The cost of a pint of beer has risen steadily over the years. In 2008, the average price for a pint of draught lager was £2.30 however this increased by almost 72% to £3.95 in 2022.
This is only likely to increase further, with the average cost of a pint of draught lager increasing by 11.8% in the year to February 2023 according to the latest data from the Office For National Statistics (ONS). A snap poll by the Morning Advertiser also revealed that almost a third (30%) of operators have increased beer prices by more than 5% during the past six months.
From 2021 to 2022, the price rose by 15p – one of the largest increases since 2008. However, in 2012 and 2013, the average cost also rose by 15p (from £2.59 in 2011 to £2.79 in 2012 and then to £2.89 in 2013).
According to CGA, predictably the most expensive pint is in London while the cheapest is in the north-west, specifically Lancashire, with prices at £8.06 and £1.79 respectively.
Cost of a pint in London
The price of a pint of draught beer tends to be more expensive in London compared to other parts of the UK, with pubs and bars charging more to cover their increased rents and operating costs, and the London consumer market being overall less price-sensitive.
While the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) research put the average cost at £4.07 in the UK, it said those in the capital pay £4.84 for a pint. However, finder.com put the average London pint price at £5.50.
What is the average price of a pint of beer over time?
Source: CGA and Office of National Statistics (ONS)
The CGA data was similar to that revealed by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in March 2022, which found the average cost of a pint of beer in the UK rose by 23p in the past two years – the third biggest increase since records began in 1987.
In January 2020 the cost of a pint was £3.73 and as of January 2022, it had risen by 6.2% to £3.96.
The latest CGA research comes after a warning that pints in London could reach £7 each last year (January 2022).
Due to ever-increasing inflation, there were predictions pubs could be forced to increase pint prices by 50p across the UK, rising by about 10%.
Why are beer prices increasing?
So why has the price of a pint of beer soared in recent years? Like most goods and services, the price of beer is affected by inflation.
Consumer prices, measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) have been causing rising inflation since 2021, underpinned by strong consumer demand and supply chain bottlenecks. As of February 2023, the current UK inflation rate sits at 10.4% (Source: ONS) with food prices at a 45-year high.
The rising costs associated with producing and distributing beer, hampered by COVID-19-induced global supply chain disruptions and new trade barriers as a result of the UK's decision to leave the European Union, directly affect the price of beer ingredients such as hops and barley. Combined with increased distribution and energy costs, breweries and pubs are left with little choice but to raise prices to keep up.
In March 2022, pub giant JD Wetherspoon (JDW) increased prices across its UK pubs by 10p on average, with an extra 20p being added to drinks at London sites, citing inflationary pressures and supply chain issues within the sector. This represents an average 2% increase in the majority of JDW pubs and 4% in pubs in and around London.
JDW spokesperson Eddie Gershon said while the company occasionally does up its drink prices, it aims to keep prices as competitive as possible. "We believe our drinks offer still represents great value for money," he said.
British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “After having faced almost three years of extremely tough trading conditions due to lockdowns, an energy crisis, and supply chain disruptions, the cost of doing business and erosion of margins is crippling our pubs and breweries at an unprecedented rate.
BrewDog CEO James Watt warned if its prices rose in line with its energy bills, a pint of Punk IPA would cost £27.50. “Would you like to pay £27.50 for a pint of Punk IPA? Nope, I didn’t think so?”, he said.