The Campaign for Real Ale’s has advised publicans not to add proportionately to the price of halves, which it described as ‘overcharging’.
But Kyle Michael, licensee of The White Swan, Aylesbury, argued that drinking a smaller measure ‘doesn't suddenly halve the costs’.
“I don't charge an excessive difference, about 15p, but the suggestion that it should cost no more is ludicrous,” he said.
CAMRA claimed that adding to the proportional price of a half could be unfairly penalising responsible drinkers, and urged pubs to be transparent with pricing.
But Michael rejects the advice. “Whilst the liquid in the glass costs the same the overheads do not. They cost the same as serving a pint or a spirit,” he continued.
“Wages, licence fees and even simple things like the toilet use and cleaning costs are per head, not per quantity of drink consumed.”
A survey conducted by CAMRA studied pubs that upped the price of a half. CAMRA claimed in some cases pubs charged £2 for half of a £3-a-pint beer.
'Why should beer be different?'
Martin Barnes, George & Dragon, Holmes Chapel said he doesn’t know why the focus is on beer.
“People think there should be a difference between beer to other beverages for some reason,” he said.
“Any other drink served in pubs, restaurant and bars is more expensive per unit the smaller the measure.
“Equally cigarettes are more expensive per unit when purchased in smaller quantities. Why should beer be any different?”
Tony French, licensee of The Greyhound in Charcott, Tonbridge, adds 5p to the price of a half pint.
He said: “I look at it that we give discount for buying a pint. I’ve always charged more for halves and no one ever complains.”
In CAMRA’s research, in the most extreme case one pub added 82.5p to the proportional cost of a half pint, with a half costing £2.95 and a pint costing £4.25.
But nearly half of the pubs opted for a lower increase of between 6p and 20p.
Chief campaigns officer for CAMRA Jonathan Mail said pricing can be confusing for drinkers, and urged transparency.
CAMRA also found that out of 28 pubs studied by volunteers, 60% did not display a price list.