Sunday, February 22, 2009

Now for the Bad News

As readers of this blog will know the writers try to search out the best pubs and beers around, and this week we have found one of the very best ales of the year. 1425(v2) at 5.9% is brewed by Marble of Manchester and has been available at the Star for £2.60 a pint.

The beer is wonderful, with an aggressive mix of three New Zealand hop varieties, and as expected did not last long. This led one of my more enthusiastic drinking companions to make the trip across to the Marble Arch to continue sampling its undoubted delights.

Luckily he found some on the bar at the brewery's tap but what diluted his pleasure was the additional 60p (that's £3.20 a pint!) he paid for the privilege - he was so amazed he even brought the till receipt back as confirmation!

This seems totally bewildering. The beer prices in Manchester, although not cheap, are normally nowhere near the £3 a pint mark as in some other parts of the country. This beer after all has only to travel from the cellar of the pub to the bar, and therefore accrues no carriage or distribution costs as it does to cross the Pennines.

Is this the shape of things to come? I for one will think hard about visiting the Marble Arch if this is to become their norm. The pub is a must visit on the Manchester drinking circuit but at these prices may end up being an occassional treat. A real shame since the beer and the pub are both excellent, but if this is the start of the big increases we drinkers have been concerned about then it really is time to start worrying.

(with thanks to Tim Wright for the information)


Tandleman said...

The Marble has never been cheap for its own beers. Somewhat bizarrely, guest are often cheaper than their own beers of the same or similar strength, although some are organic which increases costs.

Tyson said...

Your mate is obviously not a regular at the Marble. There are plenty of places in Manchester that sell real ale at £3.70-£3.90. And that is for 3.9% beers. Whilst not quite in that league, that is the company that the Marble sees itself in. Hence the price for their 5.9%

The Marble is, and has never been, cheap. They put a premium on their drinks and people seem willing to pay it. What it does mean is that you'll often see their beers cheaper elsewhere.

Woolpack Dave said...

Most of the cost of beer is the venue overheads. Staff, heating, lighting, furniture, and décor. In total, ambiance. Is it worth the price? Your choice.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind teh odd pint of Sam Smith's once in a while. At their tied houses in Heckmondwike and Dewsbury you can get a pint for £1.38 (This is not a promotional price either). My local John Smith's outlet (Which i don't go in) its £2.45p / pint. More brass than sense springs to mind. At the end of the day if beers don't sell for their inflated prices, let your feet do the talking

Dubbel said...

I would and do pay £3.20 for a special beer served in excellent condition that includes three varieties of New Zealand hops. A pub near us was serving Thornbridge Kipling for about that price and it was so good that I considered it worth every penny. But then again I do my drinking in the Southeast and it takes closer to £4 a pint for me to start baulking at the cost of a pint.

IMHO there is too much focus on cost in the beer world in general (and, no, I'm far from rolling in it). It's still cheaper than almost any other drink in the pub; why shouldn't we expect to pay a premium for quality local produce?

If you're happy with cheap, dull nondescript bitter, drink 99p Ruddles at Spoons.

Festa said...

Well Tim, you have touched a few nerves here. Clearly illustrating that along with a wide variety of beers available there is a wide variety of drinkers. I think Tim's main point is the difference in price between two similar establishments catering for similar types of people. If Sam in the Star tried to charge £3.20 for a pint of Marble I suspect that it would go off in the barrel!

Anonymous said...

Festa has hit the nail on the head. I was not complaining of paying £3.20 for what is a premium product, but rather the discrepancy between prices in the Marble and their beer in the free trade.
I would rather pay the extra and get something different than pay 99p and get Greene King IPA in spoons.
For those who are Camra members, read Jean Pierre White's article in the last copy of 'Beer' and see his justification for his pricing policy on beers.
Seems we are just lucky to live in West Yorkshire

Anonymous said...

A further visit to the Marble by the intrepid Tim served up another surprise this week. Instead of paying £3.20 for a beer, he ended up paying £2.20 for their pint.
I am intrigued to know now if the prices have gone down, or he was just unlcky paying £3.20 last week.Can any Marble regular assist ???

daveyravey said...

This beer is currently in The Station Tavern for £2.50. I think it smells off-putting and I might as well have gone and put my head in the vase of daffodils on my kitchen table.
I have it on good authority that it certainly comes out of Manchester with a premium price on it's shoulders. It is then up to the individual licensee as to what kind of profit they want to make on it.