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Frank Hovis

When and why did pubs become expensive and off licences cheap?

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I have heard a few times that back in the 50s, 60s, 70s that, unless you were home brewing, drinking at home was uncommon because it was much cheaper to drink beer in a pub.

Which makes sense: the pub has economies of scale, less and reusable packaging (barrels, glasses), and the beer doesn't need additional treatment such as pasteurization before canning.

 

Now this has swung entirely the other way. Beer in pubs is something like 3x or 4x the price of beer in an off licence and the pubs I frequent are more eating than drinking places these days as having eight pints costs you £30 out or from £5 - £10 at home.

 

I can guess at some drivers - pub rents if tenanted - but the scale of the change suggests much bigger factors have caused this. Any insights?

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2 minutes ago, WorkingPoor said:

Last pub i was in £4:40 a pint! some trendy hipster type gastro pub, only had Estrella & Coors light on draught too to really take the piss. 

Pasteurisation? is that why canned beer makes me feel like sh*t? 

All canned beer is pasteurised to stop the fermentation or you'd risk cans exploding Some (though not many AFAIK) bottled beers are live. I did a tour of the Hogs Back brewery in Surrey and they don't pasteurise their bottled beer.

I really like Estrella so even at £4.40 I'd have stretched to one. Generally I drink in Wetherspoons where £2.40 is more the mark for your choice of a range of perfectly kept real ales.

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14 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

I have heard a few times that back in the 50s, 60s, 70s that, unless you were home brewing, drinking at home was uncommon because it was much cheaper to drink beer in a pub.

Which makes sense: the pub has economies of scale, less and reusable packaging (barrels, glasses), and the beer doesn't need additional treatment such as pasteurization before canning.

 

Now this has swung entirely the other way. Beer in pubs is something like 3x or 4x the price of beer in an off licence and the pubs I frequent are more eating than drinking places these days as having eight pints costs you £30 out or from £5 - £10 at home.

 

I can guess at some drivers - pub rents if tenanted - but the scale of the change suggests much bigger factors have caused this. Any insights?

Most Brewers just went with the times, there was no real magic moment or duty benefits to one or the other over the last 30 years. 

The one thing that really changed I suppose if I were to pick something would be the growth of the grocery mults. As they gobbled up more and more of the high street it meant they could operate much more efficiently than even the largest pub co's. Meaning they can operate at an effective lower POR for booze. That's been a slow creep and has gone hand in hand with smoking bans, the changing of the guard with pub co's being distanced from their respective breweries and the rise of managed pubs (that aren't tied to a specific Brewer - that benefits the pub but loses some of the economy of scale with a pub co owning the pub and the beer being produced). What you're left with is an industry that's become much more efficient at maintaining a fairly profitable business with the grocery mults and a more fragments supply chain for the on trade. 

3 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

All canned beer is pasteurised to stop the fermentation or you'd risk cans exploding Some (though not many AFAIK) bottled beers are live. I did a tour of the Hogs Back brewery in Surrey and they don't pasteurise their bottled beer.

I really like Estrella so even at £4.40 I'd have stretched to one. Generally I drink in Wetherspoons where £2.40 is more the mark for your choice of a range of perfectly kept real ales.

Yep. Canned and most bottled beer is flash pasteurised (goes in a hot tunnel and a cool one) to kill the yeast and keep a better shelf life. Even kegged beer is pasteurised, generally only cask ale is "live" these days. 

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31 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

I have heard a few times that back in the 50s, 60s, 70s that, unless you were home brewing, drinking at home was uncommon because it was much cheaper to drink beer in a pub.

Which makes sense: the pub has economies of scale, less and reusable packaging (barrels, glasses), and the beer doesn't need additional treatment such as pasteurization before canning.

 

Now this has swung entirely the other way. Beer in pubs is something like 3x or 4x the price of beer in an off licence and the pubs I frequent are more eating than drinking places these days as having eight pints costs you £30 out or from £5 - £10 at home.

 

I can guess at some drivers - pub rents if tenanted - but the scale of the change suggests much bigger factors have caused this. Any insights?

