Monday 28 January 2013

So long, suckers!

You know how some of the big pub chains, such as Greene King and Enterprise Inns, have declared their support for minimum pricing because they think it will bring people into pubs to make up for those who were driven away by the smoking ban?

For some reason they think that if people are forced to pay £1.10 for a can of beer instead of 80p, then they'll say "what the hell, I might as well go to the pub and pay £3.90".

This is an optimistic way of looking at the issue, to say the least. A more likely scenario is that minimum pricing will mean drinkers have less money to spend once they've bought their off licence alcohol and will therefore have less to spend in the pub.

Well, guess what? It looks like that's what's going to happen.

Introducing a minimum price of 45p per unit will deter four in 10 customers from pubs, according to a new poll by YouGov

Oh dear. I guess the temperance lobby isn't the publican's friend after all. Who knew?

The survey commissioned by drinks firm SABMiller questioned 1,261 people who had had an alcoholic drink in the last week.

It found that minimum pricing will have the biggest impact on those struggling to keep up with their outgoings, with 56% saying they are most likely to drink less in the pub.

However, it's not all bad news...

Of those who said they will drink less at home, 0.36% said they will drink more at the pub.

Sounds like they won't have a problem finding a seat.


nisakiman said...

Arf! The biter bit!

Fredrik Eich said...

I think I am a little sceptical that if a pint in a pub after minimum unit pricing remains at £3.90 that 4 in 10 people will stop using pubs.

After all CamRA predicted 7,000,000 new pub customers after the smoking ban after their boffins examined a similar box ticking exercise and now tell us that we in fact have 3,000,000 less customers.

Not that I am a fan of MUP - just saying.

Mark Wadsworth said...

They are daft buggers, really they are. What makes the biggest difference between supermarket and pub prices is the VAT. All things being equal, pubs would benefit most if booze duty were increased and VAT were reduced; that would greatly reduce the price differential between drinking at home or in the pub.

Oh year, and the smoking ban might have something to do with it, of course.

Carl V Phillips said...

So is the claim that supermarket booze is actually a Giffen good, or is it merely that sales will go down due to the price increase and pub sales will go down due the income effect? Just curious.

Christopher Snowdon said...


The latter. It's not certain that supermarket sales will go down much, and people may go to the pub less so they can afford the same amount of supermarket booze as they bought before.