Monday, 1 January 2018

Average UK draught beer prices 1973 - 2017

What better way to kick off the New Year than a load of numbers? No, don't thank me. It's the least I could do.

Do you want some words as well? OK, I'll throw you a few. The 1970s weren't a great time in many ways. Especially when it came to inflation. In the ten years 1973 to 1982 the price of Bitter more than quadrupled. While in the following ten years it merely doubled.

I was surprised to see how much the price differential between Bitter and Lager varied. Starting at a massive 30% - incredibly poor value given that Bitter was stronger than Lager - it fell to just 8% in 1983, after which it rose again. Not sure why that was. Perhaps the introduction of stronger Lagers was behind the trend.

This is all very different from pre-WW II. Between the wars beer prices were very stable, with just a blip 1931-1933. Pre-WW I, prices were even more stable, not really changing at all for around 50 years. Which is why WW I, with its big price increases, must have come as a huge shock to drinkers.

Funnily enough, the table just about exactly covers my drinking years. Unlike Victorian drinkers, I was used to frequent increases in the price of a pint.

Average UK draught beer prices 1973 - 2017
Year Bitter Lager % difference
1973 13 17 30.77%
1974 15 19 26.67%
1975 20 23 15.00%
1976 23 28 21.74%
1977 27 32 18.52%
1978 29 35 20.69%
1979 34 40 17.65%
1980 41 47 14.63%
1981 49 57 16.33%
1982 54 63 16.67%
1983 62 67 8.06%
1984 66 73 10.61%
1985 72 80 11.11%
1986 76 86 13.16%
1987 82 92 12.20%
1988 88 99 12.50%
1989 96 108 12.50%
1990 110 123 11.82%
1991 126 140 11.11%
1992 131 147 12.21%
1993 137 154 12.41%
1994 142 159 11.97%
1995 148 167 12.84%
1996 156 174 11.54%
1997 165 183 10.91%
1998 170 190 11.76%
1999 174 195 12.07%
2000 178 200 12.36%
2001 182 204 12.09%
2002 185 210 13.51%
2003 195 228 16.92%
2004 203 234 15.27%
2005 213 242 13.62%
2006 221 252 14.03%
2007 231 263 13.85%
2008 241 276 14.52%
2009 249 281 12.85%
2010 258 295 14.34%
2011 269 308 14.50%
2012 280 319 13.93%
2013 287 330 14.98%
2014 294 337 14.63%
2015 296 345 16.55%
2016 299 348 16.39%
2017 305 358 17.38%
Sources:
Statistical Handbook of the British Beer & Pub Association 2003, p. 44.
Statistical Handbook of the British Beer & Pub Association 2017, p. 45.

2 comments:

Marquis said...

Yes, it is easy to forget how cheap beer was a few years ago. But my wages were even lower so I find it easier to afford now.
Back in 1973 my wife and I were regulars at the Red Lion in Stathern where Home Bitter was 12 1/2 p a pint. My wife drank halves and the landlord charged 6 1/2 p but then scrupulously charged 6p for the next half. Despite the pub being busy he also knew what to charge.
How different from the present practice of "rounding up" halves.

David said...

Couldn't resist graphing this data, combined with RPI over that period:
https://goo.gl/LpQXCQ

Unsurprisingly, beer inflation is higher than RPI most years.