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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 pint.

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 local."


Source: National CAMRA


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