Pub landlord reveals challenges of staying profitable as costs rise

Jane Howard and Steve Garner run The Cock in Dereham

Jane Howard and Steve Garner run The Cock in Dereham - Credit: The Cock

A pub landlord claims he would have to charge £7 a pint to maintain the kind of profit margins targeted by those in the trade as costs rise. 

Steve Garner, who runs The Cock in Dereham, said the cost of beer had skyrocketed in recent weeks. 

Pint of real ale on the bar in a traditional English pub in the United Kingdom

The price of beer is set to rise due to soaring costs across the supply chain - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

He referenced the latest distributor list from one of its suppliers as proof of challenging times. 

Distribution and products from third-party brands are among the costs to rise sharply in recent months. 

Mr Garner, who runs the pub alongside his partner, Jane Howard, said: "The prices have gone up so much that, if we stick to the margins that normal publicans work with, we would have to charge over £7 a pint.

"That was the thing we noticed most when the list came through in the last few days. 

Steve Garner at The Cock on Norwich Street, Dereham. The pub reopened in January 2020. Picture: Arch

Steve Garner outside The Cock in Dereham - Credit: Archant

"We are obviously going to have to take a hit to remain competitive."

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Asked whether he expected his Norwich Street pub to remain busy over the coming months, he added: "I think prices rises are definitely going to play a part going forward.

"We [landlords] are going to get squeezed because, if a publican sticks to his guns [and raises prices], nobody would go down the pub. We are not at that point yet, but it is almost upon us."

On Monday (February 7), the founder of Cobra Beer said the industry faced a "vicious cycle" of costs, meaning drinkers would inevitably have to pay more for pints. 

File photo dated 01/12/06 of a man drinking a pint of beer. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak

The price of beer is set to rise due to soaring costs across the supply chain - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Lord Bilimoria said companies were having to pay more for bottling, energy, transport and more.

And Sean Gregory, finance and operations director for Lacons Brewery, based in Great Yarmouth, said there was "very little option" but to pass on the financial hit to customers. 

"Wherever we can, we don't want to pass on costs to the consumer," said Mr Gregory.

"But the reality is, with third parties, we have had no choice but to pass those costs on.

The new street art at Lacons Brewery in Great Yarmouth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Lacons Brewery in Great Yarmouth - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

"Grain price has gone up by 25pc this year compared to last year which is quite a significant price for us to take. We've seen distribution costs, fuel and labour go up by a similar level.

"It's a perfect storm because our industry is trying to recover and we're getting hit by increases across the board."