I thought that price here was quite similar but now I'm not so sure. 

Taking 30CZK to £1, 0.5l Kozel in a nearby pub is about 84p and 0.5l Pilsner Urquell is about £1.10. 

http://studaneckymedved.cz/napojovy-listek/#top

Trying to find comparison in supermarket, Kaufland has 0.5l Kozel on offer at around 30p (down from around 43p). 

https://www.kaufland.cz/nabidka/aktualni-tyden.category=08_Nápoje__lihoviny.html

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1 minute ago, Sgt Hartman said:

Greedy pubco's and inflated rents plus a certain, 'let's see what we can get away with here' sense of monetised trendiness that crossed into piss-taking territory some time ago.

There is no way a pint of Peroni is worth more than three quid, four at a push. I've paid (more fool me) upwards of five or even six quid for one. The closer you get to London or the wankier the establishment, the higher the Peroni.

This also includes cans of over-hopped lager or IPA from hipster-esque microbreweries. Some of them are very nice but six quid for a small can of beer is outrageous.

I like a drink but do most of it at home just because it's so expensive, I do occasionally enjoy a fag after a few beers and resent having to stand outside like a fucking leper, being given filthy looks by someone who's coming into the pub for a quinoa bean salad and a mineral water.

Sadly the rough comes with the smooth. The fact that you can go into a weather spoons and have the option to buy maybe 15 different types of beer comes at a cost. That cost is that the efficiency of having 2/3 beers from one supplier (the Brewer that owns the pub) is eradicated when your supply chain is now more complicated and those smaller Brewers supplying you cannot operate at the same efficiency you used to be able to. 

It's great that there's so much choice now and that beer has had quite a renaissance (I fucking hate that word) in the last 10 years. But, as you say, alot of it seems to have been produced where they forget to put anything other than citra hop in it. 

If you want to know what a "proper" (authenticate) IPA should taste like, find Marston's Old Empire. Beautiful drink. 

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10 minutes ago, montecristo said:

Government is the reason pubs are more expensive.  The duty is higher on alcohol sold in pubs compared to supermarkets.  Then add sky high business rates for the high street. 

UK Governments despise small businesses.

Duty's paid on leaving the warehouse and is payable by the supplier, not the customer.

Of course that's built in to the cost of goods but it doesn't vary by channel. Selling a gallon of beer to Tesco and the same to wetherspoons will attract the same duty rate. 

The selling price might be slightly higher when selling to pubs, but that's effiency of scale at work. 

But you're bang on the money in terms of rates. The business rates a Tesco will pay comparable to its turnover is notably lower than your local pub. 

Edited by Thombleached

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1 hour ago, Frank Hovis said:

I have heard a few times that back in the 50s, 60s, 70s that, unless you were home brewing, drinking at home was uncommon because it was much cheaper to drink beer in a pub.

Which makes sense: the pub has economies of scale, less and reusable packaging (barrels, glasses), and the beer doesn't need additional treatment such as pasteurization before canning.

 

Now this has swung entirely the other way. Beer in pubs is something like 3x or 4x the price of beer in an off licence and the pubs I frequent are more eating than drinking places these days as having eight pints costs you £30 out or from £5 - £10 at home.

 

I can guess at some drivers - pub rents if tenanted - but the scale of the change suggests much bigger factors have caused this. Any insights?

Years ago, the FT had a great chart showing on license v. off license price of a pint. Sadly i did not save it.

In the 80s it was cheaper to drink in a pub rather that get a bottle from the offy.

I can confirm this.

In 88 my grandad stopped going to the pub, so id go and get him some bottles. My standard routine was bussing it to town (we lived in a village), having a couple of pints with mates (even with fuckall money, a round was not expensive - about an hours wage for 3 pints - this was north). Then id stop off for 3 bottles for granddad at the offy - the bottles were 20-30% more than a pint. Last bus home at 8pm and round to split bottles with grandad.

Back then the explanation was the pub bought wholesale and served beer without cost of bottling.

These days the explanation is that supermarkets do price leaders on booze - true and that i pay for the atmosphere of the pub.....

