Marston’s increases pint prices, Joule’s holds fire

By Gary Lloyd contact

- Last updated on GMT

Hike or wait: some operators have already hiked pint prices up while others are working out the best way to deal with costs (Credit: Getty/miodrag ignjatovic)
Hike or wait: some operators have already hiked pint prices up while others are working out the best way to deal with costs (Credit: Getty/miodrag ignjatovic)

Related tags: Finance, Social responsibility, Multi-site pub operators, Pubco + head office, Tenanted + leased

Brewer and pub operator Marston’s has raised it pint prices by between 20p and 45p as economic headwinds hit the sector.

Marston’s is not alone in raising prices as business face not only face increased energy bills and rising delivery costs as petrol and diesel prices soar upwards but also raw ingredient costs such as malting barley, which has more than doubled in the past year.

A spokesman for Marston’s added: “The price increase is a direct impact of the soaring energy prices and operating costs as being experienced by all businesses and households across the country.”

As competitive as possible

JD Wetherspoon has also put costs up. Spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “Occasionally, Wetherspoon does increase the price of its drinks. We always aim to keep our prices as competitive as possible.

“Prices on drinks in the majority of our pubs have increased by an average 10p from Tuesday 1 March, with an increase of 20p in pubs in and around London.

“This represents an average 2% increase in the majority of Wetherspoon pubs and 4% in pubs in and around London. We believe that our drinks offer still represents great value-for money.”

Between a rock and a hard place

However, Shropshire-based brewer and pub operator Joule’s Brewery has not decided whether it will pass on costs or absorb them.

Managing director Steve Nuttall said: “We’re between a rock and a hard place. We’ve obviously got a lot of inflation in terms of costs such as utilities but that also applies to our franchisees. So where we’re at is just trying to think about how to respond to that.

“One school of thought is that we’re going to have to try to absorb quite a lot of those costs. Tim [Martin] at Wetherspoon has talked about the advantages that supermarkets have over the on-trade so the danger we have is if we just try to pass on costs it makes it less attractive for people to go out – and we’re trying to get them to come back to the pub after the pandemic.

“But how do we absorb the extra costs? It’s a real dilemma for the on-trade as a whole.

“I suspect many operators are wrestling with the same fundamental dilemma of what we’re they are going to do as well. Molson Coors have put their prices up to us and we haven’t passed that on. I think there’s quite a few people just holding on to work out how to meet that challenge.”

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