Wednesday, 18 April 2012

How Much Is It Then?

Beer in the pub is becoming expensive. Anyone disagree? Of course some do. They'll tell you this simple drink should command a top dollar price, but most of us just like an ordinary decent pint at a price we feel is value. 

But what does a pint cost in these inflationary and recessionary times? Goodness knows. Even here in cheap old Manchester, it can be anything from a couple of quid, to double that.  My local, a Lees Tied House) now charges £2.60 for Lees Bitter and it was noticeable to me and to others on Saturday when we toured Saddleworth - an affluent part of my CAMRA empire - that it was the free houses that were cheapest, the PubCo houses the dearest and the Family Brewer's pubs somewhere in between.  I worry about that for Family Brewers - neither fish nor fowl.  No great ranges to attract customers in most cases and no financial advantage for them either.  A double whammy if ever there was one.

So while I'm in London for the next few days, I'm going to note down what I pay for each pint (if I can remember).  Let's see how the big metrollops compares.

And if you fancy joining in, why not record here what you pay for your pint wherever you drink it.  Let's see what we are paying. Pints only please and say what and where.

Also, if you are joining in, please tell us if there was any indication of price, clearly visible to you,  before your purchase.


Publican Sam said...

Harvest Pale (Castle Rock) Nottingham, £2.80 17/4/12

Erlangernick said...

Note down what you pay for each pint....with pen and paper? I'd like to see that. Be sure to save room in your anorak for sparklers and the thermometer!

Meer For Beer said...

3.60 in my local McMullens pub but anything from 2.90 to 6.00 in London.

Tandleman said...

Nick. Most of my readers are Brits and very clever peeps. They will usually just note it mentally I'd suggest.

The pen and paper was your suggestion. Not mine.

Barry M said...

I have to use pen and paper. My memory isn't what it used to be

It's funny, I never note the price here in Germany, even mentally. Maybe I should start... :)

beersiveknown said...

£3.50 WEST st mungo lager, at the brewery

1.85 (1.35 with discount) Titanic Bridge House Belfast (Wetherspoon)

3.90 Belfast Ale John Hewitt (free house)

£4.20 Punk IPA Hudson's Bar (free of tie)

Curmudgeon said...

Holts Bitter, £2.19, Griffin, Heaton Mersey.

Various guest ales, £2.10, Spoons' Gateway just down the road.

Robinson's Hatters Mild, £2.60, Blossoms, Stockport.

Batham's Best Bitter, £2.80, Great Western, Wolverhampton (the Holden's beers are, I think, quite a bit cheaper)

Tandleman said...

Germany would be a separate project I think, Barry. Keep them coming folks.

Tandleman said...

PS. Don't forget the price list bit.

Tyson said...

Mr Lawton told me yesterday that Sam Smiths is now £1.80 in his neck of the woods. He fears the onset of the £2 pint.

Erlangernick said...

Doesn't there *have* to be a clear price list, by law?

AFA German prices go, that best-of-all(?)-German-beers, Roppelt's Kellerbier, costs €3.70 this season instead of the €3.50 it had been since the big hops price hike of '07 or '08. €1.90 per half (litre).

I realise now that I utterly failed to keep track of prices whilst in Leeds & Manc last month. That one North Bar place wasn't cheap, this much I remember. Nor was the Dada in Sheff.

Cooking Lager said...

It’s an odd one pricing and what is considered value. It depends of a number of things, personal wealth, the utility you place on it all combined with a sense of how much it should cost based on what it used to cost and what it costs elsewhere. The longer historical perception does make for older drinkers being the ones most likely to moan about prices.

Pub prices have been more inflationary than other prices and have increased by far more than other things in the time I’ve been drinking. I don’t think you can blame the guy that used to go down his local but now does so less frequently. Most people have more important concerns than pubs. Pubs have become poor value for everyday drinking. A higher utility is placed on a night out or by beer enthusiasts and CAMRA types.