Slso most booze came from smsll offies. I cannot rrmber supermarkets selling much booze, or at least not the slabdeals.

Hard to put a year on when it swapped over - mid 90s now.

But in the same village, my options are buy 10 slabs of becks - which i like as alchi water - whuch, including delivery out at less than 50p a bottle, deal depending, or go to one of tge pubs and pay about £3 for the same bottle.

Not with grandad as hes dead. Just as well pricewise hed have a fit.

43 minutes ago, Sgt Hartman said:

Greedy pubco's and inflated rents plus a certain, 'let's see what we can get away with here' sense of monetised trendiness that crossed into piss-taking territory some time ago.

There is no way a pint of Peroni is worth more than three quid, four at a push. I've paid (more fool me) upwards of five or even six quid for one. The closer you get to London or the wankier the establishment, the higher the Peroni.

This also includes cans of over-hopped lager or IPA from hipster-esque microbreweries. Some of them are very nice but six quid for a small can of beer is outrageous.

I like a drink but do most of it at home just because it's so expensive, I do occasionally enjoy a fag after a few beers and resent having to stand outside like a fucking leper, being given filthy looks by someone who's coming into the pub for a quinoa bean salad and a mineral water.

Pubcos - enterprise and punch and greeneking - fucked over the pub business. With their gormless franken financialised 

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58 minutes ago, Sgt Hartman said:

 

This also includes cans of over-hopped lager or IPA from hipster-esque microbreweries. Some of them are very nice but six quid for a small can of beer is outrageous.

 

Aaagh my least favourite trend in modern brewing

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/drink/2013/05/hoppy_beer_is_awful_or_at_least_its_bitterness_is_ruining_craft_beer_s_reputation.html

I quite like well hopped bitters but the tendency to fill small cans of beer with ale stuffed to the gunnels with those American hops renders a lot of them undrinkable. The taste can be summed up as  '"your camel is pregnant". They are ludicrously expensive too.

 

Edited by Virgil Caine

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21 minutes ago, spygirl said:

Years ago, the FT had a great chart showing on license v. off license price of a pint. Sadly i did not save it.

In the 80s it was cheaper to drink in a pub rather that get a bottle from the offy.

I can confirm this.

In 88 my grandad stopped going to the pub, so id go and get him some bottles. My standard routine was bussing it to town (we lived in a village), having a couple of pints with mates (even with fuckall money, a round was not expensive - about an hours wage for 3 pints - this was north). Then id stop off for 3 bottles for granddad at the offy - the bottles were 20-30% more than a pint. Last bus home at 8pm and round to split bottles with grandad.

Back then the explanation was the pub bought wholesale and served beer without cost of bottling.

These days the explanation is that supermarkets do price leaders on booze - true and that i pay for the atmosphere of the pub.....

Slso most booze came from smsll offies. I cannot rrmber supermarkets selling much booze, or at least not the slabdeals.

Hard to put a year on when it swapped over - mid 90s now.

But in the same village, my options are buy 10 slabs of becks - which i like as alchi water - whuch, including delivery out at less than 50p a bottle, deal depending, or go to one of tge pubs and pay about £3 for the same bottle.

Not with grandad as hes dead. Just as well pricewise hed have a fit.

Pubcos - enterprise and punch and greeneking - fucked over the pub business. With their gormless franken financialised 

Mid 90`s would be spot on ,this is when the single market opened up and the booze cruise took off something had to give when you could nip over to France and by a crate of dumpy bottles of stella for 3-£3.50 and sell it on for £6-7 . this would still be less than half the price of any supermarket

As for pubcos i would agree 100% it was a game of last man standing the indys that bought off the pubcos around my way are doing well now selling reasonably priced beer   

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5 minutes ago, Long time lurking said:

Mid 90`s would be spot on ,this is when the single market opened up and the booze cruise took off something had to give when you could nip over to France and by a crate of dumpy bottles of stella for 3-£3.50 and sell it on for £6-7 . this would still be less than half the price of any supermarket

As for pubcos i would agree 100% it was a game of last man standing the indys that bought off the pubcos around my way are doing well now selling reasonably priced beer   

Disagre on pubcos.

