A spat has broken out between SIBA and JD Wetherspoon over the price of a pint.
SIBA chief executive James Calder has written to Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin saying, “selling a pint of beer for as low as £1.39 may appeal to consumers but it doesn’t support independent craft brewers who fear further downward pressure on price”.
Calder goes on to say research shows that most brewers operate on very low profit margins and many struggle to survive in a very competitive market.
Calder said: “Beer sold this cheaply has to be made cheaply. The beer my members make is a quality premium product and should be treated as one.
“It is brewed with the finest quality ingredients by artisanal people with real skills. It has genuine provenance from a brewer embedded in its community. It comes from a brewing business that reinvests its profit back into its local community.”
Calder called for a meeting between both parties to discuss ethical, flexible pricing to brewers “which will allow customers, brewers and J D Wetherspoon all to prosper in a post-Brexit economy”.
“Whilst ensuring value to the consumer, I would strongly urge you to commit to pay brewers a fair price for the beer they make,” he said.
In his reply Martin sought to allay the fears of SIBA and promises that they will not have to pay for cuts in the price of beer.
“I can understand the concerns of your members about a price of £1.39. However, the price only applies to a small number of our pubs (36) where the sales volumes are, on average, low.
“The ‘normal’ price, which applies at 625 pubs is £1.69 versus a price for SIBA members’ beers of around £2.15,” said Martin.
“We feel confident that volumes of your members’ beers will not be affected and we will not be asking them for any reductions in price – indeed, we have not asked Greene King, the supplier of Ruddles, for a reduction either,” said Martin.
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