UK: Cheap beer offer sparks industry backlash
UK pub chain JD Wetherspoon has come under fire from industry rivals following its decision to offer a GBP0.99 pint.
The promotion, which began on Monday (5 January), saw the company slash its pints of Greene King IPA and bottles of San Miguel to GBP0.99 (US$1.44) each, "indefinitely".
Other promotions include a bottle of Blossom Hill Rose for GBP4.99, a single measure of Sailor Jerry rum (and mixer) for GBP1.29 and a bottle of Jacques cider for GBP3.99.
The decision to slash prices has sparked anger from some in the beer and pub industry, who believe the cuts may encourage irresponsible drinking and will not aid the sector.
George Arkell, director at Arkell's Brewery, labelled Wetherspoon's offers as a "gimmick".
He said: "We cannot nor would not under sell our beer at that price, as it does not encourage responsible drinking, let alone cover the costs of tax and brewing. Selling the beer at less than it costs to brew would be a short-term stunt, which will not benefit either breweries, pubs or our customers in the long term.
"Artificially slashing the cost of a pint of beer to 99p might be a short term boost for business, but in the longer term it threatens the traditional British pubs of which we are all justifiably proud."
Neil Williams, of The British Beer and Pub Association, declined to comment on Wetherspoon's offer, but said: "Trading conditions are tough and the pubs are trying to offer the best value to customers."
Yesterday, UK brewer Greene King said it was "concerned" by Wetherspoon's low price for IPA beer and that it was "not supporting or funding it".
Punch Taverns' managed Spirit pubs declined to comment when contacted by just-drinks today, but has introduced its own slew of drinks promotions in its "January sales".
Under the offer, pints of Fosters, Carling and John Smiths have been cut to GBP1.55.
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