Irish pubs fear tourism losses after latest Guinness price hike

Ireland's pub-goers, who typically use the price of a pint as a metric of inflation, have endured three Guinness price hikes in just over a year. Jeff Spicer/PA Wire/dpa
Ireland's pub-goers, who typically use the price of a pint as a metric of inflation, have endured three Guinness price hikes in just over a year. Jeff Spicer/PA Wire/dpa
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In what pub owners have slammed as a “hammer blow”, the price of a pint of beer in Ireland is set to go up again after Guinness parent company Diageo announced a third increase since the start of 2023.

In a letter to pub owners revealed after the March 17th St. Patrick’s Day holiday, traditionally a day of heavy drinking in Ireland, Diageo said the price hike, which amounts to 6c per pint, was needed due to rising costs.

"In order to offset this, we must pass on some of the additional costs to our customers," the company said. Prices of Carlsberg, Rockshore and Smithwicks will also be affected when the measure takes effect in mid-April.

In February last year, UK-based Diageo put 12c on the price of a pint in Ireland, an increase it followed 5 months later with another of 4c.

The Vinter’s Federation of Ireland (VFI) criticised Diageo, claiming the increase to be the "latest hammer blow to the pub trade" ahead of summer holidays and warning that tourists could be put off by Ireland’s increasingly expensive pubs.

"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," said Pat Crotty, the VFI’s chief executive.

In a post on Instagram, The Blue Note, a pub in Galway, a city on Ireland’s Atlantic coast that is popular with visitors, accused Diageo and Guinness of being "complete gougers."

"A pint of plain [a stout, such as Guinness] is no longer your only man," The Blue Note's management lamented, referencing an often-quoted satirical poem composed by Irish novelist Brian O’Nolan.

The latest Diageo increase comes just weeks after a pub in the Temple Bar district of Dublin, popular among tourists, became the first to charge €10 for a pint of beer. Prices are typically between €5 and €6 across most of the country.