Star responds to claims it urged licensees to push prices

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

National brews: nationwide news publications reported Heineken pub arm Star Pubs & Bars suggested operators raise their price by 40p (image: Getty/Odairson Antonello)
National brews: nationwide news publications reported Heineken pub arm Star Pubs & Bars suggested operators raise their price by 40p (image: Getty/Odairson Antonello)

Related tags: Star pubs & bars, Pubco + head office, Tenanted + leased, Beer

Pubco Star Pubs & Bars has responded to reports it suggested lessees and tenants increase their prices amid reopening for outdoor areas this month.

The Morning Advertiser ​(MA​) understands the pub company information that was sent to its licensees mentioned that operators should consider reviewing their prices.

The MA ​also learnt the communication cited research from CGA, which suggested most customers were prepared to pay more for a pint of beer.

Heineken was one of a number of brewers which announced its annual price rise​, which usually takes place in January, was being deferred to this month (April).

surveys 

Survey

Have you increased your prices?

  • Yes

    58%
  • No and no plans to

    24%
  • No but am planning to

    18%

At the time, The MA ​​learnt, Heineken was increasing prices on draught products from April with rises ranging from 2.8% to 4.5%.

Difficult trading period

Heineken UK on-trade director Stephen Watt said: “Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been to help pubs and bars through the most difficult trading period in generations and get them back on their feet, serve communities and be viable once again.

“It’s been a challenging time for the industry, but we have supported customers by absorbing costs related to restocking and maintaining workable cellars, investing in practical support and creating safe environments, while also offering a number of deferred or cancelled payments.

“With the dispensing of the vaccines, we anticipate pubs, bars and restaurants will be able to start to return to more normalised trading levels during the second quarter."

"As part of our annual review of prices, we are therefore informing customers of our intention to increase prices on draught beer and cider."

Advice to help

Watt added: “We acknowledge however, that in the early part of the year, trading is likely to remain suppressed and so have decided to defer the implementation of any increase to 1 April 2021. In addition, we will not increase prices on packaged products.

“We will continue to work with our customers and support them as trading resumes.”

National newspapers including The​ Daily Mail ​reported Heineken suggested licensees up their prices of 10%, meaning some beers would cost 40p more for customers.

A Star Pubs & Bars spokesperson said: “It’s not up to us to dictate pricing in our pubs, it’s up to individual pub landlords and our advice is there to help them.

“We know from research, people are prepared to pay a bit more for a pint and are looking forward to getting back to the pub with their friends and family."

Related topics: Star Pubs & Bars

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