Comparing prices on my travels I find it less of an issue. The price of a halb in Deutschland not being that relevant as I’m only there for a few days and not faced with that every day. So I might not moan about €4 Euros in the same way as £4 would make me grimace. I make a point of never visiting London on principle. It was a shit hole when I lived there and I don’t expect it has improved any by my absence. Other countries have wonderful capital cities worth experiencing, we have a shithole we mug Americans with.

It’s interesting to see ale drinkers in the north moan about £3 pints. Lager has been north of that for years.I don’t think pub prices are getting expensive. They got expensive a good few years ago.

MusicRab said...

It will come as no surprise to you that you will be paying megabucks in The Old Smoke (apart from the free samples of @WeirdBeard_Brew at The Rake :-)
The question will be are punters being ripped off as a result of the current craft beer explosion or is this something to be savoured?

Curmudgeon said...

Spoons display the prices on the pumpclips. The other pubs AFAIK have conventional price lists on display somewhere but no obvious indication of price at point of purchase (which is pretty standard).

I've not been in a Sam Smith's pub since the Budget.

Bailey said...

As an aside, to what extent is a sense of the relative expensiveness of beer countered by the corresponding collapse in the price of, say, consumer electronics? The price of a pint might seem to have rocketed, but then I can buy a passable digital camera for less than £50 (best part of a grand in 1999?); and a DVD player for £15 (VHS machine in the early eighties was c.£500).

Do we need to think about beer as part of an 'average basket' to get a real sense of whether it's becoming unaffordable?

But, anyway:

The Dock Inn, PZ -- Spingo and other ales £3.20 a pint. (Discreet price list.)
The Crown Inn, PZ -- own-brand beers £2.50 a pint. (No price list I've spotted.)
The Star Inn, Crowlas -- Potion 9 £2.60 a pint. (Flipping great big blackboard with prices.)
Jenning's Lakeland Stunner, central Exeter Marston's pub -- £3.20 pint. (Couldn't see a price list.)

Tandleman said...

Bailey: You may well be right about the wider picture, but I just want to find out how much. I thought it might be interesting.

Erlangernick said...

Tand. I was wondering if *you* would be bringing along pen and notepad.

Cooking Lager said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cooking Lager said...

A TV, a camera are things bought occasionally. A loaf of bread, a can of beans, a big mac and fries is more relevant to compare the relative affordability of a pint to. A pint feels expensive because it’s now pence cheaper than a big mac meal. It used to be less than half the price. It is 3 times the price of a loaf of bread; it used to be twice the price. In all manner of everyday items, a pint is expensive compared to what it used to be. The cost of a TV I might buy once a decade is neither here nor there. You may place a high utility on it and the pub experience, and think it worth its current price, but it has become more expensive than it was.

As for Spoons price clarity, the question to ask is whether this as important a factor as the low prices. Many beer geek pubs with higher prices appear popular and also have price clarity. Where once you had a drinking culture where all prices were within the same range, there is now wide variation. Pubs which have a piece of A4 in a hard to see place may be following the letter of the law, but not the spirit, but more importantly I think the modern customer is less tolerant of such things than they used to be. They don’t like asking for things not knowing the price.

For those that don’t eat Big Macs, see the Big Mac Index,

Matt said...

Holt's bitter £2.02 a pint in Eccles (The Lamb and The Grapes) but gone up to £2.66 in their other pubs.

Anonymous said...

17/4.Kernel - Saison 5.2% (keg) 3.00/half Rake,SE1. Kernel - Indian Double Porter 7.5% (keg) 3.00/half Rake. (No price list).
Brew Wharf - Pecan Brown 5.2% 3.60/pint with 40p CAMRA discount. Brew Wharf,SE1 (No price list).
Ilkley - Mary Jane 3.5% 2.45/pint JJ Moons, Ruislip Manor HA4 (No price list).Moleha4.

Anonymous said...

16/4. Arbor/Steel City DCLXVI 6.67%4.60/pint CASK,Pimlico,SW1 (small b/board on bar top displaying price bands by O.G for cask beers. Evil Twin (DK)-Hop Flood 7.0% (keg) 3.95/half.Cask,SW1 Price of font. Molen (NL) Licht & Lustig 5.2% (keg)2.60/half. Euston Tap,NW1Price on wall mounted blackboard. Great Western - Maiden Voyage 4.0% 2.45/pint JJ Moons, Ruislip Manor, HA4.No price displayed. MoleHA4.

tankard said...

