Boston in 1979-1981 and 32 oz. bottles (no 40s back then), were about $1.07 - $1.20. Granted, Back-Bay Boston is an expensive neighborhood, but still, why is there nary a price increase in ~34 years? How do I remember the pricing so clearly? We diligently saved change and 'pooled our pennies' to buy such, so we were very aware of the pricing. —BStein, 2/4/2014

Abstract

In this study, the prices of 40oz. beers are surveyed across every available vendor in the city of Davis, CA. Twenty-six vendors were surveyed, twenty-three of whom sold 40's or 32's, and the cheapest vendor for each type of 40oz. was identified. Data regarding 32oz. (1 quart or 946ml.) beers were also collected. Upon completing the study, 40oz. beers were consumed.

Introduction

Price checking at Circle 6.

The forty provides an ideal amount of beer or malt liquor for consumption during social activities. The average UC Davis student consumes 0-3 drinks when they party, according to data collected in recent years. A 40 provides only slightly more than the desired 3 drink 'perfect buzz.' As such, it is critical to the well being of all consumers of 40oz. beverages to know the prices, selection, and additional information within their home town. In this case, a rigorous study of the prices and selection of 40oz. and 32oz. beer and malt liquor beverages in the town of Davis was performed.

Edward 40 Hands is an example of a drinking game requiring the use of a forty. Much of forty culture also translates over to 32oz. bottles as well, but never 24oz. because they are usually considered too close to the usual 12oz. size.

Materials and Methods

ArlenAbraham about to investigate some prices.

Price information was collected by going from store to store and checking listed prices on the shelf. If shelf prices were not available, prices were confirmed either by requesting a price check, or querying the cashier. In some cases the cashier did not reveal price information when asked or revealed possibly suspect information. These cases are noted as such. Information was collected with a pen and paper, and photographs were taken with a digital camera.

Data

How to use this table

Below the data found in this study are presented in two tables; one for 40's and one for 32's. Each column corresponds to a different brand of 40 or 32, each row, a different vendor. The cheapest vendors of each brand of 40 or 32 are highlighted in green. The numbers in parentheses indicate the alcohol content in percentage of alcohol by volume. Question marks indicate that a given vendor sells the corresponding 40 or 32, but pricing was not available. Calculations do not take question marks into account. All prices are listed before sales tax and CRV.

Fodies

Bud (5.0)
Bud Light (4.2)
King Cobra (5.9)
Mickeys (5.6)
Olde English (7.5)
MGD (5.0)
Steel Reserve (8.1)
Coors Light (4.2)
PBR (5.0)
St. Ides (8.2)
Magnum (5.6)
Country Club (5.7)
Fast and Easy Mart (3rd and b)
$2.59
$2.59
$2.09
$2.59
$2.59
$2.59
$2.59
$2.59
AM/PM (central Davis)
$2.59
$2.59
$1.79
$2.29
$1.99
$2.59
Albertsons
$2.99
$1.39
Chevron (Anderson & Covell)
$2.90
$2.90
$2.90
$2.90
$2.90
$2.90
$2.90
$2.90
Safeway (North Davis)
$1.99
Longs (West Davis)
Union 76 (West Davis)
$2.69
$2.69
$1.99
$2.69
$2.69
$2.69
$2.51
Circle K
$2.49
$2.49
$2.29
$2.39
$2.49
$2.49
Food Fair
$2.75
$2.75
$2.85
$2.79
$2.75
$2.39
$2.75
Nugget (East Davis)
$2.59
$2.59
$2.49
$2.39
Longs (East Davis)
$2.79
$2.79
$1.99
$2.49
7-Eleven
$2.69
$2.69
$2.59
$2.69
$1.69
Aggie Liquor
$2.99
$2.99
$1.69
$2.49
$2.29
$2.49
$2.49
$1.69
$2.49
$2.00
$2.19
Quick Shop Market
$2.74
$2.74
$1.49
$1.99
$1.99
$2.74
$1.79
$2.74
$1.69
$1.99
Circle 6
$2.07
$2.07
$1.49
$2.07
$2.07
$2.77
$1.79
Valero
$2.89
$2.89
$2.59
$2.55
$2.69
$2.29
$2.39
$2.79
Nugget (South Davis)
$2.59
$2.59
$1.99
Chevron (Chiles Road)
$2.79
$2.79
Safeway (South Davis)
$3.19
$1.99
$1.67
Chevron (Cowell)
$2.79
$2.79
$2.79
$2.79
$2.79
$2.79
$2.79
University Shell (Richards)
?
?
?
?
?
?
Olive Drive Market
$2.69
$2.69
$2.69
$1.99
$1.99
$2.69
$1.99
$2.69
Frequency
20
17
16
15
15
13
11
10
6
3
1
3
Lowest
$2.07
$2.07
$1.39
$1.99
$1.99
$2.49
$1.79
$2.39
$1.69
$2.49
$2.00
$1.67
Highest
$3.19
$2.90
$2.90
$2.90
$2.90
$2.90
$2.90
$2.90
$2.39
$2.79
$2.00
$2.19
Mean
$2.71
$2.66
$2.06
$2.49
$2.45
$2.68
$2.32
$2.63
$1.85
$2.64
$2.00
$1.95
Median
$2.72
$2.69
$1.99
$2.57
$2.59
$2.69
$2.34
$2.64
$1.69
$2.64
$2.00
$1.99
Standard Deviation
0.23
0.20
0.50
0.32
0.35
0.13
0.38
0.17
0.30
0.21
N/A
0.26

