Thursday, 11 September 2008

They've got my blood boiling again!

My brother has just brought my attention to this piece in the Publican - "CAMRA calls for minimum pricing"

OK,  we've established that cheap mass-produced beer in the supermarkets is playing a role in  deterring people from going to the pub. So far, so good.

To get people back in the pubs how about getting the government to create minimum prices for supermarket beer? Hmm.

Isn't that a bit bloody rich coming from a self-proclaimed "consumer organisation" which encourages people to join with rabble-rousing rhetoric like "join us if you're concerned about the ever-rising price of beer"? (I haven't got a specific example to hand a.t.m but we've all seen it).

Now let me think about it for a nano-second ... ah, now I see: CAMRA wants prices increases for the beer it doesn't like (consumed by the majority); It wants lower prices for the beer it likes (a minority interest).

A consumer organisation my arse! A self-interest group looking for special case treatment by pretending to have everyone's best interest at heart. 

Sheer bloody hypocracy. 

Excuse me while I wipe up the beer I've just spluttered on my keyboard.


Anonymous said...

I think you have missed the point that supermarkets are deliberately selling alcohol below cost to steal market share from pubs.

Predatory pricing by supermarkets has already seen the closure of thousands of local shops and the pub is the next in line. Once all the pubs are shut you will soon see supermarket prices shoot back up. Enjoy you cheap supermarket booze while you can.

Jeff Pickthall said...

I wasn't addressing the question WHY are the supermarkets pricing beer so cheaply.

Your suggestion that supermarkets are somehow conspiring to deliberately outdo pubs is fanciful. Such collusion would be illegal - if you are seriously suggesting it is taking place you should collect the evidence and present it to the Competition Commission. Price competition is between supermarkets themselves.

Alistair Reece said...

I am not sure you can put supermarkets and pubs in the same market sector, yes both sell alocohol retail to consumers but that is pretty much where the line stops. If anyone is being affected by cost cutting from the likes of Tesco it is the off-licence industry. I would say that the kind of person who buys a crate of 24 Stella from the supermarket is a different beast from the guy that goes to the pub for a pint of real ale.

Tandleman said...

While I am unsure about the CAMRA stance what I would say is that the aim presumably would be to narrow the price differential across all beer thus getting the Stella and Carling mob back into the pub as well. CAMRA'S point of view on this one I'm guessing, is that to maintain cask beer in pubs, you have to have pubs to sell it in. The current number of closed and boarded pubs tells its own story on that one (and I agree with you that it is mostly the shit pubs selling shit beer that are closing).

It is all very well to write as you did:

"Certainly, it's alarming that price competition has led mass-produced booze to be sold cheaper than water and had the knock-on effect of persuading people to drink anywhere but the controlled environment of the pub, and the pub trade is suffering as a consequence"

and then condemn as hypocrisy a view that at least endeavours to address the problem. I for one, if I was a lager drinker, would not be doing so much drinking in the pub if I could buy the same beer -and it will taste the same - if I could buy it for two quid less to drink at home.

This is common sense to the lager drinker in hard pressed times and while minimum pricing might not be the answer, we do need to get people back into pubs. Pubs can't really (apart from a few special ones) exist on cask beer (or craft beer) alone. How would you sort it?

Finally I thought your previous article spoke a lot of common sense though I think you miss a point. While the price the consumer pays for supermarket sold craft beer is holding up, is the price paid to small brewers doing the same? My contacts would suggest not.

It is complex but you know that I guess.