Analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) by The Morning Advertiser showed lager prices had seen a 10.8% upswing in the 12-months to December last year, with the cost of a pint now estimated to be £4.70, up from £4.24 in December 2022.
The average cost of a pint of draught bitter had also increased during this period, rising from £3.60 in December 2022 to £3.93 last year, an increase of 9.1%.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) national chairman Nik Antona said: “The licensed trade is being pummelled relentlessly from all angles, with many receiving more than just heavy bruising and losing the fight to survive.
“The successive haymakers from the rising costs of goods and employing staff, spiralling energy bills, along with Government support on business rates being cut, plus customers continuing to tighten their belts due to the cost-of-living crisis are all knockout blows.
“Pubs certainly do not want to pass on the high prices to their loyal and supportive customers but realistically the only other choice would be to close their doors for good.”
Compared with pre-pandemic levels, a pint of lager had seen a 26% price hike, up from £3.73 in December 2019.
The cost of a pint of draught bitter had increased almost as much since 2019 (25.9%), rising from £3.12.
Moreover, the data showed lager prices had soared by 41.5% in the last decade, with a pint of lager costing £3.32 in December 2013, while bitter costs had increased by 35.9% during this period, up from £2.89 ten years ago.
Antona said the data “showed the ominous escalation” of beer prices over the past 10-years, making “bleak reading” for consumers, publicans and brewers alike in the wake of an “unwelcome” rise to the headline rate of inflation.
He continued: “In order for pubs to survive and thrive, the Government desperately needs to announce in the upcoming Spring Budget a reform of the grossly unfair business rates systems and cut tax on pints in pubs by 20% to help them compete with the off-trade.
“The Government must act to secure the future of pubs, social clubs and taprooms, or the fate of these much-loved community hubs across the UK will forever be in jeopardy.”
Long term growth
In addition, the ONS data showed the average price of a pint had risen by 46p and just over 10% in percentage terms between January and November last year alone, rising from £4.23 t0 £4.69.
On top of this, food inflation was also estimated to have stood at 15% in November 2023.
UKHospitality (UKH) chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The rise in food and drink prices over the last year has presented huge challenges to businesses across the hospitality sector.
“Combined with continued inflationary pressures, the looming hike in business rates and the National Living Wage increase in April, it is becoming almost impossible for venues to absorb costs and stay afloat.
“The upswing in beer costs over the last decade demonstrates the growing tax burden being shouldered by the sector, which has left businesses with no choice but to pass costs on to the consumer.
“It’s crucial the Government takes steps to help mitigate these cost rises and enable longer term growth for the industry, which can be achieved through capping the business rates and reducing the rate of VAT for hospitality.”