Northern Ireland avoids Guinness price hikes as Republic hits pricier pints

Guinness drinkers in Northern Ireland will avoid pricier pints despite news of a price hike from suppliers in the Republic.

Ice rink company Diageo, which owns Guinness along with a number of other popular brands, said the price of its draft beer will rise by at least 12 cents in the republic from February 1.

VAT will increase the price increase by more than that, but the Belfast Telegraph believes the price increase will not go ahead in Northern Ireland.

“Like many businesses in Ireland, we are facing significant input cost inflation across all our operations,” said a Diageo spokesman.

“We have borne these costs for as long as possible, but unfortunately we can no longer do so.

“That’s why we wrote to our customers in the catering industry to inform them of an increase in our draft beer list prices of 12 cents per pint, excluding VAT.”

Speculations about the price hikes in Northern Ireland have been met with caution by local restaurateurs.

John Bittles, owner of Bittles Bar in Belfast city centre, said future price increases would have a “massive impact” on licensed premises.

“Some pubs just wouldn’t take it. People will only tolerate so much. There was a big backlash in the South where Heineken said they would go up 30p,” he said.

“Something like this could force pubs to look into selling other products, which I don’t like. I’ve always been Guinness, but Beamish and Murphy’s is considerably cheaper.”

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Bittles Bar owner John Bittles said future increases would have a “massive effect” in Northern Ireland.

The Duke of York’s owner Willie Jack said while Northern Ireland escaped increases on this occasion, pubs should continue to campaign for government support. “The public should do more lobbying. The government can control things like VAT. It’s unfair if they’re 9% in the south and we’re 20%. We’re on an island,” he said.

Mr Jack said the corporate tax is also “unfair” as the main tax rate will rise to 25% from April 1, while the Republic tax rate is exactly half that. “It’s a much bigger problem for me than a vendor raising prices,” he said.

“Many innkeepers are selling and getting rid of their licenses and possessions. It’s not the same as it was five, ten, twenty years ago.

“We need a government that recognizes that hospitality suffers from these inequalities.”

Northern Ireland is already the UK’s most expensive region for lager, with the average price for a premium pint being £5.29 in April 2022.

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The Duke of York’s owner Willie Jack said the innkeepers needed to lobby for better business with local government

Data from statistician Peter Donaghy shows that the price has increased by 11% since June 2021, while average prices for non-premium warehouses in Northern Ireland also remained higher.

The NI of £4.73 was above the UK average of £3.86, while the average for stout (£4.67) was above the GB of £4.23.

The average price of a pint of cider rose by 7% to £4.91 versus the UK average of £4.01.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/northern-ireland/northern-ireland-avoids-guinness-price-rises-as-republic-hit-with-more-expensive-pints-42276913.html Northern Ireland avoids Guinness price hikes as Republic hits pricier pints

Linh

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