Irish chef, restaurateur and TV personality Paul Treyvaud has encouraged people to support their local breweries, following Heineken’s announcement that it is upping the cost of a keg to the equivalent of 17c per pint.
With the Christmas party season just around the corner, Heineken Ireland announced on Thursday that it would be increasing the price on all of its draught products in a letter seen by Virgin Media News.
The beer manufacturer said the change will come into force to “enable us to more closely reflect the cost of producing and supplying our products,” representing a significant blow to Irish pups and customers as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite. In a letter penned to Irish publicans, the brewery said the increase was down to “exceptional inflationary challenges”.
Drinks set to go up in price include Heineken, Coors, Orchard Thieves, Fosters, Birra Moretti, Beamish and Murphys.
Kerry-based Treyvaud, who hit headlines for going on record to say he would break any Covid restrictions back in summer 2021 in favour of opening his business to the public, said that the announcement will prove problematic for publicans.
“The reality of @Heineken putting the cost price of a pint up by 17c means the publican needs to put it up by a minimum of 21c just to cover this. Taking wastage into account, that’s 30c. Reality means 50c. And that’s a minimum.”
“Now more than ever, support your local brewery,” the businessman tweeted on Thursday.
The reality of @Heineken putting the cost price of a pint up by 17c means the publican needs to put it up by a minimum of 21c just to cover this. Taking wastage into account, that’s 30c. Reality means 50c. And that’s a minimum
Now more than ever, support your local brewery
— Paul Treyvaud (@PaulTreyvaud) November 10, 2022
In response to the tweet, several people said that they no longer buy drink in Southern Ireland, explaining now shop in Northern Ireland for alcohol, where prices are lower.
“I can’t be arsed anymore buying drink down here, it’s a 50-minute journey to NI and that’s where I’m spending my money from now on, minimum pricing is a joke, taxing people for drinking at home and pricing them out of pubs, hospitality is dead in this country,” one person said. Others said they now only drink at home because going out is too expensive.
The letter from Heineken, seen by Virgin News Economics Correspondent Paul Colgan, also said:
“Keg prices for Heineken and Coors lager will increase, equivalent to 17 cents per pint and at a pro-rata rate for all other draught brands and keg sizes”.
In the letter to publicans, Heineken says it is faced with 'unprecedented cost increases' and the price rise is necessary to reflect the cost of production. pic.twitter.com/cvfX0YIZC9
— Paul Colgan (@paulcolgan) November 10, 2022
The changes will come into force on 1 December,
One pub owner also shared his thoughts on the price increase, saying that he was taking the decision to pull Heineken products from his venue: “If you’re wondering why your local has closed or why you (a bartender) have no hours in January – look no further then @Heineken_IE and their €15 a keg price increase.
“This will close pubs and cost jobs. I am from tomorrow pulling Heineken products from my venue”.
He added that the significant price increase at such short notice was a “joke”.
If you’re wondering why your local has closed or why you (a bartender) have no hours in January – look no further then @Heineken_IE and their €15 a keg price increase.
This will close pubs and cost jobs. I am from tomorrow pulling Heineken products from my venue.
— The Angry Bartender Ire (@TheAngryBarten3) November 10, 2022
Warnings of price hikes and continued closures in the restaurant sector have been in the pipeline for some time, owing to the increase in the VAT rate and minimum wage.
Last month, accounting firm BDO Ireland Director Austin Hickey said that “It is probably a situation that is going to be even more challenging in the months ahead”.
Mr Hickey said that businesses will either have to put their prices up or close up shop in the coming months. He was speaking on Newstalk after a restaurant owner from Waterford said he would need to charge between €15 to €20 to make ends meet.
Paul Horan, owner of ‘The Esquire’ in Tramore said that without government intervention, restaurants and pubs will begin closing en masse. Mr Horan, who has been in business for 40 years, said in October he was recently told he would need to scale up prices to turn any profit.
“If I was to remain in business and retain any profit margin, I would now have to raise a steak, which is currently €25 up to in the region of, €60 to €70,” he told Newstalk.
“If we were to maintain the price margin that I had for my profits, say, two years ago, I would need to sell a pint for around €15 to €20.”
He added that people “won’t pay €12 for a pint”, saying that he had no intention of charging such prices as long as he can avoid it.
Speaking to The Business Post recently, Adrian Cummins, CEO of The Restaurants Association, echoed concerns felt by pub and restaurant owners. He said that “there is one hospitality business per day that’s closing at the minute, the last time we had that was in 2012,” adding that he fears that number is set to rise.