Diageo’s decision to increase the price of a pint is the latest hammer blow to the pub trade and underlines the need for Government to introduce further supports for a sector experiencing unprecedented costs pressures, says the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI).

Diageo’s announcement of a 6-cent increase in the price of a pint comes on the heels of a previous 12-cent increase in February 2023, compounding the financial pressures faced by publicans across Ireland.

The VFI has expressed deep concern over the timing and magnitude of this increase, highlighting the severe impact it will have on the already struggling pub trade. VFI CEO, Pat Crotty, says: “The announcement by Diageo is not just disappointing, it’s a critical hit to an industry on the brink. Publicans have been navigating a storm of rising costs, including the increase in minimum wage, additional mandatory sick days and the impending pension auto-enrolment scheme. This latest price hike is a blow they cannot afford.”

According to the VFI, the cumulative effect of these financial pressures threatens the viability of the trade. Pat Crotty says: “The government must come forward with support measures for the trade as the Increased Cost of Doing Business grant, while welcome, is not an adequate response.  The VFI is calling for further supports to include a reduction in excise, a return to the 9% VAT rate for pubs serving food and a reduction in employer’s PRSI. Publicans can’t be expected to take all these hits without meaningful support.”

The VFI is also appealing to the public to understand the challenges facing their local pubs and to support them during these trying times. “We know our customers are in the middle of their own cost of living crisis so the last thing our members want to do is increase prices. Unfortunately most publicans will have to pass on this increase as it’s all but impossible to absorb given the rise in labour costs and other soaring charges,” says Pat Crotty

“At the very least we are calling in Diageo to commit to no further increases in the price of a pint for the remainder of 2024,” concluded the VFI CEO.

Price changes will come into effect from 15th April