Minimum alcohol pricing

The price is right? Minimum pricing is no panacea for the pub trade

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

The price is right? Minimum pricing is no panacea for the pub trade

Related tags Minimum unit pricing Alcoholic beverage

The news that European judges have ruled Scottish plans to bring in minimum unit pricing for alcohol contrary to European law sounds like a good story for the drinks trade.

But for many pub operators, it’s something of an unwelcome Christmas present. Those who were hoping the steps by the Scottish government would bring the prices in the off-trade more into line with the on-trade will be crying into their pints tonight.

Of course any attempt to bring MUP in would never see the kind of price hike in the off-trade needed to give any kind of parity, given the kind of deals available at the local offie or supermarket.

But in the face of the steep price difference, most publicans would probably welcome a little bit of an increase at the supermarket tills to encourage people to rethink about maybe visiting the pub.

Of course, when you get right down to it, price should not be the main factor for customers visiting the pub – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if you’re competing only on price, then you’re onto a hiding to nothing, and you’re neglecting all the other areas of your business.

People come to the pub for a wide range of reasons, and price is way down the list – people know it costs more to drink at the pub, but they come for the atmosphere, the company, the entertainment, the food, the sparkling wit on the landlord (the list is endless).

How many heaving pubs have you been into lately where your feet stick to the floor, the food is worse than a ready-meal from the no-brand cornershop down the road, but they’re flogging Carling for £2 a pint? Yeah, I’m guessing you’ve not had to fight your way to the bar

Price is important, yes, but people are prepared to pay more for products in the right environments. So get all those other factors right, and you’re less likely to hear people grumbling about the cost.

With Christmas now upon us, this is prime opportunity for us to showcase the great services our hospitality sector can provide, and convert those who would rather drink cheaply at home into the benefits of paying a bit more, but getting so much more for their money down the pub.

I’d like to wish you all a very profitable and fun Christmas, and for those looking to add a little pep to their New Year’s trading, why not check out our Try January campaign?

Related topics Legislation

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