Trade faces beer price increases

Brewers blame rising costs for wholesale hike

By Gillian McKenzie

LICENSEES are braced to increase the cost of a pint after brewers unveiled their annual new year price rises.

Heineken, Molson Coors and Carlsberg UK have all confirmed wholesale beer and cider price increases, which will add between 4p and 6p per pint to the wholesale price.
Carlsberg upped its prices by between 3.8% and 4.2% across its product range from Monday (January 6). The brewer said the move would add an average of 6p a pint, excluding VAT, to the wholesale price of Carlsberg lager.
A spokesman for the brewer said the increase reflected rising production, energy and fuel costs. “We are fully aware of the challenging market for our customers and have absorbed as much cost as possible to ensure the price increase has been kept to an absolute minimum,” he said. “Therefore, we firmly believe we remain competitively priced for our customers.”
Carling owner Molson Coors also cited rising costs as it confirmed it would increase wholesale prices on all of its draught products by 5p a pint from January 13.
“The increase is due to rising input prices that affect all brewers,” said Simon Kerry, finance director at Molson Coors (UK & Ireland).
“At Molson Coors, we have continued to work hard to cut costs associated with the production and supply of our beers in order to keep the level of increase to a minimum.”
Heineken, whose beer and cider brands include Foster’s and Strongbow, is to up its wholesale prices by between 3% and 3.5% from February 3. The brewer said it will add around £12.54 a barrel – equivalent to 4p a pint – to the wholesale price of Strongbow, excluding duty; and £12.56 a barrel, or 4p a pint, to Foster’s lager.
“While we appreciate that price rises are never popular, we cannot ignore inflationary pressures that currently impact on the costs of cider and beer production,” said Heineken in a statement.
“We have done everything we can to keep the wholesale increases to a minimum.”
Tennent Caledonian has yet to confirm whether or not it will up its prices. “We would not comment on any wholesale price increase on our brands prior to notifying our customers,” said MD John Gilligan.
AB InBev, whose beer brands include Stella Artois and Budweiser, has also not yet revealed any change to wholesale prices.
Belhaven owner Greene King and Guinness parent company Diageo were unable to comment when contacted by SLTN.