Sunday, 22 March 2009

How much is too much?

I recently ran a poll with the question “How much would you consider exorbitant for a pint of 4.0% ABV beer?”

There were 40 votes, broken down as follows:

£2.25: 3 (7%)
£2.50: 2 (5%)
£2.75: 10 (25%)
£3.00: 9 (22%)
£3.25: 7 (17%)
£3.50: 2 (5%)
£3.75: 1 (2%)
£4.00: 6 (15%)

So a wide range of opinion there, with every option getting at least one vote, but a clear clustering around the £2.75 - £3.25 band. Obviously it also varies depending on what part of the country you are in – I voted for £2.75, as that reflects prices in this area, which are some of the lowest in the country, but I wouldn’t necessarily regard £3.25 as that unreasonable in London.

Having said that, I did have a very pleasant pint of Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Bitter today for £1.49.

The view is often expressed that, as a high-quality craft product, cask beer should be able to command a price premium over mass-market kegs. There is some merit in that, but you have to be aware that there are many cost-conscious drinkers who you won’t necessarily take along with you, and that in order to justify a price premium you have to deliver consistent quality, something on which companies in a variety of markets have come unstuck in the past.


  1. "to justify a price premium you have to deliver consistent quality" - spot on there. A lesson a few publicans should learn.

  2. I agree with Paul. However, it can be difficult for some pubs in the current economic situation to maintain quality when working hand to mouth.

    To be able to command a good price you need to deliver quality but to be able to deliver quality you need financial backing.


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