BOTTOMS UP

These are the places on earth where wine and beer are cheaper than water

It’s already 2015 in Australia, and revelers can toast the new year without spending very much money at all—less than the cost of water, in fact.

Some wines in Australia cost less than an Australian dollar ($0.82), compared to about A$2.50 for the average water bottle, according to the BBC. A few factors have contributed to the low domestic prices for Australians, but a main driver is competition. For one, the Australian wine industry has been inundated with a glut of grapes for 10 years, resulting in an oversupply of wine.

The strength of the Australian currency also affects wine exports. When Australian currency appreciates relative to other currencies, foreign prices increase and demand for the product goes down, according to a report from the market research company IBISWorld. The Australian dollar was especially strong between 2011 and 2013, which led to an excess of domestic supply, the BBC notes.

Meanwhile, two of the country’s major retailers, Woolworths and Coles, control the majority of the country’s alcohol sales, which gives them leverage to negotiate lower wholesale prices with wine producers, according to the BBC and the IBISWorld report.

Other countries that can toast the new year on the cheap include New Zealand, the Czech Republic, and Germany. That the Czech Republic’s beer is cheaper than water in most bars led its health minister to call on restaurants and bars to offer at least one beverage at a lower cost than beer. He proposed offering free pitchers of tap water, since many bars and restaurants in the country only sell bottled water.

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