At £4.40, Surrey becomes most expensive place in UK to buy a pint
Surrey has overtaken London as the most expensive place in the UK to buy a pint, according to the latest Good Pub Guide.
Despite the fact that a beer in the capital costs £4.20 on average, drinkers can expect to pay 20p more in the traditionally well-off county, where house prices are twice the UK average.
It is the only time since the guide was first published in 1982 that the average price in London has not been the highest in Britain.
Fiona Stapley, the editor of the Good Pub Guide 2018, believes the capital’s dip in the ranking may be a result of the type of pub the handbook favours.
“We’re not sure why this has happened, but Surrey is so affluent. It’s always going to be the expensive places – either London or Surrey. It may be that we have quite a lot of little local pubs in the guide that are London locals and they’re not as expensive as some of the big pubs [in the capital] that young people go to,” she said.
The guide found that the average price of a pint of beer in Britain is £3.60, up 13p (3.7%) in a year, compared with a year-on-year rise of 1p in 2016.
Herefordshire and Yorkshire were the cheapest places to buy a pint (£3.31), followed closely by Shropshire (£3.33). London and Surrey were the only two places in the guide’s “rip off” category, with Sussex the next most expensive at £3.82.
Stapley said pubs were facing a number of cost pressures, including inflation at 2.6%, which made for a difficult trading environment.
“The chancellor’s decision to increase duty on beer for the first time in five years has been a massive blow to brewers, publicans and their customers,” she said.
“There’s also been a huge increase [in costs] as a result of the national living wage, which has hit the industry really hard. The cost of raw materials is high for anything to do with making food and brewing beer, even boring things like electricity and gas.
“Although landlords do try to absorb some of the costs themselves, they can’t cover all the increases, so some of it has to go on to customers. It’s a worry for a lot of publicans who may already be struggling anyway.”
With 21 pubs closing each week, Stapley warned that even more could be forced to shut their doors as a result. Nevertheless, she said it was important to be positive about the future of the industry, pointing to research by Oxford University published earlier this year, which found that people who have a local they visit regularly tend to feel more socially engaged and contented.
“If you’ve not have a good day or if you’ve had a fantastic day, you want to share it with people. It just makes you feel that you belong, it makes you feel at home, it’s vey cosseting,” she said.