Beer costs: a bitter price to swallow

As average pint prices rise the sector cannot afford another duty hike, warns the BBPA

A pint of beer
The average price of a pint of bitter and lager now sit at £3.05 and £3.58 respectively.

THE average price of a pint of bitter in pubs across the UK has broken the three-pound barrier for the first time, fuelling concerns over the UK Treasury’s plans to raise beer duty in the Budget later this year, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) says.

The average pint of bitter has risen by six pence from £2.99 last year to £3.05 in 2017, according to the BBPA, which stated that this six pence rise was the steepest price increase since 2014; the price of a pint of lager is said to have risen even more steeply – by ten pence, from £3.48 to £3.58 this year.

Despite the rises, beer continues to dominate drinks sales, according to statistics from the BBPA, which state that beer accounted for 54.3% of alcohol sales in the UK on-trade in 2016.

The taxes on UK beer are still a huge cause for concern – we cannot afford another duty hike.

And it’s this “continued dominance” that makes pubs “particularly sensitive to beer tax hikes”, the BBPA warned.

It added that, as it stands, UK beer duty is already 60% higher than in 2000, and among the highest in the European Union.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, said the latest statistics show taxes on beer “are still a huge cause for concern, and we cannot afford another beer duty hike in the November Budget if we are to keep a pint in the pub affordable for British beer drinkers”.

She added: “A wealth of other data shows that, with the right policies, the beer and pub industry – which supports 900,000 jobs, can continue to help grow the economy, creating new jobs and more opportunities for the people who work in our sector.”