The credit crunch could squeeze annual pay rises for thousands of pubco and brewery staff in 2009.
Shrinking volumes and reduced profit margins look set to limit awards or even freeze pay levels across the sector.
Many companies are not due to begin their annual pay review until later in the year, but already the bleak economic outlook looks destined to severely restrict salary rises.
Few operators were prepared to reveal details of pay rises already awarded.
Only West Country brewer and pub operator St Austell and Burnley independent Moorhouse's were willing to reveal the size of awards, with both companies handing out average rises of 3% for 2009.
Others said pay and salaries were a private matter between employee and company and refused to reveal any details.
Other companies said their pay reviews were not scheduled until well into the new year and gave no hint whether staff could expect a rise or not.
St Austell said its 3% rise was effective from 1 December 2008, but the increase applied only to head-office staff and not pub managers where the performance of each house was evaluated on an individual basis.
Moorhouse's said its rise reflected a successful year for the company, which had seen beer volumes grow significantly.
• What is your company awarding in pay rises? Call Tony Halstead on 01282 842939 or email email@example.com.