14/4 £1.90 for halfpint WJ King - Brighton Blonde 3.9% at The Lamb, Brighton Rd, Surbiton local PoTY 2012 - for an under 4% ABV beer that's more expensive than many places in London.

Anonymous said...

15/4 (well you did ask!). Meantime - Bohemian Amber 4.8% (keg) 2.40/half Old Brewery, Greenwich,SE10 (No price list). Skinners - Cornish Trawler 3.8% 3.70/pint Gypsy Moth,Greenwich,SE10(no price list). Geltsdale - Hell Beck 4.2% 3.60/pint Market Porter,SE1 (no price list). To clarify, since Jan 2011 I've tried keeping a record of all money spent on beer including fares, takeaways etc from a "when can I afford to retire?" viewpoint. Doubtless not a totally accurate record, but unless I take the pledge, as far as retirement is concerned,not until I'm forced to! MoleHA4,

Dave Unpronounceable said...

a cross-section of Sheffield prices...

Sheffield Tap being probably the dearest pub (still probably cheaper than some designer 'bars')

£3 a half Nogne O Porter (ironically probably cheaper than in its local environs!)
£2.70 I think for a pint of Pivni 3.2%
£3.50? Jaipur cask
£4.20? Jaipur keg

Rutland Arms (city centre-ish)

£3.66 DCLXVI 6.66%
£2.60 Foxfield Something Else 3.5%

Cask & Cutler/Wellington, Shalesmoor

£2.20 Little Ale CArt 'Cheap 5H1T' 4.0%
£2.30 LAC 'Medium 5H1T' 4.3%
£2.60? 'Heavy 5H1T' 5.0%
guests £2.20 to £2.90

so with the exception of a couple of pubs with eye-watering rents/rates etc, still well under £3 for all but the unusually strong stuff

Dave Unpronounceable said...

oh, and most of the pubs here have a blackboard listing the beers and their prices, though the Tap doesn't always have prices on display for the Foreign Muck (though owt expensive usually invokes a warning on ordering 'you do know that's £x a half?')

Anonymous said...

My final comment. Only other pubs visited so far in April have been Falcon,Clapham Junction,SW11 Summer Wine - Barista Expresso Stout 4.8% 3.55/pint (no price list) and Carpenters Arms,Seymour Place,W1 Wychwood - Paddy's Stout 4.3% 3.60/pint (no price list). I personally feel more price conscious when I spend 3.60 / 3.70 pint on a beer that is drinkable but not especially good whereas I would gladly have supped more of the £4.60 Arbor / Steel City collaboration had the barrel not run out. Cheers, MoleHA4.

Neville Grundy said...

In the Guest House, Southport:
1 beer at £2.50.
Most at £2.70 or £2.80.
5%+ beers at £3.05.

The cheapest beer I've come across recently in this town is a 2.8% Tolly Cobbold (i.e. Greene King) beer at £1.29. Imagine what well-hopped water might taste like.

Unknown said...

I hope when you visit London you take into account the massively increased rent and wage bills (not forgetting that salaries in London are weighted of course) compared to those up North.

Stono said...

hopefully the London pub trail itself will be form a future blog :) but keep in mind prices in london can vary hugely IME, by that I mean you can visit 3 different pubs often in the same street, so competing with each other youd think, and yet pay anything between £2.90 (the mininum certainly thesedays exc wetherspoons) to £3.90 or more, and thats for a standard pint of bitter, the £3.90 was a pint of London Pride IIRC in a Fullers pub, its not rare obscure micro brewers or international stuff, or even always a tourist trap effect, there seems no rhyme or reason to it that Ive worked out yet and the cheapest place isnt always the most popular. But I always budget when visiting central London certainly to pay on average £3.50 a pint thesedays

and that isnt actually out of step with other beer prices in much of the South either, London isnt overcharging because its London, prices in my locality freehouses are struggling to keep below £3.00 now, family brewers happily charge £3.50+, larger chains arent much better and Wetherspoons somehow gets by on about £2.00 still. though theyve started creeping up too during the recent beer festival I was drinking halves and it was more like £1.03. (so ~2.05 2.06)

Anonymous said...

