Pubs could be forced to add 10p or more to the price of a pint this year as a combination of wholesale price rises, the VAT hike and duty increases hit home.
The Morning Advertiser (MA) revealed this week wholesale drinks prices from major suppliers will rise up to 7p per pint in January and February, with many citing rising production costs.
A snap survey of 125 licensees on morningadvertiser.co.uk found that just under two-thirds of licensees will increase prices for standard lagers by 6p to 10p per pint this year.
For premium lager, one in five respondents said they plan to increase prices by 11p to 20p per pint.
The British Beer & Pub Association estimated that the VAT rise and duty increases alone would add 6p per pint.
Industry consultant Phil Dixon said: "Licensees would be foolish not to put prices up by 10p.
"However, licensees are anxious about managed house pricings, so it seems that they are waiting to see what the managed houses will do."
Meanwhile, brewers Charles Wells and Brakspear have announced that they will be freezing prices of their own brands for their tenants in 2011.
Rising food prices are also set to affect pubs — the MA has learned that major wholesaler Brakes is adding up to 13% to the cost of many popular food brands in February.
One senior pubco figure said: "It seems the highest hikes are coming from the branded manufacturers."
Record inflation surge
A Brakes spokesman said: "The UK has witnessed an unexpected and record surge in food-price inflation.
"It has been driven by significant rises in the price of globally-traded commodities including wheat, oil and oats.
"This has had a direct impact on the price of manufactured goods, animal feed and many other essential products and ingredients."
However, the price of Brakes own-label products will increase by only 2%.
Wholesaler 3663's commercial director Ian Crawford said: "Food-price inflation is now at a higher level than the previous peak seen in 2008."
Booker is set to hold its prices until 22 March, after which it will be forced to increase prices.
The MA's survey found 34.6% of hosts plan to add up to 50p to meals this year, with 18.7% planning to increase prices between 51p and £1.