A shearer’s wage has fallen behind the price of beer over the past three decades, according to new analysis.
The research done by market analyst Mecardo looked at beer prices and shearing costs since 1987.
Trevor Kearns has been shearing for more than 50 years and said he used to be able to buy a pot of beer for the price of shearing one sheep.
“But now shearing is just over $3 and a pot of beer is $5,” he said.
“So the beer prices have increased dramatically.”
Mecardo analyst Matt Dalgleish said up until 2001 the beer price and shearing cost were roughly on track.
“But over the last decade and a half the beer index has opened up,” he said.
Craft beer may be having impact on price
The analysis came about after a request from a Mecardo subscriber, and Mr Dalgleish said the idea had made the team curious.
“It was interesting to look at it, but it was also partially humorous,” he said.
As the beer market has changed, measuring its cost has become more complicated, and Mr Dalgleish said the rise of craft beer could be impacting the price.
“There are quite a few craft brewers out there who have a higher value on their beer, and that could be part of the reason why the index has broadened,” he said.
“I think if you were looking at just your standard run of the mill pot of VB or Carlton behind the bar, you might find it’s much more in line with the shearing cost.”
But roustabout Matt Scully said he did not drink craft beer and he had noticed a rise in cost.
“We just drink normal run-of-the-mill beers,” he said.
Mr Kearns agreed, saying he could not afford to go to the pub anymore.
“Say I had five beers, that’s $25 dollars, that’s half a slab of beer,” he said.
“That’s why I drink at home.”
Ballarat craft brewer and publican Peter Parry said craft beer prices were starting to drop with the influx into the market.
And he is hoping to attract more farmers and shearers into his pub.
“We make it easily affordable for them and welcoming to come in,” he said.
“It’s not too offensive for them to come in. They don’t have to have the fake glasses and the rolled up jeans and the Japanese sandals on to come in.
“We don’t mind if they’ve got their work boots on.”
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