Pint in London now costs £9

A bar in London’s West End is now selling a normal pint of draught beer for £9, according to reports.

The Sun reported that the cost of a pint in the centre of London has now doubled within the past 15 years, with industry data analysts CGA stating the soaring prices are not limited to exclusive super-strong or exotic craft beers, but are becoming standard rates for draught pints across the UK.

The news follows concern about the price of beer and other alcoholic drinks – which have also seen a new duty regime implemented – with owner of JD Wetherspoons, Tim Martin, warning drinkers that £8 pints and even £10 pints could become normal, although he said that he would try to keep prices down in his own pubs. In March, he warned that the pub chain was battling “ferocious” inflationary pressures, as part of his Chairman’s Statement.

But the disparity of cost across Britain has also been highlighted with the most affordable pint costing just £1.85 in Hyde, Greater Manchester.

It comes as the price has risen from an average of £2.30 for a pint in 2008 to £4.30 currently. It also illustrates other cost pressures beyond inflation, as if it has remained purely in line with other consumer goods across the past 15 years, the average price would now be £3.55.

Nik Antona of the Campaign for Real Ale said breweries and pubs were facing a “huge burden” due to escalating costs.

It comes as breweries, distillers and wineries have faced an unprecedented storm of price of production increases from energy, raw materials and logistics. The founder of the recently saved Brick Brewery, Ian Stewart, warned that more brewers and pubs would go to the wall without additional support or a change in market conditions.

Some brewers are ‘watering down’ their core brands in order to reduce their tax burden and keep prices the same for the consumer, it has also been reported. It was discovered that various beers including Heineken’s brand Foster’s, Greene King’s Old Speckled Hen, and Shepherd Neame’s Bishop Finger and Spitfire, have all seen reductions in their ABV recently, in order to save on the cost of alcohol duty, and  subsequently offset the cost of rising prices of production.

Foster’s had reduced from 4 to 3.7% ABV, saving 3p per bottle on duty, Old Speckled Hen had reduced from 5 to 4.8%, saving 2p, Bishops Finger from 5.4% to 5.2%, saving 2p, and Spitfire was reduced from 4.5% to 4.2%, saving 3p per bottle. Carlsberg has also recently announced it will be following suit and reduce the ABV on its flagship lager to  3.4%.

Research fellow at the University of Sheffield, Colin Angus, said if every brewery cut alcohol by just 0.3%, they would collectively save around £250 million on duty payments to the Government.

This article was originally published by the drinks business and has been shared with permission.

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