Pub soft drink prices
It is outrageous that in today's anti-drink driving culture, and in light of the proposed minimum price for alcohol, that Public Houses are allowed to charge huge mark-ups on soft drinks such as cola and lemonade. Government should take action, specifically The Home Office which has overview of Licensing, to regulate the maximum price that can be charged for soft drinks in Public Houses. I have recently been charged £5 for a Pint of a well known Diet Cola, whereas the same pub had it's standard lager at £2.50 per pint. It makes no sense and action is required.
Whatever the issue with the cost of soft drinks may be, clearly there is an issue with cost as many pubs are closing down so there may be many people who either cannot afford to buy drink or refuse to due to cost. When I used to work in a pub (many years ago now) so many people bought drink for staff you could not cope with the number bought, even if it was a soft drink. A bottle of tonic water was 20 pence and a coke around 25 pence and at £2.50 an hour wage I could even buy around 10 bottles per hour myself. I was charged £2.50 for a small draught coke a couple of weeks ago. Whatever the reasons there is something very wrong with pricing. As I am now retired I will not be paying £2.50 for a coke so that will be at least £500 a year this pub pub wont be getting out of me.
Angela Hales commented
We were charged £5.40 for two glasses of lime and lemon.at the old bull tavern Ludlow.
In quite a few places a bus of tea, especially if it's a herbal, costs more than half a lager. Considering alcohol tax and that a tea bag costs them 10p at the most, this is exploitation of tea drinkers, to subsidize boozing, I'd say?
Reasonable soft drink prices could be a very good tool to incentivize patrons to have less alcohol surely, so why not use it?
Keep well clear of any pubs associated with Heritage Inns. The Strawbury Duck near Bolton is one of them. They quite openly charge £2.50 for a glass of draft coke and say that this is average !!
I was charged £2.70 for a small glass of lemonade on Sunday at the Kings Head in Rochester, Kent. A large glass would have been £3.50. This is disgraceful.
Today I went into a pub in SoHo and ordered a blackcurrant soda. The manager wanted to charge me £1.80. when I said that the last time i paid 50p, a couple of months back, the manager said that I should tell him who had charged me this amount, that he was "wrong", and that he would sack him. Why would I tell him who it was? The manager was so arrogant, as if he was the world's greatest authority on "right" and "wrong". I refused to pay and left. Next door in another pub they charged me 90p. This was definitely not a win-win situation. I wonder what he did with the drink.
Zoe Bremer commented
Local Licensing Magistrates could take this up with local Trading Standards and set maximum prices for soft drinks sold on all licensed premises (pubs, clubs and hotel bars).
Thanks for this informative comment, I did not realise this. However, I'm not sure I quite agree with your conclusion. If beer is expensive to buy in, it should be expensive to the patron/customer as a result. If people then bought less beer, there would be a potential double benefit of (1) ovecharging breweries making less sales and (2) health objectives of lower alcohol consumption being achieved. This way we are letting the producers get away with the high prices they charge (sure some of this is due to taxes, but the whole idea of these is for them to be passed on top the consumer surely, not to be paid for by the landlord).
You seem to be making a basic assumption that people come to pubs primarily to drink beer/alcohol, and that pubs and bars would be unimaginable without heavy alcohol consumption. This may not be far from the truth at present in many cases, but I think should be questioned. Change has to be envisioned before it will happen. Also, de facto, there are quite a few people like myself who only drink alcohol rarely and in small amounts.
With respect, I think that comment misses the point a bit - it's not always possible or acceptable to order tap water (although i often do), some people may enjoy drinking pop or fruit juice, and I mainly like to drink teas and tisanes, which are healthy but outrageously overpriced - a tea bag and hot water cost more than half a lager in a local bar in South Manchester. When I queried that particular pricing policy the bar owner never got back to me.
Virtually all soft drinks are really bad for you as they are just flavoured sugar solution, so do yourself and your wallet a favour and if not drinking alcohol ask for a glass of tap water, which is free.
have been to two local pubs this week (I support my sons Band). First pub charged me £3.40 for a pint of best bitter and £1.70 for a glass of orange and lemonade total £5.10.
Second bar charged me £4.60 for tin coke and also orange and lemonade.
The coke was £1.50.
If this is encouraging people not to drink and drive
As an ex-publican, I thought I'd explain what's happening with soft drink mark ups in public houses.
To put it bluntly, for most landlords (ie the ones that don't manage chain pubs like Wetherspoons - who can bulk buy beer on such a huge scale, that they get charged a quarter or less of the normal price), the price of alcohol - beer in particular - is incredibly high. I single out beer, as it is the mainstay of the pub trade, yet other alcoholic products don't fare much better.
If you were to break down a pint of beer into where the money goes (staff wages, rent, price the publican pays for the beer, bills, etc), then the 5mm head is what makes the publican's profit. It's worth noting that most of the time that ends up in the drip tray thanks to staff over pouring.
In short, publicans generally make a loss on their alcohol. They have to charge up some where, and that ends up being on mixers and soft drinks.
Not fair? You're probably right, but this campaign is slightly flawed, because you'd be asking for the bankrupting of most of the pubs in the UK (except chain pubs - and who really wants that?)
A better campaign would be one linked with the banning of the beer tie, or other economic injustices placed upon publicans by the pubcos.
Chris Hopkins commented
This arguement has been going on for the last 20 years that I can remember, the only way that you will ever get the point across is by asking for water which landlords should provide free of charge and let them know why you are drinking water instead of wildly overpriced coke or lemonade.
Agreed soft drink pricing in pubs is a racket. It should be a least £1 cheaper per pint than alcoholic pints. Britvic bottles the worse though ?
Gordon Craig commented
Should we consolidate our votes to make them count and pick a campaign that best suits the "No Confidence/ General election vote?" I personally feel no confidence says it all and should then lead to a general election.
Julie Milner commented
I do drink, but I like to alternate alcoholic rounds with non-alcohic rounds. The non-alcoholic round is often almost as expensive as the non- alcoholic one!
Sabra Welles commented
I hate the taste of alcohol, but my other friends drink and like to go to pubs. Why should I miss out on all the fun?
during the year im 95% of the time teetotal so i back ye.
always the driver :(
Derek Ford commented
I used to work in a bar and was told to charge the same price as a pint of bitter for a pint of lemonade and lime/orange , I thought it was outrageous then and still think so now.
I have always thought that the "non drinking" driver of a party of 4 should receive free soft drinks.
Dave Townsend commented
A 12litre bag of Coke syrup costs £5 to £6 a litre so call it £75 to be generous. That will produce at least 500 330ml drinks. so that then works out at 15p per 330ml or 12p per half pint. The Equipment is free usually, provided by the supplier in return for buying his syrup. Water costs are negligible 1p for approx 10 pints if metered. Electric costs are around £25-40 a year so again negigible.
so say you are charged £1.20 for a coke...that's a 900% profit...not really fair, and that's a cheap pub/club.
fair enough there are overheads and the occasional broken glass, but that is on the whole covered by the far larger sale of alcoholic drinks or the more modest markup on food if sold.