Good Beer Guide: Supermarkets are killing the British Pub'
11th September 2008
At the launch of the Good Beer Guide 2009, CAMRA is calling on
the Government to introduce measures to prevent supermarkets selling
alcohol as a loss leader. In response to this week's announcement
that 36 pubs are closing every week, with a gloomy outlook for many
more British pubs, the consumer group is urging the Government to
introduce minimum pricing to reduce the gap between supermarket
and pub prices.
"Cheap beer in supermarkets - often sold at less than the price
of bottled water - is killing the British pub", says CAMRA
Good Beer Guide 2009 Editor Roger Protz as he launched the 2009
edition today (September 11th). "Over 150 pubs a month are
closing", Protz said. "People are abandoning their locals
because they can buy cheap supermarket beer at a fraction of the
price charged by pubs."
CAMRA claims that well-run community pubs provide a perfect environment
for adults to enjoy alcohol responsibly, but as small businesses,
they are unable to absorb tax and cost increases and cannot demand
the wholesale discounts enjoyed by supermarkets.
As a result of the 10% beer tax increase in this year's Budget,
prices in pubs have increased by 4.4% in the last year and the average
price of a pint of lager in a pub is now £2.82. In contrast,
prices in the off trade have fallen by a further 1% as a result
of huge price promotions. The Great British Pub is being targeted
by ruthless off trade discounting that is resulting in falling pub
visits and record pub closures.
In a recent CAMRA pricing survey, research found drastically low
figures in the off-trade with mainstream global lager bands on sale
for as little as 57 pence a pint.
Examples of price deals found in supermarkets in September 2008:
Sainsbury's: Foster's lager - 3 cases of 440ml cans (cases of
15) for £20. That's the equivalent of 57.4 pence per pint.
Asda: John Smith's Smooth Bitter - 3 cases of 440ml cans (cases
of 15) for £20. That's also the equivalent of 57.4 pence per
Lidl: 8 cans of 440ml Carlsberg lager for £4.49. That's
the equivalent of 56.9 pence per pint.
Roger Protz describes the relationship between big brewers and supermarkets
as, "the economics of the mad house. Coors, the American giant
that now owns the former Bass breweries in Britain, has seen its
profits halve in recent years - mainly as a result of the deep discounts
demanded by the retailers.
"One solution is for England and Wales to follow the example
of the Scottish government and consider a minimum pricing policy
for alcohol sold in the off-trade. Urgent action is needed to help
save that great British institution - your friendly, neighbourhood
Source: National CAMRA