independent

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Budget may push up price of pint by 10c

THE CONSUMER may be paying up to 10 cent more on his pint after Budget day this year, according to the Irish Vintner's Federation.

Publican John Duggan who runs Bray's Martello on the seafront said that this is a horrendous prospect.

' The pub trade is already on its knees,' he said. ' The price of drinks should be going down rather than up.'

However the Government needs to find extra revenue in the upcoming Budget for 2013 on December 3. Duty on alcohol has not risen much in the past 10 years. It was decreased by around 20 per cent in 2010 and has not been touched since then.

John said that any increase in pints presents a huge challenge to publicans, and has an effect on customers who simply don't have the money in their pockets.

'A person who once might have had €50 in their pocket going out might now have €30 to spare at the weekend,' said John. ' Out of that you have to pay for a taxi and something to eat maybe. People are drinking at home more and more for that reason.'

The publican has to keep a margin on his or her profit, so absorbing the cost of the increase might seem reasonable, but how then do they invest in their business?

'If you absorb the cost you might fill the pub, but all you'll do is service a loan,' he said, adding that he sympathises with the customers also.

'I have a late-night product so if people have a few drinks at home they will often come to the Martello later on,' said John. 'However, other pubs that close earlier in the evening are suffering.'

John added that a successful pub feeds many other local businesses, including taxi companies and fast-food establishments, however the pubs continue to struggle.

'Cheap alcohol in offlicences, the smoking ban and the clamp-down on drink driving have all had their impact,' he said. 'It's acceptable to drink at home now.'

What about atmosphere? Surely that can't be re-created at home in front of the X Factor? ' Tell that to someone out of work who simply doesn't have the money,' said John,

While he said business is generally slower than in boom times, he is lucky to have a good model, and to have started out at a time when banks gave new businesses breathing space to develop. 'It would be horrible to try to open a new business at the moment – you have to take off with a bang. It was a year before I started trading well.'

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