I go towns and 50% of yte pubs are shut or shutting. All down to pubco lunacy.

Pre pubco these were cheap and cheerful businesses. Pubco doubled the prices then tried to dump the extra cost on the idiot taking on the tenancy.

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Just now, spygirl said:

Disagre on pubcos.

I go towns and 50% of yte pubs are shut or shutting. All down to pubco lunacy.

Pre pubco these were cheap and cheerful businesses. Pubco doubled the prices then tried to dump the extra cost on the idiot taking on the tenancy.

Well the same happend around my way but i would say it`s more like 80-90% have gone the last man standing were /are the indys that bought of the pubcos  that was my point

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1 hour ago, Sgt Hartman said:

I like a drink but do most of it at home just because it's so expensive, I do occasionally enjoy a fag after a few beers and resent having to stand outside like a fucking leper, being given filthy looks by someone who's coming into the pub for a quinoa bean salad and a mineral water.

This.

Practically all alkies smoke tabs - yet the very people who keep a pub in business can't have a smoke unless they stand outside in the pissing rain...?

Fuck that shit. I can smoke at home, so I drink at home.

 

1 hour ago, Thombleached said:

If you want to know what a "proper" (authenticate) IPA should taste like, find Marston's Old Empire. Beautiful drink. 

Agreed, a really nice drink.

In my opinion, Marstons don't make a bad pale ale. Their Strong Pale Ale is another favourite of mine.

Not only a good tasting ale, but at 6.2% abv - and 4 bottles for 6 quid at ASDA - it can get you well spackered for a modest outlay of spondooliks..!

:)

 

XYY

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7 minutes ago, The XYY Man said:

This.

Practically all alkies smoke tabs - yet the very people who keep a pub in business can't have a smoke unless they stand outside in the pissing rain...?

Fuck that shit. I can smoke at home, so I drink at home.

 

Agreed, a really nice drink.

In my opinion, Marstons don't make a bad pale ale. Their Strong Pale Ale is another favourite of mine.

Not only a good tasting ale, but at 6.2% abv - and 4 bottles for 6 quid at ASDA - it can get you well spackered for a modest outlay of spondooliks..!

:)

 

XYY

050_viz207_twats.jpg

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2 hours ago, WorkingPoor said:

Last pub i was in £4:40 a pint! some trendy hipster type gastro pub, only had Estrella & Coors light on draught too to really take the piss. 

Pasteurisation? is that why canned beer makes me feel like sh*t? 

Sat here with a pint now. It cost me £5.50. I'm in Macclesfield! 

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2 minutes ago, spygirl said:

050_viz207_twats.jpg

:)

There is a Real Ale Twats Facebook page - which used to very funny, and almost made Facebook tolerable.

But now it's shite.

And the same is true of the Roger Mellie one.

Facebook twats can even fuck-up something as perfect as Viz..!

:(

 

XYY

 

 

 

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17 minutes ago, The XYY Man said:

:)

There is a Real Ale Twats Facebook page - which used to very funny, and almost made Facebook tolerable.

But now it's shite.

And the same is true of the Roger Mellie one.

Facebook twats can even fuck-up something as perfect as Viz..!

:(

 

XYY

 

 

 

Rats started as a parody, the became occupied by the parodied.

I like pubs and try to drink out a couple of times. But i always take my kindle.

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If you like 'em hoppy, specifically Citra hopped then forget all these poncey tins with KOOL art n ting, and get your bottoms down to Home Bargains and stock up on Oakham Ale's Citra. It's superb, it's £1.70 or so a bottle (500ml) and it's brewed in England.

Whilst there, give the bottles of Stout a try too as they are beyond compare. Clearly drank so many I forget the brewery.

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Recently did some work in a pub that was just finishing their tenancy. The couple running it had been making a living from running pubs last 30 years and looked like they knew what they were doing. Both said they thought the days of being able to make a satisfactory living from running a pub were gone, too few people regularly use pubs now. From my own experience, I went off alcohol a few years back and really don't miss going to pubs, the clientele being the same old saddos getting pissed up and talking bollocks.

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