17th at Edinburgh,s newest craft bar Southerns
kernal-export stout 7.1 £4.50
fyne -davaar black ipa £3.95
luckies-midnicht mild 5.0 £3.95

tom mann said...

You can't compare beer to electronics. Aside from economies of scale, technology companies need to recoup their r&d costs. Once these have been paid back by customers, the only cost is the manufacturing costs, hence why technology is expensive when new and then falls.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

With current exchange rates, an Imperial in Oregon is between £3.10 and £3.75.

wee beefy said...

12/4/12 Henrys Bar Sheffield
Oldershaw Alchemy £2.80
earlier in year - Bacchus strawbeery beer £5.50 a pint - and no price list!

Bee Hive Shefield - Blue Bee Beehive Bitter £1.99 a pint, £1.40 a half (couldn't see a price list, advert forgot to mention half price)

8/4/12 - Countryman, Ingoldmells
Leila Cottage Lazy Days £2.30 a pint, blackboard with all prices on.

Seems the the less customer friendly prices aren't readily displayed in some pubs.

Tandleman said...

Keep them coming folks. Only two pints yesterday for me. £3.40 in the Euston Tap (two halves averaged). £2.85 for a pint in JDW Goodmans Field.

ET - Very reasonable I think and prices clearly displayed. JDW the same.

This isn't a go at London though. The more wider the responses the better.

Matt said...

I think what bothers most drinkers is not just paying more for beer but paying more for averagely-kept beer.

Erlangernick said...

I've found a few mobile photos from my visits to Huddersfield and wherever the Riverhead brewpub is last October, during the SIBA do.

6 house ales between £2.40 & £2.80, 3.6% - 5.5%
Osset Pale Gold £2.40
Silver King £2.55
Fullers London Pride £2.80
Goffs Jouster £2.55

Head of Steam, Huddersfield
Black Sheep £2.65
Golden Pippin £2.69
Coach House Blueberry £3.15
Dark Star Hylder Blonde £2.98
Black Sheep Emmerdale £2.89
Wylam Gold Tankard £2.79
Wylam Heddon Light £2.35
Bitter & Twisted £2.65
Dark Star Old Chestnut £2.89
Partners ??? £2.70

The Grove, Huddersfield
Taylor £2.70
Golden Best £2.50
Jaipur £2.90
Seafarers £2.50
Gadd's Doppelhop £3.00
Durham Magus £2.50
Marble Manc £2.60
Buxton Black Rocks £2.90
Dark Star Winter Meltdown £2.70
Rapture £2.70
Green Jack Excelsior £2.50
Brodie's Prime £2.70
Moor Old Freddy Walker (?) £3.30
Tirril Pennine Pils £2.60
Quantum Super Alpha £2.90
Gadds Dogbolter £2.90
Quantum Kiwi Session £2.50

Didn't take any photos at the King's Head, nor should anyone drink their cask beer, with the slops being run back through the pump over and over and over again, making it tinny and dead. And barkeep-fingertip-y.

JonathanG said...

Cask, Liverpool Road, M/cr

All cask ales £3 a pint.

Curmudgeon said...

£1.80 for Sam Smith's OBB in the Vine at Dunham Woodhouses. Up from £1.66 before the Budget - that's two brewery price increases within 6 months over and above duty.

Cooking Lager said...

When the Sam Smiths goes above 2 quid, I'm taking the pledge.

I can't be the only one fascinated by the responses to this. Not only the prices but where and what beer bloggers neck.

Bailey said...

My point re: the price of other consumer products such as electricals was that, as they get relatively cheaper, people have more disposable income. To take another example, the Primark/GEORGE at ASDA effect means that clothes are now massively cheaper than they were when I was a kid. My school trousers and shoes used to bankrupt my parents; they're now about half the price, without even adjusting for inflation. That leaves more money in people's pockets for beer, restaurant meals (people eat out loads more now than they used to) and other such luxuries.

