Urgent warning as pubs could QUIT Guinness if ‘greedy’ pint price hikes continue
PUBS, preparing to smack up to 50 cents on the price of a pint of Guinness on Tuesday, have accused Diageo of “sheer greed,” insisting: “We’re not out to rob people, we’re just trying to make a living.” to earn.”
Pub owners have warned they could throw out the black stuff if the pressure continues – with a Dublin City operator warning that the standard €7 pint is just around the corner.
With most pubs now relying on tourists to keep them afloat as costs continue to rise, one innkeeper stressed: “It’s going to get to a point where they’ll go for it and go elsewhere on their holidays.”
And another warned: “The locals are going to disappear real soon.”
The Irish Sun has met a host of well-known city center pubs ahead of Diageo Brewery’s latest price hike, which begins tomorrow.
The drinks giant is charging pubs an extra 12 cents a pint and forcing restaurateurs to raise prices by up to 50 cents just to keep their margins. It comes after Heineken introduced an increase in December.
We surveyed 11 downtown drunks and found only two willing to keep prices the same this week.
With one exception or another, we found staff and guests devastated by the rising price of a pint and the dwindling custom even before the final hike.
From Tuesday, the price of a pint of Guinness in a normal pub could be as much as 6.80 euros.
In 2019, the average price for a pint of Guinness was €4.65.
Michael Ryan has been running the Ha’Penny Bridge Inn on the outskirts of Temple Bar since 1989, and he and his son Sean are reluctantly trying to add 30 cents to the price of their €6.30 pints.
Michael said: “People only have so much money these days and that needs to focus on your bills, your mortgage and your family. So if the price of a pint keeps skyrocketing, people will end up missing out.
“Without tourists we would be in big trouble and if you put this place on wheels and took us to the suburbs I don’t know what I would do, I feel for that.”
Sean added, “At this point, everything got completely out of hand.
“And it’s not like Guinness hasn’t made money like us during the pandemic, they’ve been selling in off-licenses and supermarkets so I’m not sure I’m buying their excuses.
“And we’re the cheapest here, we sell a pint of Guinness for €6.30, walk two minutes and you pay €8 for a pint of lager.
“We don’t want to rob people, we just want to make a living, but it’s getting harder every day.
“When Heineken raised their prices, I would have had to raise the prices 57 cents just to keep the same margins, but I raised it 30 cents, so now I’m losing money.
“And it’s the same with Guinness, we don’t have a choice, we have to maintain our margins and that’s along with our electricity bill, which has more than doubled.”
FEAR OF LOSE LOCAL
O’Donoghue’s on Suffolk Street fears losing its local clientele.
As the price of a pint ranges from €6 to €6.50, barman Rezah Shamtally said: “It sucks, but what can we do? Regardless of suppliers, rent, bills, insurance, it’s all killing us.
“We can make money off tourists, but the locals will be gone very soon, and they’re what keep us going 365 days a year.”
The Thomas Moore pub on Aungier Street costs between 30 and 50 cents for its €6 pint of stout.
Bartender Dave G told us: “A year ago the government was urging people to come back to the pub, huge promotions – and now it feels like two steps forward and one step back.
“A lot of people are just pissed off.
“Confidence in the industry is at an all-time low and this move will affect many people’s livelihoods.
“And we rely so heavily on tourists, and they might be willing to pay a little more, but there will come a point where they will go for it and go somewhere else on their vacation.
“Countries like Spain cost a fraction of what you would pay here.”
He claimed “it’s sheer greed on the part of suppliers” and asked: “What about pubs in the Northside or outside Dublin, what are they going to do?
“We have shift workers, people on living wages who just want to come in for a social beer and relax, and they won’t be able to do that anymore.
“Guinness has the monopoly and they know it, but if it comes to a point where people will choose an alternative that we have more control over on price, the Guinness taps will leave.
“The industry is tough enough anyway, and now suppliers are pinching their own customers.
“The pubs are just getting empty again and everyone is drinking alone at home or out on the street, what’s healthy about that?”
‘KICK IN THE TEETH’
He added: “To maintain margins, prices have to go up 40 or 50 cents, but if we increase them by 30 cents, we’ll have to take 20 cents for every pint sold, which is likely to happen.”
“It’s really a kick in the teeth.”
Ava Walsh, manager of gastropub PMac’s on Stephen Street, is keeping her prices at €6 as she has now bought in bulk.
She told us: “I’m definitely worried this will be the last nail in the coffin because people are already reluctant to come to the pubs.
“When we heard the news we bought large quantities of casks to try and keep the lower price longer, but how long can we actually do that because at some point (the price) has to go up.
“And the other question is how much can we actually charge for a pint of Guinness before people just say no?
“We would like to keep the price under 7 euros. And it’s not just Heineken and Guinness, a can of Coke now costs around €3.50.”
WORST MONTH IN 15 YEARS
Kevin Murphy of Meagher’s Pub on O’Connell Bridge said this month was his worst in the industry in 15 years.
He told The Irish Sun: “They’re a bunch of w**** and you can quote me on that. If you want to hit a brewery where it hurts, rip off their favorite vendor.
“We are a Guinness pub, there is no doubt about that.
“50 percent of the casks that come in here every week are Guinness casks.
“We try our best to keep prices down, we’re €6 a Guinness and we’re on O’Connell Bridge, walk 100 meters south, you could pay seven or eight.
“If breweries keep doing this to us, I can’t see pubs surviving in Dublin.
“I don’t know how strongly breweries and the government believe we can be squeezed.
“In all my 15 years in business, this has to be the worst January I’ve ever had.
“We were supposed to raise the prices to €6.50 but we decided to take the hit as best we could and try to balance that with food and everything else.
“Trade in Ireland is not what it used to be. Everyone wants to blame the innkeepers, but we don’t brew Guinness, we’re customers like everyone else.
“No one is going to march up to St James’s Gate and say, ‘You’re asking too much for a keg,’ but it will hurt our bottom line and our ability to stay in business.”
The Hairy Lemon on Stephen Street is increasing their pints by just 10 cents.
Bar worker Raymie Moynagh said: “We won’t be raising our prices too much but we’ll just have to see what February brings.
“Pubs have such a unique atmosphere, particularly in Ireland, and the majority of people who walk in just want to have a little fun and chat, so it would be a real shame if price was an obstacle to that.”
Piper’s Corner on Marlborough Street is keeping its price at €5.80 and bartender Colin told us: ‘We haven’t increased our price yet. But I’m sure we’ll have to at some point.
“We don’t want to impose the price on the customer, but we still have to make money.”
Customers are concerned too. Frank Farrell said: “I love going out for a beer, that’s what Dublin is about, but I’ll have to do it less and less. I don’t want to start drinking at home.
“Going out and meeting friends is healthy. And even if you have a problem or want to speak to someone, very often it’s the barman who hears it.”
Carl Keogh added: “When you’re in a pub, you always strike up a conversation with someone, no matter what your social background. I would hate to see this culture go away.”
Diageo said: “Like many companies in Ireland, we are facing significant input cost inflation across all of our operations.
“We have borne these costs for as long as possible, but unfortunately we can no longer do so.”
https://www.thesun.ie/money/10136511/guinness-warning-pubs-ditch-pint-price-hikes/ Urgent warning as pubs could QUIT Guinness if ‘greedy’ pint price hikes continue