The media have had some fun in the last couple of days with a story about how someone at a high-end Manchester steak and seafood restaurant mixed up their most expensive bottle of wine with one costing a fraction of the price.
The 2001 Château Le Pin Pomerol (which makes me think of Pomeroy's wine bar where Rumpole of the Bailey swilled an inferior "cooking claret") costs £4,500 a bottle, rather than £260 which the other Bordeaux of the same vintage, Château Pichon Longueville Contesse de Lalande, is priced at.
I don't drink wine, apart from the odd glass of Champagne on a special occasion like a wedding, or maybe a small port at Christmas, but I'm pretty sure that the most expensive pint or bottle of beer I've ever drunk has still come in at under a fiver, with many of the world's great beers considerably cheaper than that.
I'm also doubtful that anyone can tell the difference taste-wise between a £260 and a £4,500 bottle of wine. I suspect that the quality pretty much plateaus at the couple of hundred quid mark, and after that you're just paying for the rarity of the label.
The democracy of the beer world, where anyone of all but the most limited means can still enjoy the best of what it has to offer, is something to be prized.