Like many bar owners, landlord Joseph Dowling is unsure how long his business will be viable as his utility bills soar and his customers are under financial pressure.
r Dowling (62) has been in the pub business for decades, running first a London pub in the 1990s and then his bar The Candy Store in Waterford City.
This is the toughest time the father of a child in the industry can remember.
“My electricity bill for the last two months is €3,350,” said Mr. Dowling the Irish Independent.
“I don’t know how long we will survive. I have no gas in the pub. All heating and lighting is electric and this bill is double the bill I received last year for the same period.
“I’ll call the electric company. I want them to read the meter every two months instead of those estimated bills.
“If there is no progress from there, if the Government doesn’t do anything to help pubs, I don’t know if we can stay open.
“This bill is huge, and before it’s winter. What if it’s cold and I need to heat and light the pub? I estimate that the bill will then be around 6,000 euros.”
The innkeeper recognizes that his customers are also being weighed down by inflation and has so far kept his Guinness at 2019 prices. At €4.50 for a pint of Guinness this is not only one of the cheapest in the city of Waterford but in the country.
“Our best seller is Guinness,” said Mr. Dowling. “I sat down and thought about the prices before reopening after the pandemic.
“It’s a working-class neighborhood. I know my customers.
“People won’t have much themselves because of inflation.
“They won’t be able to afford to increase the alcohol content in pubs.
“People who come into the pub tell me they’re paying their own bills twice.
“But the problem is, because my own bills have gone up, I don’t know if we can keep prices where they are.
“Nearby pubs are already charging 40 cents and 50 cents more than me, but I understand my customers and know that they also have to endure inflation.
“Some people here are talking about burning everything, burning rubbish to stay warm in winter. Their waste prices have also gone up, so they see it as a way to save on bills. This is desperate.
“And this at a time when the government is talking about a carbon tax. You have to tax the rich to get us through this crisis.
“My last VAT invoice was €7,000. How can I keep going when my bills are so high?
“The Government needs to step in and give pubs some kind of package or there may not be many left soon.”
Dan McGrattan, who has been in the pub business for 40 years, runs McGrattans on Fitzwilliam Lane, Dublin.
He believes pints will soon hit €8 in Dublin.
“Electricity and gas bills have doubled in the last year,” he said.
He said breweries would also raise their prices.
“It’s a nightmare. I’ve never seen anything like it in all my years in the pub business,” added Mr McGrattan.
He said the fact that many office workers continue to work from home is causing problems in the city of Dublin.
“People resent going into offices now after the pandemic. They can work from home, so Dublin pubs have fewer customers.”
He said he would like the government to reduce sales tax on alcohol by 25 percent.
He also said a 25 per cent cut in VAT on electricity bills would help pubs stabilize prices.
“Other than that, I think alcohol in pubs will continue to rise,” he added.
“It’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of when.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/i-have-kept-my-pint-at-450-but-my-energy-bills-have-doubled-i-dont-know-how-long-my-pub-will-survive-41995870.html “I’ve kept my pint at €4.50 but my energy bills have doubled – I don’t know how long my pub will survive.”