Tag Archives | price of alcohol

What can I do about pubs changing their prices?

An e-mail came through from a ValueIreland.com reader recently, where the answer is very simple to the one that I gave to this question, What can I do about petrol station changing its prices?

Can you tell me is it legal for pubs to put their prices up every hour?  I think it is an absolutely disgraceful practice and they definitely do not change their listed prices every hour.

Flannery’s, Camden Street
Oliver St John Gogarty, Temple Bar

There are no price controls in Ireland so business and pubs can charge whatever they want to customers. If customers are willing to pay those prices, then they can continue to charge those prices. If people aren’t happy to pay those prices, then they might drop them, or go out of business because they have no more customers.

The only law that pubs have to follow when it comes to the price of alcohol is that their price lists, which should be visible close to the front door, should always be updated to reflect the prices being charged at any time during the night.

Of course, who at 3am in the morning is going to report an incorrect price list to the National Consumer Agency, who won’t do anything about it anyway, more than likely. Or who’s going to remember or have legitimate evidence in the morning to make such a complaint.

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VAT decrease didn’t do the UK any good. Any hope for Ireland?

This interesting article, Darling’s VAT cut ‘had no effect on consumer spending’, was published in the The Guardian recently.

Though we heard much of how the decrease in UK vat rates caused a greater influx of Irish grocery shoppers to Newry, Enniskillen and all points north of the border, it appears that it didn’t do much to cause UK consumers to spend more – as was originally hoped.

In a survey carried out by PriceWaterhouseCoopers:

The company interviewed 2,000 consumers and found that an overwhelming 88% said that the VAT cut had not prompted them to spend more on goods or services.

More interesting was the following statement:

The respondents also dismissed the measure as insignificant when compared with other economic factors, citing reduction in income and economic uncertainty as more potent influences on their spending.

With the Vintners Federation of Ireland calling on the government to cut VAT in order to save their own publican skins, one wonders what impact that actually would have here in Ireland.

Will a cut of VAT here in Ireland encourage you to spend more – in pubs or anywhere else? I’m guessing that we’ve got bigger problems to worry about at the moment.

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Drinks prices in Ireland

I received this e-mail from a ValueIreland.com a while ago:

I would like to see you guys do some sort of survey on the pub industry, in particular in Dublin. Pubs are complaining about there not being enough people in the premises. I do not feel for them with their absolute rip off prices. For example recently I was the designated driver and was drinking red bull. I payed €5.60 for a can of it in the Hairy Lemon in Dublin and another time I payed €6.40 for a bottle of Corona in Dandeline nightclub. Is there anything we can do?

While keep up to date listings of prices is something that I don’t really have enough time for, I did notice that CheapEats.ie did publish a couple of posts on this issue in the last few weeks as well – the Cheapest Drinks in Ireland.

It’s quite interesting that given the amount of money that we, as a nation, spend regularly on our nights out, that there isn’t a sustained effort to keep track of drink prices around the country. I suppose, given the nature of the product, it’s unlikely that we’ll remember, or care, too much of what we paid the previous night when we wake up the next morning.

There have been a couple of efforts in the past, including one that was revived in the CheapEats.ie post referred to above – the DublinPubScene.com. This site looks like it started around 2003 and then stopped in 2005.

Around about that time too was DrinkFeckGirls, started in 2003, that attempted to track alcohol prices across the country. It didn’t really last all that long either.

These kind of sites depend wholly on user input which can be hard to maintain. I wonder would a site like Pumps.ie be set up in such a way that it could easily change from tracking the price of a litre of petrol to the price of a pint? That would give the framework, but there’s still the problem of gathering user feedback.

Maybe some sort of enticement? Some sort of loyalty or reward points for every price submitted? Some sort of reward scheme would probably needed to maintain interest long enough to have the site contain enough valid, and up to date, information to stand on it’s own.

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Beware of business organisations crying wolf

I’ve written here before about how consumers should be careful when listening to business representative organisations pronouncements in the press.

If you’re listening to the SIMI warning about the dangers involved in consumers importing their own cars from the UK or Northern Ireland – you have to keep in the back of your mind the money aspect to this and the fact that they’re losing money every time a consumer successfully does so.

The latest that I heard in this genre of self-interested crying wolf was some vintners who are claiming that the prevalence of cheap booze that is for sale now in grocery stores is leading to an increase in violence against women in the home.

The claim seems to be in some sort of support for a reintroduction of a price control on the price of drink that disappeared with the removal of the Groceries Order. This was all covered in an episode of the Last Word on TodayFM last week.

Again, if you consider following the money, you’ll be aware that pubs are closing around the country from the lack of business and the fact that people are drinking more at home either because of the still high (and illegally frozen) price of drink as well as the smoking ban.

So, this scaremongering story (for God’s sake protect our women) is trying to get this cheap drink taken off the market so people will come back to their pubs.

How about dropping your prices, rather than freezing them at ridiculously high 2008 prices? That might show that you’re interested in getting us back in the pubs rather than these cheap stunts.

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