Thirsty Britons will have to pay 18p MORE for a pint of beer on average when pubs finally reopen – with Heineken planning to hike prices by up to 4.5%

  • Britons could be forking out up to 18p more per pint when pubs finally reopen
  • Heineken said it will increase cost of lagers and ales by as much as 4.5%
  • Carlsberg-Marston will review its prices when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted
  • Boris Johnson is set to reopen pubs in England ‘in May at the earliest’ 

Britons gasping for a beer in their local could be forking out 18p more per pint when pubs finally reopen, industry experts warned today.

Dutch giant Heineken, which also brews Foster’s, Kronenbourg, Birra Moretti, John Smith’s and Deuchars IPA, is set to increase the cost of its lagers and ales in April by as much as 4.5 per cent.

Applied to the £3.94 average cost of a pint, this means beer could cost Britons an extra 18p unless there are any government schemes such as a continued reduction in the VAT on alcohol.

Rival brewer Carlsberg-Marston, which produces its flagship pilsner, Estrella and cask beers such as Marston’s Pedigree and Hobgoblin, said it will review its prices when Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed.

It is understood that Diageo, which owns Guinness, Carling brewer Molson Coors, and brewery pub chain Greene King, are not currently looking at increasing prices.

Research by trade journal Morning Advertiser found that Britain’s brewery chiefs have postponed ramping up the price of their pints until the spring, when they anticipate pubs will finally reopen their doors.

Dutch giant Heineken, which also brews Foster’s, Kronenbourg, John Smith’s and Deuchars IPA, is set to increase the cost of its lagers and ales in April by as much as 4.5 per cent

Applied to the £3.94 average cost of a pint, this means pints could cost Britons an extra 18p unless there are any government schemes such as a continued reduction in the VAT on alcohol. Pictured, two men drinking at the Lady Hamilton Pub in Kentish Town in July

Research by trade journal Morning Advertiser found that Britain’s brewery chiefs have postponed ramping up the price of their pints until the spring. Pictured, women leaving with drinks from the Ten Bells pub in east London in June

Normally most brewers in Britain increase their prices in line with inflation at the start of the year, with the average cost of a pint rising by 24p to £3.94 last year.

It comes amid claims that Boris Johnson plans to ease England’s national coronavirus lockdown in three stages, with pubs and restaurants potentially not allowed to reopen until May at the earliest. 

Heineken UK on-trade director Stephen Watt told the Morning Advertiser: ‘Throughout the pandemic our priority has been to help pubs and bars through the most difficult trading period in generations and get them back on their feet, serve communities and be viable once again.

‘With the dispensing of the vaccines we anticipate pubs, bars and restaurants will be able to start to return to more normalised trading levels during the second quarter.

‘As part of our annual review of prices, we are therefore informing customers of our intention to increase prices on draught beer and cider.’

He added: ‘We acknowledge, however, that in the early part of the year, trading is likely to remain suppressed, and so have decided to defer the implementation of any increase to April 1, 2021.’

A spokeswoman for Carlsberg Marston’s said: ‘Given the ongoing closure of pubs and the uncertainty curently faced by the sector, we have not made any decision on pricing and will review this once there is greater clarity on when restrictions across the trade may be lifted or reduced.’

A group of customers give a toast at the Shakespeare’s Head pub in Holborn, London in July

Customers drinking at The White House pub in Stalybridge, Manchester on March 20, 2020

Molson Coors UK on-trade director Martyn Cozens said the firm is urging the Government to cut beer duty and extend the 5 per cent VAT rate on drinks sold in pubs. 

Greene King has yet to make a decision, it told the MA – while Diageo, owner of Guinness and Hop House lager, said it had ‘no plans’ to increase prices.  

It comes as public health officials yesterday revealed that pubs, restaurants and cafes – which have been forced to close repeatedly during the pandemic, have never been coronavirus hotspots. 

Despite hospitality venues facing hugely damaging restrictions, there has never been a ‘terribly big risk’ of someone catching the disease in them, they said.

Greg Fell, director of public health in Sheffield, and Dr Richard Harling, his counterpart in Staffordshire, said the bulk of transmission has always been in people’s homes.  

The hospitality industry has been crippled financially during the Covid crisis and heavily penalised under almost all lockdown tiers. 

Under the current national shutdown, venues have been forced to close for everything except takeaways.

In Tier 3 areas the rules were just as tough, and in Tier 2 alcohol could only be served with ‘substantial meals’, pubs and bars were forced to close unless operating as restaurants and last orders were at 10pm.    

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