London ends 36-year streak as UK’s priciest place for a pint

For the first time since it began its annual survey 36 years ago, The Good Pub Guide has revealed that London is no longer the most expensive place to buy beer, having been surpassed by neighbouring Surrey.

Surrey, one of the southern home counties, has become the UK’s most expensive area to buy a beer, with an average pint now costing £4.40, according to research conducted by The Good Pub Guide. London, which had topped the list in all of the guide’s previous surveys, is now the second priciest region, with an average of £4.20 a pint.

Other expensive areas included Sussex (£3.82 a pint), Hertfordshire (£3.81) and the Scottish Islands (£3.80).

This comes after a London bar recently defended its decision to sell a £13.40 pint citing, among many reasons, the high overheads and rent costs that often plague businesses in the capital.

At the other end of the scale, the cheapest pints of beer can be purchased in Yorkshire and Herefordshire for an average of £3.31 per pint. This means that the pint price difference across the country has now extended to over £1.

Other counties with more affordable pints included Shropshire (£3.33 a pint), Derbyshire (£3.36), Cumbria (£3.38) and Worcestershire (£3.38).

Across the whole of Britain, the price of a pint has increased by a 13p in the past year to £3.60. Pubs that brew their own brands typically sold beer at less than the national average, equating to £3.09 a pint.

Editor of the Good Pub Guide, Fiona Stapley, told the Guardian: “We’re not sure why this has happened, but Surrey is so affluent.”

“It may be that we have quite a lot of little local pubs in the guide that are London locals and they’re not as expensive as some of the big pubs [in the capital] that young people go to”.

The guide’s research also showed that an increasing numbers of pubs are offering accommodation, food and outside catering services – an element picked up in CGA’s recent study on alcohol spending habits in the UK.

Pubs have also branched out and some contain delis offering local produce and take-away meals, while others hire rooms out for book clubs, live music or conferences, said the guide.

Stapley, added: “You name it and pubs have thought of it. It’s this entrepreneurial spirit that will keep pubs alive and kicking for years to come, despite all the doom and gloom around.”

Stapley referred to the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond’s decision to increase beer duty for the first time in five years in line with inflation, as a “huge blow” for pub customers.

Continuing, she said: “The worry here is that as pub goers are hit hard in their pockets, trade will suffer and pub closures will continue – at the moment the average rate of pub closures is 21 a week.”

“There are also increases right across the food and drink industry that include higher wage bills as a result of the national living wage increase last year, rocketing business rates, higher costs of raw materials, and inflation due to the depreciation of sterling as a result of Brexit.”

”All these factors impose a significant additional burden to licensees and while they do try to absorb some of these increases themselves but they can’t cover the whole cost. This therefore means that some of the cost of these increases are passed onto pub customers”.

To find out how these prices compare to other countries, please click here.

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