Saturday, 21 March 2015

Glass half empty?

Well done to George Osborne for making a small cut to beer duty for the third year running, something without precedent in living memory. But inevitably some have given this a grudging reception, saying that a penny a pint duty cut is neither here nor there, and most pub operators won’t apply it anyway. I suspect many dislike Osborne so much that they would still whinge even if he totally abolished beer duty and gave everyone a flying horse to transport them to and from the pub.

In reality the comparison is not with a duty freeze, but with the continued application of the beer duty escalator, which would have resulted in a pint in the pub being 30 or 40p dearer by now. If you can’t see, or acknowledge, that, you’re either an idiot or someone who allows political partisanship to override a rational consideration of the interests of the brewing industry and pub trade. The Centre for Economic and Business Research has calculated that the beer duty reductions have already saved over 1,000 pubs from closure. Surely that’s something we can all celebrate regardless of political affiliation?

18 comments:

  1. Absolutely right Mudgie. This must be good news regardless of your politics.

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  2. Ah yes! The Centre for Economic and Business Research, a body almost wholly funded by the banks, the same arses who drove this country into the financial abyss in the first place, and also the first to start paying massive bonuses, in some cases even when they were still making losses, they would sell their grannies nipsy if they tought they could get thruppence for it!
    Meanwhile, I visited three pubs in West Brom today, my two usual haunts where, with a pocketful of 'shrapnel' I tried to pay a penny below what I knew the price of the ale was, each time I was cheerily, but politely, rebuffed, when time came to go home I made wmy way to the bus station and as I had 15 minutes to kill, the 'Spoons across the road, only one dark ale on, a Burton Bridge Damson Porter priced at a very reasonable £1.89, I handed the slighty flaky barmaid £1.88 explaining that the chancellor had knocked a penny off a pint several days earlier, 'Yes, that's fine sir' Thank goodness for Tim Martin and 24 hour rolling news channels.

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  3. Ha, I think you illustrate my point perfectly. And that well-known hard-right free-market organisation CAMRA seems to agree with the CEBR.

    2014 saw the smallest annual decline in on-trade beer sales this century, for which the duty cuts must be at least partially responsible. And, while it's far from universal, around here there does seem to be a new mood of optimism in the trade, with expensive refurbishments, reopenings and brand-new bars, as John Clarke will be able to confirm.

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  4. Mudgie is correct - the pub scene in Stockport and Manchester seems to be doing very nicely at the moment. Certainly the gloom of recent years seems to have lifted.

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  5. If you read it again Mudge you will see I make no politcal attack on the chancellor, I just pointed out where this organisation gets a vast majority of it's funding from, marvellous to be told by these scoundrels, that instead of reducing the cost of my pint, I'm actually subsidising a thousand pubs I may never use.

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  6. I'm going to have to get up there for a crawl with Cookie, clarkie and your good self!

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  7. If you take out the reference to idiots, just to sanitize it a bit, it would make a good OT Mudgie article. Sure to wind up the leftie beards, to acknowledge Gideon did something right and make a change from smoking bans and disliking the modern pub decor that makes pubs nice and relevant places for the current generation.

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  8. Funny you should say that, Cookie, but something along those lines is scheduled for May's issue - along with slates for plates ;-)

    April's went to press too early for the budget, unfortunately.

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  9. look forward to it. Maybe replace idiot with fool? Morris dancing middle class beardy sandal wearing lib dem voting pong quaffers might take that a bit easier.

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  10. Expecting pubs to instantly reduce the price of a pint by 1p is a bit ridiculous. Most pubs I've been to price the beer to the nearest 5p or 10p anyway.

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  11. On the logic that a 1p duty increase forces a 2p retail price rise to maintain GP, the price should reduce by 2p, not 1p.

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  12. The problem is public perception - the Chancellor announcing 'a penny off beer - Hoorah!' means that nothing will then dissuade the drinking public from thinking their landlord is screwing them by not passing the reduction on.

    My local puts a jar of pennies by the till for the throbbers that 'jokingly' ask why the price hasn't gone down, despite the gaffer having absorbed more than the odd duty and brewery price rise.

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  13. I've said before that in terms of presentation Osborne would have been better freezing duty rather than making a small cut.

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  14. Breweries and pubs are screwing us, that's the problem. Unfortunately beer geeks love being stiffed and "supporting" the the whole shebang.

    Ask why if Sams can charge £1.80, other pubs are £3+ for the same commodity ingredient piss water.

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  15. Sams charge £1.80 and are probably more from actually brewing beer than many other brewers but they only take their profit at the retail end, unlike every other vertical brewing operation that makes a wholesale margin on delivery to their own pubs and a retail margin.

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  16. What Sams ans Spoons do, anyone can do.

    The only reason other pubs are £3+ is to keep their hospitality "middle class" and keep out the wrong sort. Pricing is about managing hospitality because people only want to rub shoulders with their own sort.

    When you pay £3+ you are paying to keep out a lower class and nowt more. They could charge £1.80 retail and adjust the supply chain if they decided that was what they wanted to do.

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  17. Yes it's good news, whatever else I think of Osborne.

    And agreed it's mainly the scrapping of the esclator that makes the difference - few customers will see much affect in a 1 p drop.

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  18. Yes it's good news, whatever else I think of Osborne.

    And agreed it's mainly the scrapping of the esclator that makes the difference - few customers will see much affect in a 1 p drop.

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