Row as pub slashes beer to 99p a pint

A BEER brewed in the heart of Suffolk has ended up at the centre of a row between health groups and a leading pub chain after its price was slashed to just 99p a pint.

Laurence Cawley

A BEER brewed in the heart of Suffolk has ended up at the centre of a row between health groups and a leading pub chain after its price was slashed to just 99p a pint.

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has slashed prices on some drinks and food, including offering a pint of Greene King IPA for 99p, which is the same price as it was sold for in 1989.

The company, which operates 713 pubs across the UK, said the price reductions on some beer, bottled lager, wine and spirits will run “indefinitely”.


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The beer is sold by the Bury St Edmunds brewery Greene King to JD Wetherspoon wholesale and last night the Suffolk firm said it could not comment on how a separate company priced its products.

Wetherspoon's chief executive John Hutson said: “People enjoy going to the pub. However, we appreciate that the economic downturn means that they now have to be more careful with their money.

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“We believe that our new food and drink prices will allow people to enjoy a visit to a Wetherspoon pub without it costing them too much.

“Unlike most sales that start in January, our offers will not be ending within days, but will run indefinitely.”

Greene King IPA will be cut to 99p a pint, as will a bottle of San Miguel, the company announced.

But the move has sparked consternation amongst health groups.

Alcohol Concern said it was concerned that other pub chains might follow suit by offering slashed-price deals on alcohol.

Dan Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said: “I do sympathise with businesses that want to attract customers by lowering prices in the current economic climate but alcohol is not a commodity like bread or milk, it can cause harm to the nation's health and even the economy.”

A spokeswoman for Greene King said: “They (JD Wetherspoon) didn't consult with us about this and we are not supporting or funding it.

“Brewers have no influence over what is charged to the pub customer. Pub chains set their own retail prices and it is illegal for us to interfere in retail pricing in any way.

“We are concerned by how low the price is, but since it is not our decision, will not be commenting any further on this promotion.”

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