The prices of pints in pubs are set to rise in the coming weeks.
Island hospitality businesses will soon be increasing their prices in response to a increase by some of the UK’s major brewing companies, which came into effect yesterday (February 28).
These price increases from suppliers are typically announced around this time annually.
Licensed Victuallers Association chair Andy Saunders said that the public would see ’prices increase across the board’, from tap lager and ales to bottled beers and wines.
He noted that Guinness had set a ’particularly large increase’.
Geoff Joughin, who owns the Albert Hotel in Douglas, said that the rise from suppliers was ’larger than expected’.
And Guy Armstrong-Rossiter, who runs The Rover’s Return, pointed out that the price rises would also be reflecting an increase in other costs, such as that of gas (to run the cellar kegs) and energy.
Mr Armstrong-Rossiter said that he had tried to hold prices as long as possible, and would aim to keep the increases as low as possible.
He added that it came at a difficult time, when pubs were trying to ’entice people back after a sketchy two years’.
While independent pubs will be setting their own prices to reflect the rise by the brewery companies in their own time, the Heron & Brearley brewery - the largest operator of pubs in the island - has already rolled out price hikes.
In The Prospect for example, a pint of Manx-brewed Okell’s ale has gone up from £3.55 to £3.70.
Pints of lager have gone up by around 5 t0 10p (with Carling now £4.50), and around the same for bottled beers and wines.
A pint of Guinness has gone up from £4.65 to £4.90.
When contacted by the Isle of Man Examiner, Heron & Brearley refused to comment or give examples of drinks prices which had changed.
Martin Brunnschweiler, owner of Bushy’s Brewery, said that his company had already brought in a five percent increase in the price of all their products in early January.
A pint of Bushy’s in the Bay Hotel in Port Erin has gone up from £3 to £3.10.
Mr Saunders, who owns Quids Inn on Douglas Promenade, went on to tell the Examiner that ’nothing can be done’ about the price increases which were being passed on from the UK suppliers, adding that ’it’s not the [H&B] brewery’s fault this time, to be fair to them, it’s just the price of living like everything else in the world’.
’Everybody [LVA publicans] will do their best to keep it as low as possible, but the scale of everything increasing means that this is just another hit to the cost of living for everyone which we have to deal with unfortunately’.
’To remain anywhere near profitable, prices are going to have to go up,’ he said.
He pointed out that the public would also be seeing an increase in the price of alcohol in supermarkets.
And developing factors such as the war in Ukraine will also go on to have an adverse effect on prices in the future, as the country is a major exporter of grain.
Mr Saunders explained that Quids Inn had not increased its prices since 2018 - but that other venues had made increases since then.
Asked how the industry was doing more generally in its recovery from the pandemic, Mr Saunders said: ’Personally I see that there’s green shoots [of recovery], but we’re not totally out of it.
’And we’re looking forward to a great buildup [to summer], and this season being really good this year’.