(Is beer a luxury or a staple? Now there's a question. Probably the last thing to go in some people's household budgets, including ours.)

Curmudgeon said...

Yes, living standards have risen and people (on average) have more disposable income. But, if one thing gets more expensive relative to others, then it stands to reason people will end up buying less of it.

In any case, the issue with beer is not so much that people are drinking dramatically less of it overall, but that they are drinking much less of it in pubs and bars. And there are many other reasons for that beyond relative price movements.

Coxy said...

Do you ever go to the Sloaney Pony (white Horse) one of my regular haunts, I just throw money at them and dare not look at the change. Jaipur on keg is well over a fiver,and some of the strong casks come with a mortgage plan. The regular £5 pint in London is coming soon I fear.

Anonymous said...

9th april white horse sw6
thornebridge-jaipur £5.80
magic rock-8 ball £6.75

same night
euston tap
jaipur £3.60
8 ball £5.00
all beers on keg(craft keg obviously)

Erlangernick said...

Are there now both "craft" and non-"craft" versions of keg Jaipur?

This Yank still can't get his pea-brain around the idea of a keg version of a given beer being more expensive than the cask. You "island monkeys" sure live in a Bizarro world. (disagree with the "derogatory" bit though!)

dave u said...

Nick - in the case of Thornbridge, it's cos they use keykegs, so build the cost of the container into the cost. I'm told they charge the same for a 30l keg as a 41l (i.e. 9 gal) cask, thus to recover the cost the pub has 3/4 as much beer for the same cost so charges 4/3 as much per pint

why people use keykegs for local deliveries is beyond me - pay 12 quid for summat you're gonna throw away, or 35 quid for an everlasting keg...

Curmudgeon said...

Historically, ever since they were introduced, keg ales have been more expensive than cask ones in British pubs. The same is still true in pubs that sell "smooth" alongside "cask". You are - presumably - paying a premium for a more reliable product.

David (OthertonAleman) said...

Also in the Post Office Vaults, Milestone Maid Marion, £3.10

Matt said...

"You are - presumably - paying a premium for a more reliable product."

You're also paying to support an expensive advertising budget.

Curmudgeon said...

Some prices from last night in Edgeley, one of the less well-off parts of Stockport:

Olde Woolpack - Pennine Real Blonde (4.0%) £2.40

Alexandra - Hartleys XB and Robinsons Unicorn both £2.50 (prices prominently displayed on a "featured cask ales" board)

Royal Oak - Holts Bitter £1.95 (but £1.05 for a half)

Prince Albert - Greene King IPA £1.80

Sir Robert Peel - Marstons Pedigree £2.10

Armoury - Robinsons Dizzy Blonde £2.50

Olde Vic - Hawkshead Lakeland Gold and Dark Star Six Hop Ale (6.5%) both £2.60

And no, I didn't have a pint of each :p

Tandleman said...

That would have been a good session. Here in London it seems to vary from £3.10 to £4.20, with most being around the £3.60 mark. I get a feeling that they are trying to avoid £4 where they can.

Mark said...

Royal Exchange, Stourbridge
Batham's Best Bitter £2.50
Batham's Mild £2.25

Price list displayed immediately adjacent to bar

Anonymous said...

4.80 Jaipur keg, the bar, chorlton Manchester.

Interesting about the key keg. I thought they were just putting an over inflated mark up on the beer. Don't under why a pub would order a more expensive keg over the cask.

Erlangernick said...

IIRC, Dizzy Blonde is one beer from Robbies that I've really liked, back when it was new(?) 2-3 years ago. Aside from Old Tom, of course.

Ian said...

As a follow-up in terms of London prices, the William IV in Leyton (Brodies beers) will be putting up its prices from £1.99 to a likely £2.35 a pint this week. According to the manager, some of the stronger beers could switch to keg only at about £3.20 (about what they charge for say Carlsburg). Prices have been held for 3 years, so people can live with the basic increase (Wetherspoon in Leytonstone is now £2.39) but the loss of some good beers to keg will not be welcome.

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Tim said...

Beer in the UK is still annoyingly cheap compared to Australia. By the way,I'm back.