Cost of living: Average price of a pint up 9% in a year as inflation hits pubs

The average price of a pint is up 9% compared to last year, figures show, as the cost of living crisis hits pubs and breweries.

The average costs for pubs and brewers were up 22% at the end of the summer - before the colder months brought with them increased heating bills and rising inflation.

Rising costs are forcing businesses to pass on the costs to customers at the bar.

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According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, those who drink bitter will be worst affected, with the price up by 8.97% in the last year (from £3.80 to £4.13).

The cost of lager is also rising, with an increase of 8.68% (from £3.23 to £3.52).

These price hikes are causing many consumers to stay away, and now beer sales are down 10% in the same period last year.

It means more than 50 pubs a month are now closing, compared to around 30 a month last year.

Prices changing '100 to 200% from one week to the next'

Abbie Marshall, the owner of Buck Inn in Thornton-Le-Dale in North Yorkshire was forced to put her beer prices up by 10% to try and tackle the uncertainty around prices.

"On food, from one week to the next, vegetables, meat whatever it may be, can change by 100 to 200% in a matter of weeks," she told Sky News.

"We are constantly repricing, but it's difficult because whilst we don't want to pass on all the costs to our customers, we can't keep absorbing the cost increases."

Her pub's energy bills have more than tripled, rising from £20,500 every year to an annual cost of £64,500.

A fine line to tread

Despite seeing her own expenses soaring, Ms Marshall said she was reluctant to pass on too many expenses to her customers.

"We are getting very close to the glass ceiling," she said.

"And that is ceiling is where I know I won't be able to raise my prices anymore because it will be prohibitive and alienate some parts of the community.

"I know I would alienate about 30% of my customers."

But she said predicting what will happen has been the hardest - "You make a forecast for the business, and then six weeks later that forecast is obsolete."

Calls for chancellor to freeze beer duty on Thursday

The British Beer and Pub Association is calling on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to announce a beer duty freeze in his autumn statement on Thursday.

The organisation said a failure to do so would take the tax to its highest ever historical record at a time of severe pressure for the industry, but reinstating would channel £360m back to pubs and breweries

Emma McClarkin, its chief executive, said: "We are caught in an extremely vicious circle, customers are understandably being cautious, but the cost of doing business is out of control and as a result, this is set to be the toughest Christmas on memory for UK pubs and brewers.

"Many just managed to pull through the pandemic, but what we are facing now is crippling businesses at an unprecedented rate.

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"We need the beer duty freeze reinstated to alleviate at least some of the cost pressure on our pubs and brewers and to avoid undermining the crucial alcohol duty reform measures to be implemented in 2023.

"The last thing these pubs want to do is put prices up for customers who are struggling themselves with the cost of living, they want to provide a warm and welcoming space for their communities, especially in this acutely difficult time, but without relief from the government it's difficult to see how many will continue to do so."