Firdey Tooes

High Life (4.7)
Coors (5.0)
High Life Lite (4.2)
Red Dog (5.0)
Natural Ice (5.9)
Natural Light (4.2)
Busch (4.6)
Ice House (5.5)
Tecate (4.5)
Bud (5.0)
Bud Light (4.2)
Carta Blanca (4.5)
Mississippi Mud
Sol (4.5)
Fast and Easy Mart (3rd and b)
$1.49
$1.49
$1.49
AM/PM (central davis)
$1.29
$1.49
$1.49
Albertsons
$1.49
$1.49
Chevron (Anderson & Covell)
$1.69
$1.69
Safeway (North davis)
Longs (West Davis)
$1.49
$1.99
Union 76 (West Davis)
$1.69
$1.29
$2.69
Circle K
$1.25
$1.99
$1.25
$1.29
$1.29
$1.29
Food Fair
$1.55
$2.39
Nugget (East Davis)
$1.99
$2.00
Longs (East Davis)
$1.49
$1.39
$1.29
7-Eleven
$1.29
$1.29
$2.69
Aggie Liquor
$1.19
$2.19
$1.19
$1.19
$1.19
$1.19
$1.29
$2.99
Quick Shop Market
$0.99
$0.99
$0.99
$0.99
$0.99
$0.99
Circle 6
$1.25
$1.25
$1.25
$1.25
$1.25
$1.25
$1.25
$1.25
Valero
$2.69
$2.59
$2.69
$1.19
$1.29
$2.59
$2.39
$2.39
Nugget (South Davis)
$1.29
$1.49
$1.19
Chevron (Chiles Road)
$1.79
Safeway (South Davis)
$1.49
$2.79
Chevron (Cowell)
$2.29
$2.29
$2.29
$2.29
$2.29
$2.29
University Shell (Richards)
?
?
?
?
?
?
Olive Drive Market
$1.09
$1.09
$1.09
$1.09
$1.09
$1.09
$2.49
$2.49
$2.49
Frequency
20
12
12
10
8
8
7
6
5
2
2
2
1
1
Lowest
$0.99
$0.99
$0.99
$0.99
$1.09
$1.09
$0.99
$0.99
$1.29
$1.99
$2.29
$2.49
$2.99
$2.49
Highest
$2.69
$2.59
$2.69
$2.29
$1.49
$1.39
$1.29
$2.29
$2.79
$2.39
$2.39
$2.69
$2.99
$2.49
Mean
$1.51
$1.77
$1.66
$1.34
$1.27
$1.23
$1.16
$1.38
$2.37
$2.19
$2.34
$2.59
$2.99
$2.49
Median
$1.39
$1.59
$1.49
$1.25
$1.27
$1.22
$1.19
$1.25
$2.59
$2.19
$2.34
$2.59
$2.99
$2.49
Standard Deviation
0.42
0.53
0.54
0.38
0.13
0.10
0.12
0.52
0.61
0.28
0.07
0.14
N/A
N/A

