Rising price of beer making pubs an ‘unaffordable luxury’

Only  15% of UK beer drinkers now think that the price of a pint in the UK is either very or fairly affordable, with the rising price of beer putting the British pub-going tradition at risk of dying out and becoming an “unaffordable luxury”, says CAMRA.

Variety of beers in a pub.

According to CAMRA’s Good Pub Guide, the average price of a pint in the UK has risen by 13p in the past year to £3.60, as inflation pushes prices higher. This year, however, for the the first time in the guide’s 36-year history, London is not the most expensive place to buy beer, having been overtaken by neighbouring Surrey.

This pressure is compounded further by rising business rates, with four in 10 pubs experiencing hikes, according to CAMRA, which has warned that without urgent action thousands of community pubs could be “wiped off the map”.

In some cases, CAMRA estimates that English pubs would need to sell more than 20,000 extra pints of beer every year to cover the rises in their business rates, which will lead many landlords to either put up their prices to make up the cost or close their doors forever.

At the same time, many pub-loving Brits are finding they can only afford to drink at home. A YouGov survey commissioned by CAMRA of 2,076 adults, of which 1,074 were beer drinkers, asked: “In your opinion, is the price of a pint of beer in a pub in the UK affordable or unaffordable, or is it about right?”.

43% said it is “fairly unaffordable” and 7% “very unaffordable”, with 1% believing beer in pubs to be “affordable”. 14% thought it was “fairly affordable” and 25% “about right” – 10% said they did not know.

“All the evidence shows that drinking alcohol in moderation in the company of others is good for people’s wellbeing, yet the opportunity to get together and enjoy a beer is being taken away from swathes of people on lower and middle incomes, who are increasingly viewing a pub pint as an unaffordable luxury,” said Colin Valentine CAMRA’s National Chairman.

“Many landlords are in a tricky situation in that they are forced to either raise their prices or close their doors forever. It is the people on lower incomes will be hit the hardest, and will then choose to drink at home. In addition, thousands of local pubs are at risk of closure, bringing devastating consequences for their local communities.”

Earlier this year, AB InBev’s president for Northern Europe, Jason Warner, said that there would “have to be an increase” in the price of beer as UK inflation rises, speaking to The Telegraph, suggesting that the increasing costs incurred by the company in the UK could soon be passed on to the consumer.

Since August last year, UK inflation has increased by 2% while the Consumer Price Index, which measures changes in the prices of consumer goods and services, has also risen from 0.6% to 2.6% (July 2017.)

Ahead of the November Budget, CAMRA is calling for a permanent £5,000 business rate relief for all pubs in England as well as a freeze, or reduction in, beer duty for the rest of this Parliament.

“To put it simply, pubs are at the point of no return,” said Christo Tofalli, landlord of Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans. “Our pub’s massive 47% increase in business rates is nothing in comparisons to our neighbouring pub, the Boot in St Albans which has seen it’s rates increase of 286%.

“Our message is beginning to gain momentum, and having the might of CAMRA’s 190,000 members behind us is very good news for St Albans pubs. The support from our local community is essential, so please help add your voice to this important campaign.”

CAMRA’s full submission to the Government is available to read in full here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters