Diageo has issued a price freeze in Ireland. The drinks giant has written to its customers in the Republic of Ireland advising that it has decided to hold existing wholesale prices on its draught beer portfolio (including Guinness, Harp, Smithwicks, Budweiser and Carlsberg) until 1 June 2005.

In a statement, Diageo added that it has indicated that price adjustment at that point will be determined in the light of cost issues and market conditions then prevailing.

Diageo has indicated that it has advised its customers of its decision at this early stage in an effort to provide for greater certainty and stability in the current difficult trading environment. It is hoped that this will facilitate publicans in planning for their business for the immediate future, the company concluded.

At the end of August, an estimated 250 of Dublin's 1,000 pubs were reported to be refusing to serve certain Diageo products in protest over the drinks company's decision to raise prices in June. Diageo increased the price of its pints by an above-inflation 6c just as the smoking ban came in.