Calculations

In this table, prices per ounce of ethanol are compared. In layman's terms, this table shows "the best bang for your buck." For comparison, the approximate price of a 1.75 liter bottle of Smirnoff vodka is listed. Beers are sorted in descending order with respect to price per ounce of ethanol.

Beer
Size
ABV
Cheapest
Vendor
Price/ fl. oz. of EtOH
Steel Reserve
40
8.1%
$1.79
Quick Shop Market
$0.55
Ice House
32
5.5%
$0.99
Quick Shop Market
$0.56
Natural Ice
32
5.9%
$1.09
Quick Shop Market
$0.58
King Cobra
40
5.9%
$1.39
Albertsons
$0.59
Coors
32
5.0%
$0.99
Quick Shop Market
$0.62
Red Dog
32
5.0%
$0.99
Quick Shop Market
$0.62
High Life
32
4.7%
$0.99
Quick Shop Market
$0.66
Magnum
40
5.6%
$1.49
Aggie Liquor
$0.67
Busch
32
4.6%
$0.99
Quick Shop Market
$0.67
Country Club
40
5.7%
$1.67
Safeway (South)
$0.73
High Life Lite
32
4.2%
$0.99
Quick Shop Market
$0.74
St. Ides
40
8.2%
$2.49
Aggie Liquor
$0.76
Natural Light
32
4.2%
$1.09
Olive Drive Market
$0.81
Old English
40
5.9%
$1.99
AM/PM,Quick Shop Market,Olive Drive Market
$0.84
PBR
40
5.0%
$1.69
7-Eleven,Aggie Liquor, Quick Shop Market
$0.85
Mickeys
40
5.6%
$1.99
Quick Shop Market, Olive Drive Market
$0.89
Tecate
32
4.5%
$1.29
Aggie Liquor
$0.90
Handle of Smirnoff
59.17
40.0%
$22
Safeway
$0.93
Bud
40
5.0%
$2.07
Circle 6
$1.04
Bud Light
40
4.2%
$2.07
Circle 6
$1.23
Bud
32
5.0%
$1.99
Longs (West)
$1.24
MGD
40
5.0%
$2.49
Circle K, Longs (East)
$1.25
Coors Light
40
4.2%
$2.39
Nugget (East)
$1.42
Bud Light
32
4.2%
$2.29
Chevron Cowell
$1.70
Carta Blanca
32
4.5%
$2.49
Olive Drive Market
$1.73
Sol
32
4.5%
$2.49
Olive Drive Market
$1.73
Mississippi Mud
32
??
$2.99
Aggie Liquor
??

Conclusions

King Cobra: The current price winner at $1.39 at Albertsons.

King Cobra at Albertsons was the cheapest forty, at $1.39.

In terms of dollars per fl. ounce, the firdy toos of High Life, Coors, High Life Lite, Red Dog, Busch, and Ice house at Quick Shop Market are the cheapest overall at $0.99 for 32 oz. (which equals $1.24 for 40 oz.).

For the most ethanol per dollar spent, Steel Reserve from Quick Shop Market is the best value.

Disclaimer

All prices are subject to cashier inaccuracies, market fluctuation, and acts of God.

Outside Research

  • According to a study in the scientific journal Alcoholism, "[malt liquor] drinkers were more likely to be homeless, to receive public assistance for housing, and to be unemployed."
  • Researchers at the Prevention Research Center reported in a 2003 study that "The findings of this study suggest that malt liquor use is associated with heavy and problem drinking, other drug use and behavioral problems among community college students."
  • A comprehensive flavor based study can be found here