Sunday, 31 March 2013

IS AN IMBALANCE IN BEER PRICING JUSTIFIED?

SORRY! AINT MUCH I CAN DO ABOUT IT!
It often frustrates me when I walk into a boozer and I am faced with differing beer prices.

I am talking about similar beers, and ales of pretty much,equal strength(between 3.8 and 4.5%). Not a lager price, as opposed to an ale price. Simply, a beer from one brewer and one from another.

Let me give you an example: Four real ales on the bar in a 'free of the tie' pub. Two ales from a local microbrewery, priced at £2.40 a pint. Another ale is priced at £2.50. Surprise, surprise, the beer from a well known. local family brewer, is £2.90!

OK, I appreciate the smaller brewer will be receiving some tax breaks. But, a 50p a pint mark up?

It's always the same situation with a couple more 'locally,well established brewers'. I don't mind paying a 10 or 20p hike. But surely you must agree, paying a premium of over 20%, is excessive and not justified,.

I once had a difference of opinion with a MD of a large, local family, brewer, who was having 'a pop' at me for highlighting their 'expensive beer' in an article I had done.

He bleated: "You have to appreciate that we use only the finest ingredients. And this is reflected in our pricing."

Gulp! Sharp intake of breath here. Err,"I am led to believe that microbreweries use the finest ingredients too."

 Talk about a patronising, condescending, unjustified and skewed comment!

Another example, is when I ask a pub owner why  certain brews are never available.The answer is always the same. "Their prices are too expensive and my customers would not accept the 'mark up' I would have to apply". Or words to that effect!

I reckon there are only slightly mitigating circumstances here, for the price increase.(I am a fair minded geezer!) And that is, the 'expensive' beers in question are always excellent ales. However, just feel a little mugged, when there are similar quality beers, 50p cheaper!    

Alas, I fear the 'roller coaster ' pricing on some of our bars will continue. Up we go, £2.90 a pint up this end of the bar, descending thankfully, to a £2.40 pint at the mid-point. Crikey! The roller coaster has hit the high point at t'other end. It's over three quid a pint here, boss!       

In conclusion, I do appreciate that there are price fluctuations up and down the country. Prices mentioned, are what I would expect to pay, here up north. 

I am sure you realise, it was the percentage mark up on similar quality beers, that was the subject in question.