Cost of pint could rise to £4

A SUFFOLK brewer today said it was fighting to keep costs down amid claims from experts that the average cost of pint of bitter could rise from £2.20 to £4 next year.

A SUFFOLK brewer today said it was fighting to keep costs down amid claims from experts that the average cost of pint of bitter could rise from £2.20 to £4 next year.

The massive hike, which could also affect cans bought from off licences, is due largely to increased prices of key ingredients such as barley and hops because farmland is being turned over to environmentally-friendly biofuels.

The cost of kegs has also risen because they are targeted by thieves who melt them down for their metal content.

Mark Hastings, director of communications at the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “Food prices have increased dramatically and that has affected, for us, the price of barley and hops, which have rocketed tremendously.


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“But on top of that, we have also got increases in commodity prices, so for example, with the kegs and cans that we put beer into, the cost of metal has escalated dramatically.

“Because kegs are such valuable items we are losing a lot of them - about 60 million a year are being thieved at present to smelt down into metal.

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“Then we have also got things like fuel prices.

“All these factors have increased the cost of being a brewer quite dramatically. Brewers have been clinging on for the last two years, trying to contain prices and we have seen consolidation in the market - brewers buying out other brewers to try to contain costs. We have also seen job losses in the sector - about 2,000 have gone this year.”

“But now there is no more to carve out of the business so the only thing that we are able to do is to put prices up.”

A spokeswoman for Greene King said the Bury St Edmunds-based brewer was endeavouring to keep costs down.

She said: “We have worked really hard to keep our costs down and reduce our energy consumption down. It is not a problem that is going to go away.”

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