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Beer price survey in Calais, France –, the web magazine for channel shoppers.

euro logo beer mug

Beer and lager – price survey

Beer is much cheaper in France, and fortunately for English shoppers there is considerable competition. On average where comparable, prices are over 30% cheaper in France for cans and nearly 35% cheaper for bottled beers. Many of the wine and beer shops are even cheaper but prices vary considerably. Try one of the smaller supermarkets like, ALDI, LIDL or Penny Prix Bas for good value own brands beers.

March 2013 – U.K. Budget. £ & Taxes go up again in the U.K. – by 2% above inflation for wine, spirits and cider. General beer duty was REDUCED by 2%. For low strength beers it was reduced by 6%. From 2014 they will go up by the RPI.

January 2013 – A bit of bad news. The French Government has increased the duty on beer. From January 2013, a 6 litre pack of beer will cost £1.00 more and a 12 litre pack of beer will cost £2 more than previously. For example, Saint-Omer 24 x 25cl bottles, which are currently £4.99 will retail for £5.99 and Old Speckled Hen 24 x 50cl cans will increase from £13.99 to £15.99. Still cheaper in France by a long way though – at Tesco the pro rata price is £30 (which is 88% more than in France (or 47% cheaper)! And that's a time limited special offer price – normal price £34.74 (which is 117% more than in France (or 54% cheaper).

This tax increase, the first in 30 years, was revealed in the 2013 Finance Act (Social Security). The VAT rate on beer, currently 19.6%, will not change, but excise duties levied on alcoholic beverages will. The beer tax rate is now 2.75 euros per degree of alcohol per hectolitre, which will double in 2013. Overall the average price increase will be about 15%.

tesco beer

November 2011 – From a visitor. "Lidl & Aldi's sites don't carry pricing information. France was cheaper. The 500ml cans of Grafenwalder German pilsner that they sell in U.K. Lidl for 81p were 44 cents. So 24 cans for well less than a tenner and it's a really nice beer".

United Kingdom budget 2010 – Duty on beer, wine and spirits increased in March 2010. Alcohol duties will also increase by 2% above inflation for two further years from 2013.

According to our calculations this means that a case of beer now costing £20 will in 2014, after the last 2% increase cost 10.41% more in real terms or £22.08.

For a good mix of reasonable wine and beer we suggest you go to one of the independent wine and beer shops.

Belgian beer is rightly prized throughout the world and there is a huge range which includes more unusual varieties such as fruit beer (try the cherry one) and Trappist ales. In France, try Castelain (Ch'ti Beer. at Benifontaine and Cave St. Arnoud at St. Omer from the Pas-de-Calais region. Most Belgium towns have a specialist beer shop worth visiting. In Belgium, most beer is bottled and you have to pay 0.10 – 0.20 £ per bottle deposit ("Leeggoed") – which you'll get back when/if you return the bottles.

Best Buys (All the best buys); French Beers (Stella Artois, etc.), Grolsch, Heineken, Kronenburg, Becks, Fosters. Bad buys – Boddingtons, Guîness Original. On average, where comparable, beer in cans is 80% more expensive in the United Kingdom compared with French shops such as Tesco's and Sainsbury's in Calais.

2008 – Prices in France – is it worth doing your grocery shopping in Calais?

It's easy to say the lousy exchange rate makes it worthwhile shopping at home. Wrong. Prices vary considerably and even the lousy exchange rate has not affected our view that its cheaper shopping in France. Just check your shopping from France with local prices in the United Kingdom We often check the wines recommended in newspapers, they are always MUCH cheaper in France.

Budget news

Good news for channel shoppers in the budget (2008). Beer is up 4 pence a pint. This wipes out the increases we have seen in France because of the exchange rate recently.

Don't overload! – more

TIP – Check prices at home before you go, and use these pages to help you save money. To go direct to a price survey for a particular item click on the link. We have also listed in detail on another page those items which are best buys, which you may find useful to take with you. We have had e-mails suggesting that its not always a good idea to wait until Calais before stocking up when returning from holiday. If you have a view on this, let us know

CREDIT CARDS – we suggest you ring your credit card company before shopping in France – increased fraud means they are turning down shoppers cards if their spending deviates from the norm. Take your mobile – you can often sort the problem out over the phone.

