Those of you that follow me on twitter, firstly, Thank you! And secondly will have noticed in my feed last week I was taken aback at the price of a certain beer in a certain pub. Not only was I perplexed and shocked at this, MrsBeerSnob too was aghast.
Usually, I would talk to the business owners privately on this issue or any other issues I’ve come across during my travels. This time however I went public. Now, I’m not necessarily proud of becoming the ranting twitter maniac for a few hours. However, I do believe things happen for a reason.
Ok 7 taps in @Brewdock with pint prices in excess of €7. Ouch.
— Wayne:Beer Snob (@irishbeersnob) September 9, 2015
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsNow, the pub was Brewdock, and the company Galway Bay. Brewdock is a regular stomping ground for myself and MrsBeerSnob when we fancy a cheeky pint after work. It’s even in my best beer pubs in Dublin list. Now I’d not been in for a pint for a while and circumstances dictated this particular Wednesday that we had missed our bus and had an hour to kill for the next one.
In we walked and perused the taps, then the board above them. My eyes were instantly drawn to the price of the Camden IHL at €10.50 a pint. Now, I like IHL as much as the next man, but that price was shocking to me. Had we reached a nadir in the Craft Beer Scene in Ireland? I perused the wall board further. Out of 24 Taps, there was 7 Pints listed above €7.00 – this shocked me further. I suppose I’d been conditioned to accept more expensive beers in particular in GBB bars being priced and served at 2/3rds of a pint.
Now I admit – this turn of events shocked us a lot – and off I went. Social Media and a few beers were not a good combo. The next morning Jason from Galway Bay reached out to me. So to add balance to this discussion here are some of the points that have seen prices creep up in all bars that serve craft beer not just the Galway Bay ones.
Firstly – since the beginning of the year, our currency the Euro has fallen very heavily in the last 12 months vs The Dollar and Sterling. Please see the table below to see how much 1 euro bought on these dates. Rates taken from XE.Com
01/01/15 17/07/15 13/09/2015
€ buys £ 0.79 0.69 (-14%) 0.73 (-8%)
€ buys $ 1.21 1.08 (-12%) 1.13 (-7%)
Clearly currency and its fall in value affects the cost of bringing in US & UK beers a lot more – you also have to factor in that these beers come in one way kegs such as Key Kegs, which will add appx €15 to each keg.
Now let’s talk about hops. Yes those wonderful plants that give our favourite beers their amazing flavours. With the increasing number of craft breweries, and infact macro’s too buying up more hops, this is making the supply slightly lower than normal and this in turn is pushing the prices of hops up themselves. Beers made in Ireland in the main use hops sourced via some of the large hop merchants in the UK who in turn source worldwide. As brewers are buying these ingredients in general in Dollar or Sterling, this is also a factor in the increases lately in beer prices.
So there’re some of the factors that have increased the cost of beer – this starts at the brewers who have to pay more for their ingredients, then wholesalers who get charged slightly more by the brewer to buy the beer, then the pubs who are subject to the wholesalers margin reflecting the increased costs.
Now, getting back to this infamous tenner pint – after speaking to Jason, I can understand what’s gone on. Galway Bay have a number of bars in Dublin and one of their most recent additions The Beer Market was opened with specials and rarities in mind, and no pints! Now being keen business men they guys listened to the feedback they were getting – why no pints!!? So pints were introduced in The Beer Market, and more pint options were rolled out into their other bars. This went against what they had previously done – sell the more expensive & rare beers in a maximum measure of 2/3rd of a Pint.
However the ten euro pint to me was so shocking. I was thinking, why would you want to be getting a reputation for selling ten euro pints? Or how a person new to craft beer would react to seeing this price on a board? Having worked in sales for years myself, I just felt optically it was the wrong message. I also understand we operate in a free market. The Galway Bay bars aren’t a charity, and they need to make money to be able to pay staff, suppliers, and ultimately invest in the business. So when Jason reached out it was great to get that side of the story.
As a result of all this, Jason has confirmed to me that they will still sell pints of the beer to whoever wants to buy it – the prices won’t be on the chalk boards if the pint price works out above €6.75, only the price for 2/3rds will be on the board. But punters will be given the pint price before they purchase a pint. This is the best outcome in my opinion. So anyone who wants a pint and is happy to pay it – which is after all free market economics – can.
So in summary, the free market will dictate prices at every level of the chain. It’s fair to say that we appreciate craft beer costs more both to produce and buy as a consumer but hopefully this post will give you a little insight to the side we don’t often see when we are quaffing some great beers! And the decision on whether to buy or not falls to you. The Consumer.