In the short term it won't be, well, not if the pub has a large screen and an eager audience. But the long term doesn't look so good and events such as the World Cup have a negative effect. And here's why: beer sales are in decline across the UK (because you're drinking poncy wine) and sales are shifting from pub to supermarket. These supermarkets are well run, they know how to play suppliers off against one another and they therefore get beer at low prices. These low prices, in turn, drive up volumes which, in turn, gives the brewers greater incentive to be involved, which, in turn, gives the supermarket better bargaining power, which, in turn, lowers prices. Do you see where all this is going? Course you do, rock bottom give away price land, that's where.
But how, you ask, does this affect the pub? Obviously because it's cheaper to drink at home. But it always has been and this isn't the whole truth, there's more going on. You see the prices the brewers get for their supermarket cans and bottles doesn't necessarily cover production costs or make a profit. The brewers' profit comes from the beer it sells to the pub. So, as supermarket prices go down, pub prices go up. Up and up to rip-off central and beyond - we're in a declining market and yet the wholesale price of draught beer continues to rise above inflation and above duty increases defying, at first glance, economics. What goes through your mind when you're charged £3.60 for a pint of beer that you know very well would cost you a pound a can? "Rip-off" you think. And you'd be right. Get this: I have just been quoted, quite reasonably, £93.11 for a 50 litre tub of Stella, ex-vat. That, with vat, works out at £1.24 per 568ml serving, which is the size of a large Stella can. The same large Stella can that costs £1.10 today at a major UK supermarket.
That's right, despite all the costs of the cans, the 'secondary' cardboard packaging and the extra time and machinery costs associated with a canning line versus the far quicker, simpler bulk beer kegging line, and despite the cans having a retail margin on top, versus my wholesale industry trade quote, the canned beer is still cheaper than the keg. Retailed 'small pack' beer is now cheaper than trade draught beer.
And it's set to get cheaper during the World Cup. You know who's expected to fund that now don't you?
Point your finger at the supermarkets if you like but point it too at the big brewers going down the pan, desperately hanging on to market share and dragging the pub industry down with it. The small minded, bonus-greedy, little shits.
Sorry about the swearing: I don't do it lightly though.