Tax Equality

Pints for as low as 79p available in supermarkets adding pressure to pubs

By Robert Mann

- Last updated on GMT

Un-beer-lievable: Britain’s drinkers abandon pints in the pub – and opt for cheap supermarket beer at home
Un-beer-lievable: Britain’s drinkers abandon pints in the pub – and opt for cheap supermarket beer at home
According to research by The Morning Advertiser, pints for as low as 79p are being sold in supermarkets making it impossible for pubs to compete with.

Our pubs are the heart and soul of our society and culture, yet figures show that as many as 29 are being closed down every week as they fight a losing battle competing against supermarkets selling cheap beer at slashed prices.

Hugely undercutting prices that pubs can offer, supermarket giants across the UK have constant offers, selling crates of beer and bottles at rock-bottom prices.

Cheaper alternative

Last weekend, Asda and Sainsbury’s was selling cases containing 18 x 440ml cans of Kronenbourg for £15, equivalent to £1.08 per pint, while Tesco was selling a cheaper alternative multipack of 18 x 440ml cans of Carling for just £11, equivalent to 79p per pint.

The pressure on pubs means that competing with this strategy would mean commercial suicide.

Licensees have claimed the cheap supermarket deals will cripple pub trade in the lead up to the festive period. 

But the difference in price compared with pubs is plain to see as pubs, on average, will sell a standard pint of beer for around £3.26.

According to new research, the majority of British people could be struggling to afford drinking beers in pubs.

A survey by YouGov found that more than half (56%) of the 2,070 respondents said the price of a beer in a UK pub is not affordable.

Sales of beer in pubs are now at their lowest levels since the great depression of the 1930s, as consumers cut back on visits to their local.

Budget impact

Set to announce his 2018 Autumn Budget on 29 October, Chancellor Philip Hammond plans to increase beer duty to 3.5% which will add 4p to the cost of a pint, with MPs warning that the increase could drive people away from pubs.

Their message to the chancellor is to use the budget next week to give struggling pubs a lifeline by cutting beer duty.

The backbenchers have warned Mr Hammond that if the tax increases, more pubs will close and 3,000 jobs across the trade will be at risk.

They also warned it will drive even more people from pubs and increase the trend of people drinking at home.

Authentic atmosphere

British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds believes there's nothing better than enjoying beer in a pub with an authentic atmosphere.

“When it comes to enjoying a great beer, supermarkets can’t match the welcoming atmosphere that makes the pub so special,” she said.

“The price of a pint in a pub, however, is significantly higher than beer bought in supermarkets.

"This is because of the higher running costs for a pub, the fantastic level of service they provide and the fact that the vast majority are run as small businesses.  

“As a result of this, pubs have had to adjust to ensure that they offer an experience that consumers could not get at home, hence the transition towards more food and entertainment-led establishments, and the growing trend to create a space that is not just for drinking alcohol, but for a wide-range of occasions for a variety of consumers.”

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