The price of a pint in the UK has risen by more than 70% since the financial crash of 2008, hitting £8 for the first time in London as pubs grapple with runaway inflation.
The average price of a pint of beer has risen from £2.30 in 2008 to £3.95 this year, according to data from industry tracker CGA, with pub companies threatening further price hikes as the cost of barley to make beer is skyrocketing due to pressures resulting from the war in Ukraine.
If it had risen just in line with average consumer prices from January 2008 to April 2022, the cost of a pint would have been £3.35.
CGA regularly surveys prices from random samples of over 5,500 UK bars and pubs. He said the most expensive pint crossed the £8 threshold for the first time in his research, with the peak price in his range hitting £8.06 in London this year.
The cheapest pint in the UK is in Lancashire at £1.79, CGA said.
Clive Watson, chairman of the City Pub Group, which operates 41 pubs in London and the south, said the cost of ingredients had risen by 10 per cent, “wage inflation is probably 7 per cent and l ‘electricity is 100%, so the mixed cost price probably drives up the price of a pint of beer by 12-13%’.
CPG raised prices 5-6% in December, Watson said, but would take the cost increase “on the chin”. “We hold [prices] this year we just want people to go back to the pub,” he added.
Pub executives have been reluctant to raise prices as they try to bring customers back after long periods of closure during the pandemic. But steep increases in the cost of grain following the conflict in Ukraine – a major global supplier of wheat – and increases in energy and labor costs have forced many people to charge more for food. food and drinks.
The rising cost of barley – one of the main ingredients in beer – was a “big negative” for brewers, Bernstein analysts noted on Wednesday, saying “the realistic worst-case scenario would see an inflation of l ‘malting barley by about 70%’ this year. .
Fernando Tennenbaum, chief financial officer of the world’s biggest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, which makes Budweiser and Corona, said with inflation at “different levels than ever before”, there was “some catching up to do”. . [on consumer prices] but so far the beer [prices] lagged behind inflation and demand is very strong.
Greene King, who operates around 2,700 pubs, raised prices by an average of 5p a pint, while Marston chief executive Andrew Andrea said he raised prices by around 8% in March.
“We try not to [charge more] because we fight for blankets and guests. It sounds wishful thinking, but we’re worried about the cost pressure on people,” said Mark Derry, executive chairman of Brasserie Bar Co, which operates 18 gastropubs.
Brasserie Bar Co has raised the price of stout, for example, by 3.8% to £5.50 despite its cost rising 8.2%, Derry said.
“If people aren’t going out because it’s too expensive, that’s bad,” said managing director of Mitchells & Butlers pub group Phil Urban.
UK pub groups are hoping the long bank holiday weekend to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee will boost sales, although Derry said the number of street parties could mean more alcohol is sold in supermarkets than in commercials.
The British Beer and Pub Association has estimated that more than 90million pints will be sold in pubs between Thursday and Sunday, totaling £150million in extra sales for the industry.
Additional reporting by Judith Evans and Adam Samson