Supermarket beer

French Supermarkets have a great range of Belgian and French beers at very good prices.

Related site pages


Pre-order £150 worth of wine online, and get a £10 discount!

pre-order offer from Majestic

English beer brands



Bishops Finger.



Carlsberg Special Brew.

Chimay Belgium Beer.

Castelain (Ch'ti Beer).


Grolsch beers.

Guînes. beers.

Heineken beers.

Jenlain Beers, Saint Druon, Tora.

Kronenbourg 1664.

Newcastle Brown.

Old Speckled Hen.

Stella Artois.

Tangle Foot beer.


Kanterbrau beer – Kanterbrau.

Kronenbourg beer – Kronenbourg.

Interbrew beer – Interbrew (Boddingtons, Heineken, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Murphy's, Stella Artois).

Scottish Newcastle beer – Scottish Newcastle (Beck's. John Smith's, Fosters, Kronenbourg, Kanterbrau, Kronenbourg 1664, Newcastle Brown, Theakstons).


Doing surveys and comparing products between countries is often very difficult. Not only do package sizes vary, but content as well sometimes. Special Offers distort prices temporarily. We have used the French sizes as a standard and worked out the English price pro-rata. Where it is impossible to adjust for differences (size of pineapples for example) we list the United Kingdom and French prices. We suggest you print these pages and take them with you as a rough guide. In general, French hypermarket labels are more informative and will show you the price per litre or kilogram as well (United Kingdom prices often just the item price), United Kingdom products come in smaller sizes, and there is less of a choice.

Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of these surveys, and has carried out considerable in depth research, they should be seen as a guide only and not definitive.

Beer shops / news

Survey of beer prices in Calais shops and supermarkets

Prices shown in Pound Sterling and converted at the rate of 1.46 euro to the £.





% cheaper in France

Boddingtons beer


24 x 44.0 cl

Budweiser beer


24 x 50.0 cl

caffreys beer

Caffrey's –

24 x 44.0 cl

Carling Black Label

Carling Black Label –

24 x 50.0 cl

Carlsberg Beer

Carlsberg Special Brew.

24 x 50.0 cl

Fosters Beer

Foster's – 4.0%.

24 x 50.0 cl

Grolsch beer

Grolsch 5.0º.

24 x 50.0 cl

Guiness beer

Guînes. Draught.

24 x 50.0 cl

Heineken beer



John Smiths Bitter

John Smiths Bitter

24 x 50.0 cl

John Smiths Extra Smooth 4.0º

24 x 44.0 cl

Kronenbourg 1664

Kronenbourg 1664.

24 x 50.0 cl

Old Speckled Hen beer

Old Speckled Hen.

24 x 50.0 cl

Ruddles County Bitter

24 x 50.0 cl

Stella Artois.

24 x 50.0 cl

Tangle Foot beer

Tangle Foot beer.

24 x 50.0 cl


Beck's beer


24 x 33.0 cl

Bishops Finger.

12 x 50.0 cl

Stella Artois beer

Stella Artois.

24 x 25.0 cl

Fosters ICE

24 x 33.0 cl

St. Omer Special

20 x 33.0 cl


Key; a = Auchan, s = Sainsbury, t = Tesco.

Beer in Cans; There is considerably greater choice in France, although you may have to visit more than one shop to find what you want.

Bottled Beer; Sizes vary considerably but of the five items we were able to compare like for like, bottled beer was even cheaper.

Beer in Cans; PO Ferries was the clear winner on price compared with Eurotunnel and Auchan Hypermarket.

Every care has been taken to ensure that these prices are correct, but we strongly advise you to shop around.

Beer is normally available only in smaller packs (e.g. 4) in the United Kingdom The prices shown are pro rata per 24 etc.

Tesco has a very large range of beers on offer.

