The Summer 2011 edition of the Gloucestershire CAMRA Newsletter, The Tippler, is now out and available at a good pub near you or from the Gloucestershire CAMRA Website. Along with the Gloucester CAMRA News & Views this is an excellent resource for drinkers in Gloucester.
One of the interesting things in this edition is the result of the Prices and Availability Survey, which is held each year and which I blogged about back in May.
We know all too well that the cost of a pint is getting ever more extortionate, but the good news for Gloucester drinkers is that prices in the city still lag well behind our neighbours. The average price per pint in Gloucester is £2.75 compared with £2.90 in Cheltenham and a whopping £3.04 in Cirencester.
This is good news indeed: the 2010 survey showed that Gloucester prices shot up markedly, coming almost on a par with Cheltenham, but this year they have levelled off as Cheltenham has raced ahead. Another reason, should you need one, to drink in Gloucester rather than Cheltenham.
The real horror though is the comparison with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), the official measure of inflation for consumer goods. Back in the early to mid 1990s Gloucester beer prices were at or below the CPI, but since 1998 beer has risen alarmingly out of all proportion to inflation.
The article does put some perspective on this however. In 1978, apparently the average price of a pint was just 30p – can you imagine that! In the following 15 years the cost rose by 4.8 times, or an average of 11% per year. In the 18 years since then, the rise has only averaged 4 %, so maybe it’s not so bad. However, you may remember that overall inflation was somewhat different in the 1980s!
The other surprise was duty. At the moment a shocking 90p – £1.00 of the cost of a pint goes on tax and duty. Horrific, true, but not that much different from 1978, when 9p out of that 30p pint was also tax and duty.
The other interesting observation from the survey is the increase in the number of different beers available in Gloucestershire pubs and the variety of brewers represented. There are more breweries in and around Cheltenham and the Cotswolds than you can shake a stick at, which is great news for being to drink local ale.
It is disappointing however that we don’t have a brewery in Gloucester. There used to be a number of breweries in the city until they were all taken over by acquisition and merger early in the last century and it would be nice to see the city brewing its own beer again. Apparently, this may become a reality soon as a new micro brewery is planned to open in Gloucester docks as a part of the waterways museum, which would be excellent news.
Check out the Tippler article for more information, but the key points are: we have lots of wonderful beer to sample around the county and you’re better of drinking it in Gloucester where it’s cheaper (and, of course, the pubs are better!)