Friday, 20 February 2015

Major brewery price increases, are totally unjustified.

Do you ever feel you are being short changed? That something simply does not add up and leaves you flummoxed. Well, after the major brewers announced their 2015 price increases recently, I thought summat certainly doesn't add up here - and it was time for some fearless, investigative journalism!

So, allow me to ascend to my soapbox . Let me, in this quite baffling instance, trumpet the cause for pub goers and licensees alike. As I reveal a few facts and figures, to all you discerning beer quaffers nationally.

In the "big business corner", we have Molson Coors, Carlsberg , Heineken and finally, Diageo, who brew Guinness. This 'gaggle' of major brewers have just announced prices rises ranging from three to four per cent, for their beer. So, I think it's fair to say, that by the time the Pubco's and licensees have made their increases, in order to maintain their profit margin(understandable in the case for licensees). Consumers at the bar, could be facing an increase of up to 10p a pint.

Now hang on a minute here. There appears to be no justification whatsoever for any whopping, inflation( 0.5%) busting price hikes. And the "beer slurper corner" is now going explain why.

Over the last twelve months I have witnessed no increase in the price of gas and electric. The price of a barrel of oil has halved in six months, as fuel at the pump spirals downwards, to a quid a litre(30% drop in six months). I believe inflation is at its lowest figure since records began.

So, for some of the major brewers to blame increased production and running costs, for the price hike, is surely a load of old tosh - the figures simply don't add up.

Also, there has been a bumper harvest of hops and grain in 2014. European hop prices are currently 

stable. And malting barley is now almost half the price it was a few years ago.I believe it's down 7% over the last twelve months.

 Crikey, all things considered above, I'm beginning to believe that the annual price rise is a traditional announcement , amongst the 'big boys' of UK brewing. It certainly appears so, as the present economic climate, in relation to brewing, does not justify a price increase. Don't you agree?

I speak to many licensees in the trade, on my beery travels. Undoubtably, they are hardworking, honourable and honest in their opinions - salt of the earth. One such licensee in the Ribble Valley said : "There is no justification whatsoever for any increase. Operating costs have gone down over the last twelve months." Well, I couldn't argue with those sentiments - and he has my sympathy, as more price increases, will probably lead to more publicans going out of business.

Of course, there is likely be another cut in beer duty, in the forthcoming budget - as it's General Election year. Wow! Another penny off duty? But, will it make any difference? I think not. In fact, 

has the previous two, in 2013 and 2014, made the beleaguered licensee, or the long suffering customer, jump for joy and scream, "Alleluia, praise the Chancellor." Let's be honest, it had no effect on our pockets. It was just like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Apologies, I digress.

In conclusion, don't you agree, that the major brewers have no valid reason for increasing the price of your beverage - in all likelihood by about 10p a pint. It's a most cynical and below-the-belt act of decision making, in my opinion. They have shown utter contempt for both licensees and customers alike. Hopefully, some of the regional, family and micro brewers, who presently, have not announced their intentions, will exercise more understanding - and not follow suit.