Best for beers – Carrefour, Franglais. shoppers tips;

Tip 1 – Buy beer on the ferry, unless the exchange rate changes dramatically.

Tip 2 – Always keep an eye out for special offers, they are often generous and it is worth stocking up.

Tip 3 – Don't go by the "United Kingdom price" on the sales ticket – exchange rates used are often very old and do not reflect the up to date value once converted into sterling from euro.

Tip 4 – Pay by credit card. The rates offered for sterling cash are not always the best available (unlike the TABAC's which use a generous rate when working out the Sterling cash price).

DO NOT rely on shop web sites – we found most outdated and unrelated to actual prices in the shops.

French beers and where to buy them

33 Export – Carrefour / Auchan

Amos –

ASB – Pidou

Biere Blonde – Carrefour

Blonde de Lys – Pidou

Blondy – Pidou

Burg Pils – Pidou

Kirk Pils – Pidou

Kronenbourg – Carrefour

Magister – Pidou

Meteor – Auchan

Munsterbrau – Auchan

Nordheim – Le Chais

Pelforth Blonde – Auchan

Semeuse – Carrefour

Sphinx Pils – Pidou

Stella Artois – Carrefour

Umberland –

Wendlbrau – Wine and Beer Co

Belgian Beers – what to look for

Blanche or White Beers – Sometimes called a wheat beer. Light, cloudy, and with a hint of citrus. E.g. Hoegaarden.

Lambic – A non-malted wheat beer naturally fermented by wild, airborne yeasts. A draft beer specific to the Brussels area.

Gueuze – A blend of two or more Lambic beers to create a secondary fermentation and a Champagne-like sparkle.

Faro – Lambic light, if you will. A sweetened variety with some of the flavour but less intensity of other Lambics.

Kriek – A Lambic beer in which further fermentation is brought about with the addition of cherries or raspberries – refreshing in summer!

Brown Beers – These beers interplay caramel-like malty sweetness and a sourness gained from several months of maturation. E.g. Goudenband

Red Beers – Produced from red barley, these beers are aged in oak. Fruity, sweet and sour, very thirst-quenching! E.g. Rodenbach.

Golden Beers – These beers are similar to Pilsner lagers using very pale malts and hops, while retaining ale yeasts. E.g. Duvel.

The PublicanThe Publican, Top Ten Alcoholic Brands (United Kingdom On-Trade Sales) in 2002.

1 – Carling

2 – Carlsberg

3 – Draught Guinness

4 – Fosters

5 – Heineken

6 – John Smiths

7 – Kronenbourg

8 – Stella Artois

9 – Strongbow

10 – Tetley's Bitter

Beer related events in Belgium and France

Restaurants in Belgium

Visit Belgium – Visit Belgium (beer festivals).

May – Lille. Every year. Lille Festival of Flavours. Visitors can enjoy three days of culinary delights in the centre of Lille during the delicious Festival of Flavours. Local producers offer tastings in confectionery, cheese, beer, coffee and much more.

August – Every year. Morvillars, Franche-Comté. International Beer Festival. There's not just beer on offer during this ten-day event in Morvillars, but also local produce stalls, musicians from Munich, a Sunday parade and, most important, the search for Miss Franche-Comté amongst the Belles de Morvillars.

June – beer festival at Middelkerke.

September. Brussels, Weekend de la Biere, a large event attended by most Belgian beer makers. Open to the public.

October each year – Diksmuide Beer Festival, near Ostend, Belgium.

Cantillon Brewery – Cantillon, Belgium. The brewery opens to the public in November when you can watch the beer brewing process in action.

stella artois beer

Useful Outside links

– Check out the latest catalogue / leaflet offers (PDF).

rip off britain – Rip-off United Kingdom My feelings exactly.

Beer pages magazine – Beer Pages online magazine.

Beer Trash, useful site – worldwide beers and links.

brasseurs de france – French beer producers. Find a manufacturer.

All about Belgian beers from the Union of Belgian Brewers. Find a manufacturer.

Monsieur Biere, useful directory of local beers.

Biers des Deux Caps. Local Beer producer, visits to brewery possible.

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